Congressman Pete Aguilar

Representing the 31st District of California

Aguilar Announces $1.7 Million in Cybersecurity Funding for CSUSB

July 19, 2017
Press Release
Aguilar Announces $1.7 Million in Cybersecurity Funding for CSUSB

Today, Rep. Pete Aguilar announced that California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) will receive $1.7 million in federal funding from the National Security Agency (NSA) for CSUSB’s NICE Challenge Project, which helps teach students cybersecurity skills while assessing their workforce readiness through virtualized real-world scenarios. 

“CSUSB is a leader in cybersecurity education and is helping to put the Inland Empire on the map,” said Rep. Aguilar. He continued, “When we talk about what Dr. Coulson and Dr. Nestler are preparing our students for, we’re looking at economic and national security priorities for our country. By investing in these great opportunities, we’re training and preparing a workforce for jobs of the 21st century economy that will be at the forefront of our nation’s most critical defense programs.”

Dr. Vincent Nestler, Assistant Director of the Cybersecurity Center, added, “The NICE Challenge Project provides students an opportunity to experience the workforce before entering it. This helps students identify potential gaps in their knowledge, skills and abilities and to address them.”

The NICE Challenge Project is operated by CSUSB with funding from the NSA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The program creates realistic scenarios with virtual hands-on challenges to help teach and assess students’ cyber skills, and to also bring real workforce experiences to them. 

Cybersecurity is an important issue for Rep. Aguilar, and he has made it a priority to advocate for federal funds to support programs offered at CSUSB, which is a leader in cybersecurity education. Earlier this year, Rep. Aguilar secured a $5 million appropriation to restart a Department of Defense cybersecurity scholarship program that was previously offered at CSUSB but discontinued due to a lack in federal funding. Additionally, Rep. Aguilar’s cyberwarriors pilot program through the United States Army started implementation, and just last week, two cybersecurity amendments offered by the congressman were added to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2018, which passed the House of Representatives. The NDAA outlines American defense program priorities for the upcoming fiscal year.

Rep. Aguilar serves on the House Appropriations Committee and is a member of the Cybersecurity Caucus.