Led by the DC3 Academic Cyber Curriculum Alliance (DACCA) Board, the National Centers of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence (CDFAE) program develops a partnership between academia and the government to establish standards and best practices for digital forensics practitioners, educators, and researchers to advance the discipline of digital forensics and increase the number of qualified professionals in the law enforcement, counterintelligence, national defense, and legal communities.
DACCA encourages collaboration between colleges, universities, and institutions of higher learning in an effort to establish and promote a consistent national digital forensics core curriculum.
CDFAE focuses upon building core knowledge domains at multiple skill and ability levels across the education spectrum. CDFAE designates DoD and federal education organizations, and academia to a digital forensic education standard based upon knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) used in the field. It is an objective driven program, which progresses to topic-based research and problem solving.
The eight knowledge domains represent well-rounded digital forensics education topics and the learning objective levels are indicative elements of those topics. The program must provide structured advanced academic, research, and development capabilities in any or all of the digital forensics knowledge domain areas under the Learning Objective Framework (LOF) at a level appropriate for the current curriculum of participating educational institutes while enhancing and providing supplemental support towards digital forensic objectives. This is accomplished by transitioning general knowledge areas to a specific topic application.
The CDFAE program maps digital forensic knowledge domains to specific learning objectives including practical exercises.
The CDFAE program offers designations to accredited academic programs that confer a digital forensics-related degree. To receive CDFAE designation, an institution's accredited academic program must map courses against a common core curriculum.
The United States is in a cybersecurity workforce deficit. More than ever, organizations need to plan for the future as significant shifts in cyber operations accelerate globally. Digital forensics skill sets provide crosscutting application to multiple fields. In its strictest connotation, digital forensics is the application of computer science and investigative procedures involving the examination of digital evidence, including proper search authority, chain of custody, validation with mathematics, use of validated tools, repeatability, reporting, and expert testimony. Beyond traditional legal purposes, the same techniques, scientific rigor, and procedural precision now support the range of military operations and course of action (examples: computer network operations and counterintelligence objectives).
CDFAE serves as a prime avenue for cultivating leaders to meet evolving objectives across the digital forensics and cyber communities, as it is vital to protect, investigate, and serve public, private, and national goals.
Based on the individual institution's CDFAE mapping, students will have the opportunity to take two separate exams, including a written exam and a hands-on practical exam. Students who pass both parts of the exam will receive a certificate of completion. Currently, two certifications are available:
These Certificates of Completion can be traded in for DCITA's corresponding certifications.
Students who complete the program will:
Education providers will:
Employers will be able to:
As an employer who may be considering hiring an individual with one or two CDFAE Certificates of Completion, this individual can begin employment on day one with basic to intermediate level abilities. You will not have to send the individual through the required courses at DCITA for him/her to obtain the required certifications.
Your employees can trade in their CDFAE Certificates of Completion for DCITA's corresponding certifications.
After a college or university completes the rigorous application process and becomes a CDFAE Designated School, they are able to provide DC3 Academic Cyber Curriculum Alliance (DACCA) Board designed student testing at the 100-200 level (Cyber Incident Responder), 300-400 level (Digital Forensic Examiner), or both, depending on the designation.
If the student has successfully passed either test, or both tests, the student is awarded a Certificate of Completion for Cyber Incident Responder (100-200 level) and/or Digital Forensic Examiner (300-400 level).
A college or university completes the rigorous application process and becomes a CDFAE Designated School.
The school provides DCITA/CDFAE designed curriculum and testing on the 100–200 level and/or 300–400 level.
The student is offered tests at the corresponding level(s).
The tests are comprised of question and answer and hands-on examinations.
If a student passes either the 100–200 level or 300–400 level tests, or both, the student is awarded a Certificate of Completion:
100–200 level = Cyber Incident Responder
300–400 level = Digital Forensic Examiner
If a person awarded either Certificate of Completion (or both) is hired as a contractor with a Federal Agency or as a Federal employee, the certificate of completion can be exchanged for DCITA's corresponding certifications.
*Certain time constraints may apply.
If a person awarded either certificate of completion is hired as a contractor with a federal agency or as a federal employee within six months of graduation, the certificate of completion can be exchanged for DCITA's corresponding certifications:
If more than six months have passed since graduation, certain other requirements must be met to participate in the Trade-in Program.