Interns lauded following high-tech capstone event


After a grueling 56-hour Capstone event earlier in same the week, the 2021 Advanced Course in Engineering interns were honored during their graduation ceremony on the evening of Friday, Aug. 13.

The program was led by Dr. Erich Devendorf, director of the ACE Program, and computer engineer at the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate.

Approximately 100 friends and family members gathered in the auditorium of the Innovare Advancement Center that evening to honor and wish well the 36 ACE interns that completed the 10-week long program.

The ceremony began with the Presentation of Colors and National Anthems of the United States, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, representing the three countries of the 2021 ACE Interns.

During the graduation ceremony, the interns were presented with graduation certificates and ACE coins. Keynote speaker, Dr. Shiu-Kai Chin, professor, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Syracuse University, addressed the graduates. Dignitaries, Congresswoman Claudia Tenney and Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, were also on hand with kind words to wish the graduates well. 

Matthew Rodrick, from Newcastle University, was named 2021 ACE valedictorian.

Earlier in the week, the interns endured a 54-hours Capstone event where they applied their previously learned knowledge to achieve mission objectives in a simulated cyber warfare exercise. 

“The winning team captured the core lessons of the ACE program to merge cyber and warfighting concepts with leadership skills in a contested environment,” said Devendorf.

The 2021 ACE Capstone played out as a regional rivalry between three powers. Participants had to create a plan to translate operational objectives into tactical actions achieved through kinetic and cyber effects. A rich cyber battlespace provided the fabric to couple the cyber and kinetic domains with the opportunity to attack traditional network enclaves, aircraft, integrated air defense systems, and supply/logistics systems.

The ACE Team assessed success in the exercise based on the participants ability to achieve their operational objectives while denying the adversary their own. In 2003, Dr. Kamal Jabbour, ST, senior scientist for Information Assurance at the Information Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL/RI), in Rome, started the Advanced Course in Engineering (ACE) Cyber Security Boot Camp. The 10-week program educates interns on the science of information assurance and trains them in the art of cyber warfare. The leadership development component of the ACE focuses on problem solving through technical excellence, communication skills, and on-time performance.

Applications for the 2022 Advanced Course in Engineering (ACE) program are now being accepted at Deadline to apply is Dec. 7.


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