Center for Cyber Security & Intelligence Studies

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Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD)

The Center for Cyber Security & Intelligence Studies (CCSIS) contributes to the knowledge, skills and abilities of current and emerging cybersecurity professionals to guide their logic, critical thinking and ethics through affiliated graduate programs, an experiential lab and community outreach activities. The CCSIS is housed in University of Detroit Mercy's College of Liberal Arts & Education.

Affiliated Program of Study is the Master of Science in Information Assurance / Cybersecurity

University of Detroit Mercy's master's program in Information Assurance / Cybersecurity will provide you with a holistic understanding that will allow you to develop a total protection solution that will mitigate cyber-risks to acceptable levels in your organization. Specialty courses range from technical classes like ethical hacking, incident response and digital forensics to strategic and managerial knowledge in cybersecurity operations, software and system assurance, supply chain risk management, secure governance and controls and regulatory compliance.

Value to the Nation and Community

The Center for Cyber Security & Intelligence Studies celebrates almost two decades of evolving excellence through the embodiment of our teaching in graduates who have gone on to work for Federal security agencies, Fortune 500 companies and not-for-profit organizations. In addition, our leading-edge cybersecurity lab provides dual value by providing our students with the tools to help law enforcement recover and validate through digital forensics.

External News

Internal News

  • University of Detroit Mercy's team of 17 students competed between more than 500 high schools and colleges across the U.S. in the National Cyber League's (NCL) fall 2021 Capture the Flag Team Game competition. Led by Cybersecurity Club President Thomas Mueller '22, this team game competition was designed for players to compete and track their progress in real-time against other students and players, and was powered by Cyber Skyline's cloud-based skills evaluation platform.
  • Thomas Richard Mueller '21 recently ranked 214 out of 7,130 students in a recent Capture the Flag Individual Game tournament, hosted by the National Cyber League (NCL). For the fall 2021 individual scouting report, Mueller scored in the top 100th percentile in the categories of log analysis and cryptography, and in the top 97th percentile for password cracking. To learn more, visit
  • Detroit Mercy’s Cybersecurity Club featured guest speaker Brian Kaetz who spoke on the topic of Incident Response. The in-person event took place on Monday, April 18 in the Briggs Building, room 217.
  • The Detroit Mercy Cybersecurity Club meeting held a virtual meeting on Monday, April 12 with host guest speaker Micki Boland who gave a presentation on Tor and dark web situational awareness. Boland has over 20 years in ICT, cybersecurity, emerging technology and innovation.
  • Detroit Mercy’s Cybersecurity Club welcomed Juman Doleh to their upcoming meeting. Doleh is the director of cybersecurity at Little Caesars and an executive board member and past president of ISACA. She spoke about audit and compliance. This talk took place Monday, March 28 in the Briggs Building, room 217.


  • Detroit Mercy Cybersecurity Club - Open to all majors, the Detroit Mercy Cybersecurity Club, sponsored by the Detroit Chapter of ISACA, is an opportunity for students to delve deeper into computers and cybersecurity.
  • NICCS - Cybersecurity CISA Resources and Tools, Cybersecurity Training Resources, Education Resources.
  • CYBER.ORG - Cybersecurity curricula and resources for K-12 teachers, educators, students and parents including classroom materials, career profiles, event information and more.
  • Workforce Management Guidebook - Cybersecurity is Everyone's Job - A publication that talks about cybersecurity from every business function and aspect of an organization’s operation. It is written for a general audience who may not be knowledgeable about cybersecurity.
  • - A Department of Defense (DoD) cyber initiative with high-tech, hands-on opportunities for military personnel, Veterans and the public.
  • CyberSeek - To help close the cybersecurity skills gap, CyberSeek provides detailed, actionable data around supply and demand in the cybersecurity job market.
  • STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ - The STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ (STC) Campaign is a national public awareness campaign aimed at increasing the understanding of cyber threats and empowering the American public to be safer and more secure online.
  • CISA Cybersecurity Resources - Telework guidance and best practices, assessments, prevention, and response resources, cybersecurity awareness and best practices resources, misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation resources, mitigating cyber risks to the nation’s critical infrastructure.
  • DHS Science and Technology - Cybersecurity resources, DHS Science and Technology Directorate, cybersecurity publications and more.


Goals & Unique Features of the Center

Following the goals for the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, the Center provides education, advanced security research and service to:

  1. To advance the cybersecurity capabilities of the workforce within the Detroit Mercy service region as well as nationally.
  2. To increase the number of highly educated, digitally literate citizens within underrepresented people and veterans and to produce professional specialists in areas of critical need.
  3. To generate educational, outreach and research activities that will ensure the protection of the critical infrastructure of the United States as a whole.

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    Affiliated Curriculum

    With funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, University of Detroit Mercy built the Center for Cyber Security & Intelligence Studies leveraging the collaborative strengths of its Cybersecurity & Information Systems and Criminal Justice departments to meet the nation’s needs for more cybersecurity professionals.

    University of Detroit Mercy's graduates, in addition to conventional skills, can select the courses to specialize in cybersecurity and intelligence analysis.

    In 2012, the University helped the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) develop the initial educational content and pedagogy for ICT Supply Chain Risk Management. As a result, Detroit Mercy and the National Defense University are the only universities to offer a regular course in supply chain risk management.

    University of Detroit Mercy offers the following degree programs:

    Undergraduate Degrees

    Graduate Degrees

    5-year Accelerated Degrees (Bachelor's to Master's)

    Cybersecurity Lab

    The Center’s state-of-the-art lab equipment includes rack-mounted Palo Alto and CISCO routers and switches, digital forensics workstations, portable data acquisition devices, threat analysis software, wireless antennae, advanced encryption software and malware debugging software.

    Students engage in hands-on technical labs using specialized tools and technology including simulated environments using virtual machine technologies.

    As a result, students gain familiarity with the equipment and processes used in industry to make them highly marketable candidates for jobs.


    Affiliated Faculty

    Cybersecurity & Information Systems and Criminal Justice Programs

    • Gregory Laidlaw, DMIT, department chair and lecturer of Cybersecurity & Information Systems
    • Dan Shoemaker, Ph,D., director of the Master of Science in the Information Assurance Program
    • Erick Barnes, department chair, instructor of Criminal Justice and Director of the Master of Science in Intelligence Analysis Program
    • Anne Kohnke, Ph.D., director of the Center for Cyber Security & Intelligence Studies and associate professor of Cybersecurity & Information Systems
    • Charles Wilson, J.D., associate professor of Criminal Justice

    Cybersecurity Center Advisory Board

    • William Bowen '03, '05, U.S. Army, TACOM
    • Edward Bobola III, senior master sergeant, 110 OG (USA)
    • Mike Brennan, founder of Michigan News Network
    • Shaun Cavanaugh, chief information security officer at the National Park Service
    • Marrci Conner, faculty at Henry Ford College
    • Kurt Gollinger, chief operating officer at Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
    • Jason Grembi '02, author of Secure Software Development, certified information systems security professional and senior cybersecurity architect, Vehicle Services department at General Motors
    • Michael Huguley '07, Infrastructure Manager / Infrastructure Architect
    • Keith Jaroszewski, '09, '10, senior penetration Tester at Synchrony
    • J.T. Jones '05, deputy cybersecurity program manager at the US Army in Europe G6
    • Daniel Kennedy, principal consultant at Forensic Criminology Associates
    • Kristin Judge, founder of Cyber Crime Support Network
    • Dan Lohrmann, chief strategist and chief security officer at Security Mentor, Inc.
    • Christopher Martella '15, attorney at Kemp Klein Law Firm
    • Richard Marshall, chairman of the board at Cinturion
    • Janell McLemore '09, access manager at the U.S. Department of Defense
    • Sajay Rai, President, certified public accountant, certified information systems security professional and certified information security manager at Securely Yours
    • James L. Rainey, Ph.D., III, '95, '97, information technology specialist at the U.S. Government
    • Stephanie Scheurmann, cyber threat intelligence specialist at Ford Motor Company
    • Bob Sherman, associate professor and chair of Computer Information Systems at Sinclair Community College
    • Ken Sigler '98, faculty at Oakland Community College
    • Christopher Sorensen, senior cybersecurity researcher at GE Digital
    • Ryan Spangler, senior account executive cybersecurity practice at TEKSystems
    • Mary Sparks, '05, WebFOCUS senior SDA, Ford Motor Company
    • Caston Thomas, President at InterWorks, LLC
    • Dave Trader, chief strategy officer at GalaxE Solutions
    • Tabice Ward, director/computer and information science and engineering (CISE) at DTE Energy
    • Jeff Weber, Department of Defense
    • Brad Wilkerson, principal engineer at Walt Disney Imagineering
    • Angela Williams, enterprise information security officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

    Alumni & Jobs


    Graduates from University of Detroit Mercy's Master of Science in Information Assurance program are working for many government and Fortune 500 companies including:

    • Department of Defense in the United Kingdom
    • Department of Defense in Washington DC area
    • DTE
    • Ford Motor Company
    • Chrysler Information Assurance
    • EUCOM in Germany
    • FORD
    • GM
    • IRS
    • Private Contractor in Germany
    • Private Contractor in Washington DC area
    • Private Contractor to Department of Defense in Washington DC area
    • Samsung
    • Silicon Valley Private CO
    • TACOM



    Grants & Projects


    Detroit Mercy’s Center for Cyber Security and Intelligence Studies received a contract from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in April 2017 to grow awareness and participation in the National CyberPatriot Program. This funding allows Detroit Mercy to sponsor four summer camps and 80 teams for the 10th National CyberPatriot 2017-2018 season.


    University of Detroit Mercy faculty also worked under a $100,000 contract with the Institute for Defense Analysis (Fall 2013) to develop an ICT Supply Chain Risk Management course for the National Defense University. One outcome of this effort was that a University of Detroit Mercy faculty member was contracted by the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) to teach the first ICT supply chain risk management course to active duty military participants in Europe (Grafenwoehr, Germany, 2013). That same course has been taught as part of the curriculum for the past two years at Detroit Mercy. That distinction makes Detroit Mercy and NDU the first two academic institutions in the country to provide this critical knowledge. In addition, Detroit Mercy has developed and will offer a course in secure acquisition (Spring 2013) based on the faculty member's book published by Cengage publishing. During that project, Detroit Mercy graduate students played a significant role in all phases of the research. In turn, the direct exposure to faculty research helped Detroit Mercy guarantee that its students would be prepared to assume thought leadership in the critical field of secure software.


    University of Detroit Mercy faculty were given a $15,000 grant to work with Cypherpath Inc. (Reston, Virginia) to commercialize and package the comprehensive secure software assurance curriculum for distribution in on-line settings and for targeted training environments.


    University of Detroit Mercy executed a $100,000 contract with the Cyber Innovation Center (CIC) a State of Louisiana research center that is located in Bossier City, Louisiana. The work product was a refinement of the comprehensive curriculum for secure software assurance that was developed through the two-year Department of Defense sponsored grant.


    As a result, University of Detroit Mercy's prominence in the field of Secure Software and Supply Chain Assurance Education it obtained a two-year, $1.6 million Department of Defense (DOD) grant to develop pedagogy and teaching material for this newly emerging discipline. University of Detroit Mercy executed that contract through U.S. Army Tank Automotive Command (TACOM) as a subcontractor to Perot Systems/QSS. The aim of this two-year Federal contract was to develop and disseminate the knowledge necessary to ensure that the software that enables America's business and critical infrastructure is safe and secure.


    University of Detroit Mercy executed a contract for NSA at TACOM in the amount of $80,000 (first year) and $140,000 (second year) to do threat modeling for their operational systems. The end product of this research was a UML based map of the threat environment for that installation.


    University of Detroit Mercy jumped to the forefront of the effort to secure America's cyber infrastructure by being designated an NSA Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education. University of Detroit Mercy became the second institution in the entire upper Midwest to receive that distinction.


    Past Events


    SecureWorld Detroit - Toronto - Cincinnati Virtual Conference

    Dan Shoemaker will be leading the Executive Roundtable at SecureWorld Detroit - Toronto - Cincinnati Virtual Conference on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020.



    SecureWorld Detroit

    Dan Shoemaker was one of the session speakers at SecureWorld Detroit, Oct. 2, 2019.

    Midwest Infragard Conference

    Center Hosted the Midwest Infragard Conference May 20, 2019. 

    CISO Detroit Summit

    Center Exhibitor at the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Detroit Summit, May 16, 2019.

    Summer Camps 2019 - CyberPatriot Summer Camp for students in grades 7 - 11

    University of Detroit Mercy/DTE (Detroit), GE Digital (Belleville), ANG Battle Creek, MI, Oakland Co Tech Center, Bay College (Escanaba).

    The Detroit Mercy Center for Cyber Security & Intelligence Studies sponsored the 2018 CyberPatriot Summer Camp. Founded by the Air Force Association (AFA), CyberPatriot is geared for middle school and high school students interested in cybersecurity, operating systems and computer networks. The 20-hour curriculum is designed to be completed over five half days, with the fifth day serving as a day of mini-competition. Many students who attend an AFA CyberCamp go on to join a CyberPatriot National Defense Competition team during the school year.

    What is CyberPatriot?

    CyberPatriot is the premier national youth cyber education program created to inspire high school and middle school students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation’s future. The program was created by the Air Force Association. The Northrop Grumman Foundation is the presenting sponsor.

    Who makes up a team?

    Each CyberPatriot team requires a coach, usually a teacher or adult leader of a team-sponsoring organization. Coaches need no special technical background. Any teacher or youth organization leader with the desire to help students learn something new, exciting and relevant can be a great CyberPatriot coach!

    In addition to the coach, a team is made up of two to six students (five competitors, one alternate). Students must be registered with the CyberPatriot Program office and must be enrolled with the school or organization they are competing with. All cyber teaching materials are provided, and there is no course or skill prerequisite for the program. Any student with an interest can join a team and be successful.

    In cases where a team needs help with computer basics, the coach can request help from qualified technical mentors. Technical mentors are local volunteers who possess appropriate IT knowledge and skills. Background checks are required of all Technical Mentors in our mentor network.

    What does a school need to participate?

    One to three computers and an Internet connection are required for occasional weekend use during the online portions of the competition. Computer hardware requirements are modest, and most schools already have computers that meet the technical specifications of the competition. The computer technical requirements are available on If a school cannot provide the needed equipment or Internet connection, CyberPatriot will assist in attempting to provide possible leads in locating equipment. For teams needing an alternate Internet connection, CyberPatriot will provide AT&T Air Cards (provided on a needs/first-come-first-serve basis). CyberPatriot’s goal is to make sure that every team that wants to participate can participate.

    There is a $195 registration fee for each team registered ($155 for middle school teams). All girl teams, Title I Schools, JROTC, Civil Air Patrol and Naval Sea Cadet teams pay no fee. In return, the team receives access to the Microsoft Developers Network Academic Alliance software. This allows the team to download a number of operating systems and productivity tools that can be used to prepare for the competition, a benefit that alone is worth several thousand dollars. Each registered team member also receives a CyberPatriot participant kit. Past kits have included a t-shirt, commemorative coin, official competitor’s pin and other CyberPatriot gear.

    What training materials does a coach need?

    Although coaches are welcome to supplement the provided teaching materials as they wish, all materials necessary for a successful competition are provided on the CyberPatriot website. Teachers (and other coaches) are encouraged to use the provided materials not solely for use in preparing their team for competition, but also to educate all students in their school or organization about good cybersecurity practices and safe computer and Internet use.

    How does the competition work?

    Teams compete in three divisions:

    • Open High School Division*: Open to all high schools, scouting units, Boys and Girls Clubs, and approved high school homeschool programs across the country
    • All Service Division: High school JROTC Programs / Civil Air Patrol units / Naval Sea Cadet Corps units
    • Middle School Division*: Open to teams of middle school students

    The early rounds of the competition are done online during weekends from the teams’ home locations (schools, homes, libraries, etc).

    Prior to the rounds, teams download “virtual image” representations of operating systems with known flaws, or cybersecurity “vulnerabilities”. Teams must find the flaws while keeping computer functions working. Team progress is recorded by a central CyberPatriot scoring system.

    For the Open and All Service divisions, scores from two online qualification rounds are added together to determine team placement into one of three tiers for the State Round: Platinum, Gold or Silver.

    These tiers have cybersecurity challenges of different degrees of complexity, with Platinum being the tier with the highest degree of difficulty and the only tier where teams have the opportunity to advance to the National Finals competition. After the online State Round, the top teams in each state advance to the Regional Round for the Open Division. The top six teams in each All Service Division category advance to the Category Round.

    Following the Regional and Category rounds, the top 12 Open Division teams and top two teams from each All Service Division category (Air Force/Army/Marine Corps/Navy JROTC, CAP, USNSCC) and one wild card team advance, all-expenses-paid, to the in-person National Finals Competition held in Baltimore, Maryland. There, the finalists compete face-to-face against other teams in their division to defend virtual networks from a professional aggressor team. Winners of the National Finals are awarded scholarship grants.

    The middle school competition is slightly different. After two qualifying rounds, the top 50% of teams advance to the Semifinals. From there, the top three teams advance to the National Finals Competition.

    For more information, go to



    Michigan CTE Summit

    Michigan CTE Summit at Davenport University, panelist, Dec. 14, 2018.

    Global Forum Event

    Global Forum: Speaker Copenhagen, Women and Diversity in Cybersecurity and how the CyberPatriot program inspires young women to get into this career field, Nov. 6, 2018.

    CS For All

    Computer Science For All speaker: Oct 9, 2018.




    We were an exhibitor at GrrCon, attended by Greg Laidlaw, Oct. 7, 2017.

    Detroit TEDx

    William Bowen '05, advisory committee member, exhibited a talk at Detroit TEDx on Oct. 6, 2017.

    TRENDS conference

    Dan Shoemaker and Anne Kohnke were invited to speak at the TRENDS and discussed their book, A Guide to the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (2.0).

    Funding for 80 Michigan CyberPatriot teams

    We received $20,000 funding from MDEC to pay for registration for 80 Michigan CyberPatriot teams across Michigan.

    Cass Technical High School

    As Chair of the Advisory Board for the CTE Committee at Cass Technical High School, Dan Shoemaker held the 2nd Annual Career Event on May 18, 2017 at Cass Tech High School. Alumni from our program taught the students about this exciting career field.

    Secure World Conference

    Dan Shoemaker spoke at the 2017 Secure World Conference in Dearborn in September. Dan Spoke about the NIST Standards. This event is the largest Cyber Security event in the state. 

    Infragard Regional Annual Conference

    On May 25, 2017 Infragard held its Annual Regional Conference on McNichols Campus.

    CyberPatriot Summer Camps

    First Michigan CyberPatriot Summer camps held at University of Detroit Mercy and Air National Guard Cyber Command in Battle Creek, MI in 2017. 

    2nd Annual Cyber Career Day at Cass Tech High School

    On May 18, 2017, the following advisory board members spoke to the students about their education and careers in Cyber Security:

    • Chris Sorensen, GE Application Security and Compliance
    • James Ratzlaff, Staff Cyber Security Architect, GE Power
    • William Bowen, IT Specialist TACOM
    • Marrci Conner, HFC Cyber Security Faculty
    • Gregory Laidlaw, Instructor Detroit Mercy’s Cybersecurity & Information Systems Program
    • Keith Jaroszewski, Senior Information Security Engineer at Comerica
    • William Winston, Info Sec Engineer at Comerica
    • Marcia Mangold, Manager of IS Governance @ BCBSM
    • Ryan Spangler, Sr Account Executive-Information Security Services, TEK System

    William Bowen, Mrs. Barrett and Chris Sorenson at Cyber Career Day 1
    William Bowen, Mrs. Barrett and Chris Sorenson

    Gregory Laidlaw discussing his career in a classroom full of students at Cyber Career Day 2

    Gregory Laidlaw discusses his career as an IT and Cybersecurity consultant and educator.

    James Ratliff discussing his career at GE Power in a classroom full of students at Cyber Career Day 3
    James Ratliff discussing his career at GE Power.

    Converge Con at Cobo Hall

    May 11-13, 2017. Exhibitor at Converge Con, promoting Detroit Mercy's Center for Cyber Security & Intelligence Studies, Detroit Mercy's academic programs in cybersecurity and the need for CyberPatriot mentors for the Michigan competition. Listen to the radio interview that played on ITinthe D.


    March 2017. Exhibitor for Detroit Mercy's cybersecurity programs and the CISSE organization.

    TEKSystems Cyber Security Career Session

    February 2017. The Center held its first TEKSystems cybersecurity career session.

    Cybersecurity Career Session

    Invited guest along with the CyberPatriot students from Cass Tech to take part in the Automotive ISACE Fall Summit 2018, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018.

    Secure World

    Secure World Speakers Sept 13, 2018


    GRRR CON exhibitor, Sept. 2018.

About Detroit Mercy

University of Detroit Mercy is recognized as one of the premier private universities in the Great Lakes region. For more than 10 consecutive years, Detroit Mercy was voted as one of the best universities in the Midwest by US News and World Report.

Originally founded as a Jesuit college in 1877 and strengthened in the 1990s by joining with the Religious Sisters of Mercy, the University has a 140-year history and a well-established reputation for academic excellence. A Detroit Mercy education integrates the intellectual, spiritual, ethical, and social development of its students.

University of Detroit Mercy is recognized by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense from 2004 to present.

Detroit Mercy’s mission is to, provide excellent, student-centered, undergraduate and graduate education in an urban context. That urban service mission was highlighted in the 1970s by Detroit Mercy choosing to stay on its campus in Northwest Detroit, rather than move to the suburbs like other Detroit institutions at the time. Detroit Mercy continues to serve in that capacity as an initiator for efforts to rebuild the City of Detroit and is one of the direct sponsors of Focus Hope Detroit, a minority-serving Catholic training foundation, located adjacent to the Detroit Mercy campus.

Detroit Mercy is also an active and enthusiastic participant in the “Wounded Warrior Program” and is recognized as a “Military Friendly School®”. It has a special advising program to repurpose former active duty military veterans. One of the faculty advisors is a former Army Major General (Charles Wilson, associate professor of criminal justice studies) and a recruiter is a “Wounded Warrior” graduate of the Master’s Program.