ROTC cadets complete annual ICE program

  • Published
  • Air Force Institute of Technology


The Air Force Institute of Technology’s Air Force Cyberspace Technical Center of Excellence and Center for Cyberspace Research’s annual Immersive Cyber Education program welcomed 31 cadets to campus this summer.

After COVID-19 restrictions canceled the 2020 offering, and required a virtual program last year, ICE faculty were excited to resume the traditional in-person course in 2022.

Previously named the Advanced Cyber Education program, ICE is a four-week summer course targeted at college ROTC cadets between their junior and senior years. The objective is two-fold: to develop the next generation of cybersecurity leaders through an intense program that immerses undergraduate students in the discipline and grow new cyber officers into future military leaders.

“This program offers a unique experience that you can’t find anywhere else,” said Cadet Col. Brenden Hale of Kent State University’s Detachment 630. “It opened my eyes to how vast the world of cyber is. ICE is a technical playground that allows cadets to showcase their skills through a collaborative and immersive environment.”

This year’s cadets hailed from a multitude of science, technology, engineering and math degree programs from ROTC detachments across the United States. They included 18 Air Force and 13 Army ROTC cadets.

“I walked into this program hoping to expand my cybersecurity knowledge and learn more about career opportunities,” said Cadet Col. Veronica Vergara of Rutgers University’s Detachment 485. “The professors not only shared their expertise, but also inspired us to continue to explore and challenge our critical-thinking skills.”

ICE covers cybersecurity-related topics such as network fundamentals, forensics, reverse engineering, industrial control system security, and avionics vulnerability identification and mitigation. In addition, the course introduces the student’s cyberspace operations to include both defense and offense.

The program culminated in a “Hackfest,” showcasing the newly acquired knowledge of the future cyber operators to defend “their” network (built, hardened and protected by individual teams) while attacking five other teams who also actively defended their system in a winner-take-all, capture-the-flag event.

Upon completion, Col. James Fee, Graduate School of Engineering and Management associate dean, presented the graduates with certificates and recognized them for outstanding achievements.

Applications for the 2023 ICE class will be accepted Dec. 1 through Feb. 28. To learn more about the Immersive Cyber Education program, visit