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New Cybersecurity Program for Veterans

DETROIT, Mich. – Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD), in conjunction with Merit Network, the Michigan Cyber Range and Mile2, recently hosted a groundbreaking veteran’s retraining program. The 13-week program—the first of its kind in the nation—prepared a group of military veterans for a career in cybersecurity.
students participate in capture the flag exercise at Merit Network
“We are very proud of this program,” said Don Welch, president and CEO of Merit Network. “It meets two important needs: helping our veterans and effective cybersecurity training.”

17 students participated in the retraining program. The veterans were selected based on their experience and aptitude, in conjunction with Wayne County’s veterans affairs office.

Cybersecurity jobs are in high demand, and the intensive curriculum prepared veterans for challenges faced by cybersecurity professionals. The program included five weeks of instructor-led curriculum, four weeks of hands-on lab experience, three weeks of Alphaville capture-the-flag exercises, and a week of resume writing and interview skills development. Students began on October 13th and graduated on January 30th.

WCCCD hosted the cybersecurity program in its new state-of-the-art cybersecurity lab at the Fort Street Campus in downtown Detroit. Merit also hosted the students for capture the flag exercises at the Michigan Cyber Range.

“Merit and the Michigan Cyber Range are very proud to have been a part of this pilot program,” said Joe Adams, vice president for research and cybersecurity for Merit. “As a veteran I know the challenges that these students are facing, and I am very pleased to contribute to their transition from the service to the civilian workforce.”

Instructors from Mile2 taught the five cybersecurity certification courses that are part of the program and provided instructor support and lab guidance to students. Mile2 also provided free lab materials and certification tests to students. Mile2 is accredited by the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS) and has been mapped by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The five cybersecurity courses taught included: Certified Security Sentinel Training, Certified Information Systems Security Officer, Certified Professional Ethical Hacker, Certified Penetration Testing Engineer, and Certified Penetration Testing Consultant. At the end of each course, students took a certification exam provided by Mile2.

“Mile2 is extremely excited to have been chosen to spearhead the first veterans retraining program of this magnitude,” exclaimed Raymond Friedman, CEO of Mile2. “As a cybersecurity officer, I know the challenges of learning new skills in an aggressively evolving technological space, and Mile2 wanted to do it right the first go-around with 100% success!”

Cybersecurity professionals often deal with issues related to critical infrastructure and dangerous cyber attacks, which can be difficult to simulate outside of a specialized training environment. For seven weeks, students had access to the Michigan Cyber Range’s Alphaville environment and Mile2’s lab environment. Students were able to safely practice ethical hacking and penetration testing in secure environments that are separated from the Internet. Alphaville was also used for capture-the-flag exercises, where students search for hidden flags within the computer systems of a virtual town. The exercises helped reinforce skills learned during the coursework.

The veterans spent the final week at WCCCD’s Learning Resource Center, where they prepared to enter the workforce. The students received resume-writing advice and practiced interviewing, essential skills for job-seeking professionals.

The program was a great success, and the participating organizations are planning to offer the cybersecurity retraining program again to military veterans.

About Michigan Cyber Range

The Michigan Cyber Range prepares cybersecurity professionals to detect, prevent and mitigate cyber-attacks in a real-world setting. Like a test track or a firing range, the Michigan Cyber Range enables individuals and organizations to conduct “live fire” exercises: simulations that test the detection and reaction skills of participants in a variety of situations. The Michigan Cyber Range also offers certification courses for a number of cybersecurity disciplines, with instruction available on-site and live online. A full training schedule may be found at the Merit Michigan Cyber Range web site:

The Michigan Cyber Range is hosted and facilitated by Merit Network in partnership with the State of Michigan and with the sponsorship of DTE Energy.

About Merit Network

Merit Network, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by Michigan’s public universities. Merit owns and operates America’s longest-running regional research and education network. In 1966, Michigan’s public universities created Merit as a shared resource to help meet their common need for networking assistance. Since its formation, Merit Network has remained on the forefront of research and education networking expertise and services. Merit provides high-performance networking and IT solutions to Michigan’s public universities, colleges, K-12 organizations, libraries, state government, healthcare, and other non-profit organizations.

For more information:

About Mile2

Mile2 designs, develops, and delivers cyber security certifications and provides Information Assurance services that meet military, government, private sector and institutional specifications. Mile2 courses and certifications teach the fundamental principles of cyber security and follow a certification track that leads to advanced hands-on skills training for penetration testing and network forensics. Over the course of a decade, Mile2 has developed a robust schedule of cyber security certifications for prominent global organizations.

For more information: