By Jerry Rhodes
March 16, 2007
Michael L. Stamat, a University of Delaware Air Force ROTC cadet and
junior computer engineering major, has been selected to participate in a
special hacker's boot camp this summer.
The 10-week Advanced Course in Engineering (ACE) Cyber Security Boot
Camp will be held at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Information
Directorate in Rome, N.Y.
Candidates for the ACE program are chosen nationally from National
Science Foundation Scholarship for Service fellows and Air Force, Army
and Navy ROTC cadets. The junior and senior computer engineering,
electrical engineering and computer science majors must be U.S.
citizens, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and the ability to run six miles in
In November, the field of applicants was narrowed down to 200, with the
final 34 participants recently announced, Stamat said. I have had this
kind of training in mind for a long time and it felt great when I
received my orders to participate. My parents were ecstatic.
The ACE program offers participants a balanced regimen of officer
development and leadership training, as well as academic challenges and
internship experience with individuals from a variety of professional
Mondays include eight hours of lectures from professors, as well as
military and civilian professionals from all over the country, Stamat
said. Two copies of a 50-page weekly report based on academic projects
and internship correspondence must be turned in promptly at 8 a.m. each
Monday morning. Failure to do so a second time results in dismissal from
Built around a common theme of cyber security, class topics include
information warfare, policy and legal issues, cryptography, network
attack and defense and digital forensics. Other topics include malicious
code design and analysis, covert channels and mobile and wireless
Tuesdays through Thursdays are basically 9-5 on the job internships
where participants shadow working professionals and get an idea of what
it is like to work in the field, Stamat said.
Fridays, or fun-days as they are referred to by participants, kick off
with an 8-mile run, followed by various mission-based projects and a
brief class on individual research projects.
The ACE hacker's boot camp concludes with a capstone hackfest, a
large-scale, two-day long cyberwar, with two competing teams using over
$180,000 in state-of-the-art government furnished equipment.
Students are divided into three-person teams that must use their
respective skills in fulfilling mission assignments, Stamat said. This
means you have to learn to think like a hacker. You have to figure out
how a hacker or a hostile group would take down a vital network system
to inflict as much damage as possible. Really, it's hack or be hacked.
A native of Lincoln, Del., Stamat said his interest in computers and
ROTC began during his time as a student at Sussex Technical High School
My electronics teachers in high school were retired Air Force veterans,
and got me interested in technology and the Air Force, Stamat said. I
knew Air Force standards were high and that UD's AFROTC wanted the best
to build better leaders for tomorrow's military. Now accepted into the
program and having completed field training last summer at Maxwell Air
Force Base, Alabama, I am well on my way to pursuing that dream.
Stamat said that he is looking forward to the cyber security hacker's
boot camp and has been communicating with other participants in this
summer's ACE program
This is a relatively young age to get this kind of experience, and we
will hit the ground running the first week we are there, Stamat said. I
am glad that I will be able to use this training to serve and give
something back to the country that has given me so much.
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