Longwood University has been designated a National Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence (CDFAE) by the Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3). Longwood is the first institute of higher education in Virginia, and only the third in the nation, to meet the demanding requirements for this program. The CDFAE was developed as a partnership between academia and the government to establish standards for educators and researchers to advance the discipline of digital forensics and support the growing need for cyber security. 

"CDFAE requirements include mastering tools and techniques as well as understanding the policies and ethics involved in the field," said Dr. Glenn S. Dardick, director of the Longwood Center for Cyber Security. "The designation means Longwood students who complete our program will be effectively prepared to support the increasing demands in the fields of law enforcement, national security and corporate security."

The Longwood Center for Cyber Security offers students a concentration in information systems and security and a minor in cyber security, forensics and policy.

Digital forensics is an area of focus in cyber security. It involves the use of cutting-edge tools and investigative techniques to examine the evidence from "digital clues" left in the wake of cyber attacks or criminal activity. 

"The initial term of the CDFAE designation is three years," said Joshua Black, director of the DC3/Defense Cyber Investigations Training Academy, which provides digital forensics training to the Department of Defense. "DC3 views this as a workforce development initiative and hopes to be able to bring CDFAE graduates into critical positions."

The designation also includes the eligibility for students who complete certified programs to sit for the DC3-sponsored Cyber Incident Responder exam. "The testing of students in this program provides another measure of their capabilities and a differentiator for them in the workplace," said Black.

"The CDFAE standards for participating institutions are set very high to qualify for designation as a Center of Excellence," said Dardick. "For students, that means a base of knowledge and skills that will be in demand in both the public and private sectors."

The CDFAE designation was created in response to a projected cyber security workforce deficit identified as a threat to public, private and national security goals. The standards were developed to cultivate skills and identify leaders in the industry. Its requirements represent a range of skills that the DoD has identified as vital to preparing industry professionals to meet growing threats and investigate cyber-crime in a fast evolving technical environment.

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