The Department of Defense (DoD) has partnered with Texas A&M University to establish the Cyber Leader Development Program (CLDP), which is a program that prepares select students for military or civilian careers with Department of Defense organizations. The CLDP is a two-year program that complements a student’s existing degree path by providing opportunities for hands-on experience, industry certifications, summer internships, leadership development, and individual mentoring. CLDP generally accepts new members from among rising Juniors, but Sophomores and Seniors are eligible for the program as well.*
The CLDP supports DoD efforts fill a broad range of work roles, with emphasis on: Data Scientists; Capability Developers; Network Operators; Operations Research Analysts; Reverse Engineers; Malware and Exploitation Analysts; Big Data Analysts; Vulnerability Researchers; and Information Operations Integrators.
* Rising Juniors and exceptionally well-qualified rising sophomores will be considered for CLDP membership. Rising sophomores who do not yet have cyber experience and aren’t yet ready to apply for CLDP will be able to participate in the Pathways program with opportunities to build skills, gain information about cybersecurity-related careers and provide exposure to the program.
Applicants must meet all of the eligibility requirements listed below at the time of application submission during Fall 2022:
- U.S. Citizen
- Capable of being granted a Top Secret level security clearance
- Enrolled student at Texas A&M University entering their Junior year *
- Enrolled in, or planning to enroll in, any of the three tracks of the Cybersecurity Minor
* Well-qualified Sophomores, and Seniors with at least three semesters remaining before graduation, are eligible to apply, but the program focus is on Juniors who can complete the two-year program.
CLDP students will have access to:
- Mentoring and hands-on experiential learning
- Real-world experience through part-time cybersecurity jobs and summer internships
- Training for cybersecurity industry certifications and associated exam voucher
- Exposure to DoD leaders and those making hiring decisions
- Development of teamwork and leadership skills through participation in competitions
- Networking opportunities with cybersecurity professionals and students from other SMCs who are in similar programs
Total direct value of program participation is approximately $30,000 over two years. At this time, program participation does not incur a service obligation.
In addition to a diploma upon graduation from Texas A&M, successful CLDP students will be able to add the following to their resume:
- Certificate for completion of CLDP
- Minor in Cybersecurity
- At least two industry certifications (Security+, Network+, Certified Ethical Hacker, etc)
- Real world experience as a Cybersecurity Analyst in TAMU System Security Operations Center
- Leadership experience
- Competition experience
- A cybersecurity-related internship
For those students whose internship was in a classified workplace, they also will have a current security clearance upon graduation. (For example, 13 students in the 2020 cohort earned Top Secret clearances and successful polygraphs through their Summer 2021 internships)