[ISN] Air Force ROTC cadet earns spot in cyber security boot camp

From: InfoSec News (alerts@private)
Date: Sun Mar 18 2007 - 21:34:05 PST


By Jerry Rhodes
March 16, 2007

Michael L. Stamat, a University of Delaware Air Force ROTC cadet and 
junior computer engineering major, has been selected to participate in a 
special hacker's boot camp this summer.

The 10-week Advanced Course in Engineering (ACE) Cyber Security Boot 
Camp will be held at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Information 
Directorate in Rome, N.Y.

Candidates for the ACE program are chosen nationally from National 
Science Foundation Scholarship for Service fellows and Air Force, Army 
and Navy ROTC cadets. The junior and senior computer engineering, 
electrical engineering and computer science majors must be U.S. 
citizens, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and the ability to run six miles in 
an hour.

In November, the field of applicants was narrowed down to 200, with the 
final 34 participants recently announced, Stamat said. I have had this 
kind of training in mind for a long time and it felt great when I 
received my orders to participate. My parents were ecstatic.

The ACE program offers participants a balanced regimen of officer 
development and leadership training, as well as academic challenges and 
internship experience with individuals from a variety of professional 

Mondays include eight hours of lectures from professors, as well as 
military and civilian professionals from all over the country, Stamat 
said. Two copies of a 50-page weekly report based on academic projects 
and internship correspondence must be turned in promptly at 8 a.m. each 
Monday morning. Failure to do so a second time results in dismissal from 
the program.

Built around a common theme of cyber security, class topics include 
information warfare, policy and legal issues, cryptography, network 
attack and defense and digital forensics. Other topics include malicious 
code design and analysis, covert channels and mobile and wireless 

Tuesdays through Thursdays are basically 9-5 on the job internships 
where participants shadow working professionals and get an idea of what 
it is like to work in the field, Stamat said.

Fridays, or fun-days as they are referred to by participants, kick off 
with an 8-mile run, followed by various mission-based projects and a 
brief class on individual research projects.

The ACE hacker's boot camp concludes with a capstone hackfest, a 
large-scale, two-day long cyberwar, with two competing teams using over 
$180,000 in state-of-the-art government furnished equipment.

Students are divided into three-person teams that must use their 
respective skills in fulfilling mission assignments, Stamat said. This 
means you have to learn to think like a hacker. You have to figure out 
how a hacker or a hostile group would take down a vital network system 
to inflict as much damage as possible. Really, it's hack or be hacked.

A native of Lincoln, Del., Stamat said his interest in computers and 
ROTC began during his time as a student at Sussex Technical High School 
in Georgetown.

My electronics teachers in high school were retired Air Force veterans, 
and got me interested in technology and the Air Force, Stamat said. I 
knew Air Force standards were high and that UD's AFROTC wanted the best 
to build better leaders for tomorrow's military. Now accepted into the 
program and having completed field training last summer at Maxwell Air 
Force Base, Alabama, I am well on my way to pursuing that dream.

Stamat said that he is looking forward to the cyber security hacker's 
boot camp and has been communicating with other participants in this 
summer's ACE program

This is a relatively young age to get this kind of experience, and we 
will hit the ground running the first week we are there, Stamat said. I 
am glad that I will be able to use this training to serve and give 
something back to the country that has given me so much.

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