ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Legislation with $120 million for a planned Center for Cyber Security Studies at the Naval Academy could reach the U.S. Senate floor for a vote within the next month, U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., told the Naval Academy Board of Visitors on Monday.
Mikulski, who sits on the Board of Visitors and has been an avid supporter for the funding, said she expects the fiscal 2015 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, or HR 4486 to come to the Senate floor in three weeks.
If the Senate approves the legislation with money for the cyber center, the U.S. House of Representatives must concur with changes made in the Senate. Another version of the bill passed the House on April 30 by a 416 to 1 vote.
Mikulski said she was optimistic the money would be included when the bill leaves Congress for President Barack Obama's signature. The academy plans to build a 206,000-square-foot cyber security training facility on the Yard.
Construction is scheduled to begin in late 2016 and be finished by late 2018. The building would be between Nimitz Library and Rickover Hall, overlooking the Severn River.
The academy also plans to break ground on a multilevel parking garage near the center in early 2015, to make up for parking spaces that will be lost when the new building goes up.
The Center for Cyber Security Studies would include labs, offices, classrooms, lecture halls, an observatory and a rooftop multipurpose space.
U.S. Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, also a member of the Board of Visitors, said at Monday's meeting the academy's push to open up a Cyber Operations major to midshipmen and now to build a cyber center has made it a leader in cyber training.
"None of our military academies were really focused on cyber the way we should have (been)," Ruppersberger said.
Academy moves forward with Nuclear Engineering major
Along with its new Cyber Operations major, the Naval Academy is moving forward with a new Nuclear Engineering major it announced in January.
In an update to the academy's Board of Visitors, Vice Adm. Joe Leidig, the academy's endowed chair in Engineering, said Monday the nuclear engineering major was on track to being accredited by 2019.
He said the major was approved for the Class of 2017 and about 30 midshipmen from the Class of 2017 and some from the Class of 2016 will graduate with the major.
In 2019, the academy expects the major to be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology and that will mean all degrees earned in Nuclear Engineering with be ABET accredited, including those earned by the Class of 2016.
Midshipmen who pursue a degree in nuclear engineering will study nuclear propulsion, applications of radiological technology and systems of nuclear powered ships and weapons. Graduates will have the opportunity to work in the Navy’s nuclear power program.