Students meet with defense, technology experts during D.C. visit

Eight Salve Regina students working on an independent research study of the cyber risks to the military’s synthetic training environment recently visited Washington, D.C. with their professor, Jennifer McArdle, to participate in a series of discussions with experts from the defense and technology industries.

The students are working as research assistants with McArdle, who is lead investigator of the study being funded by a $180,000 grant from CAE, a global leader in training for the defense, civil aviation and health care markets.

In addition to assessing the cyber risks to the military’s synthetic training environment, the study is identifying cyber effects to inject into the military’s training environment for more realistic training and evaluating training needs for future scenarios where service members can train alongside real or synthetic cyber warriors.

During their visit, students met with representatives from CAE and the American Foreign Policy Council, discussed the cloud and cloud policy with officials from Microsoft, met with Congressman James Langevin (D-RI) and his staff, and attended a dinner hosted by CAE at its Washington, D.C. headquarters. They also toured the Pentagon.

Students participating in the visit included Eli Dias, Cassidy Lynch, Alexandra Brodeur, Ryan Ciocco, Nicholas Palumbo, Jacob Leahey, Allyssa Medeiros and Alexis Smith.

“The trip to D.C. was a very interactive and engaging experience,” Lynch said. “We not only got to meet some of the best and brightest people in their respective fields, but we truly got a sense of each individual, their studies and their job responsibilities. Each meeting featured a different topic in the defense and technology field and by the end, my fellow research students and I left with an abundance of knowledge on cybersecurity, policy, the cloud, foreign actors, defense contractors and LVCs.”

McArdle said the need for this research is extremely important because global defense strategies are evolving and potential adversaries are increasingly viewing cyber, electronic and information operations as a way to asymmetrically challenge established technology-centric capabilities. “Operators need to know how to effectively respond┬áto threats in a networked environment,” she said. “Synthetic training provides the only high-fidelity environment where the end user can get this experience prior to combat.”

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