In the military realm, cybersecurity is no longer just an IT issue; it’s a critical field of battle. “As warfare evolves with technology, protecting digital frontiers is as vital as guarding physical ones. Cybersecurity education in the military isn’t just about preventing hacks; it’s about training digital warriors. It’s where strategy meets code, ensuring our defence systems are as sharp in the virtual world as they are in the real one”, emphasises captain Aleksandras Melnikovas, Junior researcher and a Chief methodologist at the Leadership and Methodology Development Centre, Military Academy of Lithuania.
This education shapes a new breed of soldiers, capable in both combat boots and coding, ready to defend on all fronts. Understanding this new reality, the Military Academy of Lithuania expands cybersecurity education.
“In the coming years, with the expansion of Defence Studies programs, up to 50 percent of cadets will have the opportunity to acquire the basics of cyber security, and up to 25 percent will complete in-depth studies for one semester.“ Dr. Mantas Bileišis, Vice-Rector, Military Academy of Lithuania.
This isn’t just education, it’s a mission to develop the next generation of cyber guardians. The programs of the Military Academy of Lithuania are designed to turn cadets into digital sentinels capable of protecting the nation’s most classified data from the shadows of the cyber world. It’s a blend of theory and intense practical training, preparing them for an era where cybersecurity is synonymous with national defence.
“Aiming to ensure the development of cyber security competencies, the Lithuanian Military Academy maintains and strengthens collaboration with Lithuanian technology universities.“ Dr. Mantas Bileišis, Vice-Rector, Military Academy of Lithuania.
One of the examples of such cooperation is the collaborative project ADVANCES
led by Vilnius University, involving the Military Academy of Lithuania and other partners, which has achieved groundbreaking results in cybersecurity education.
The main objectives of the ADVANCES
focused on advancing the performance of cybersecurity specialists. Funded by the Baltic Research Programme, the project has developed advanced methodologies and tools, such as sophisticated software for data analysis, self-report tools for social behavioural patterns, and custom genotyping arrays. This comprehensive approach not only assesses technical skills but also integrates psychological and genetic insights, paving the way for a more capable and resilient cybersecurity workforce equipped to meet the complexities of the digital era.
The project brought together a diverse group of partners, each contributing unique expertise. The Military Academy of Lithuania joined forces with the project leader Vilnius University. International partners from Norway, Liechtenstein, and Baltic countries added depth with their specialized knowledge in various domains, creating a rich, multidisciplinary team. This collaboration facilitated a blend of perspectives and skills essential for tackling the complex challenges of cybersecurity in the modern military landscape.
„The Lithuanian Military Academy supports the initiative of scientists to form international networks of scientists and experts. Projects like ADVANCES
contribute to the strengthening of scientists’ competencies.“ Dr. Mantas Bileišis, Vice-Rector, Military Academy of Lithuania.
One of the project’s most notable achievements is the CyberEscape training environment developed by project partners from Latvia, which combines physical and virtual simulations to create realistic cybersecurity scenarios. This innovative approach has significantly increased engagement and interest in cybersecurity careers among students, demonstrating the project’s practical impact in both educational and professional contexts.
“The Military Academy of Lithuania played a key role in the ADVANCES
project by applying innovative teaching methods in its curriculum. By offering a basic course in ethical hacking, and employing experiential learning techniques such as hands-on hacking and vulnerability scanning, the initiative successfully raised awareness and interest in cybersecurity careers”, says professor dr. Aušrius Juozapavičius, Defence Economics and Management Science Group, Military Academy of Lithuania. He shares that the results indicated a notable positive impact on cadets’ attitudes, with many considering cybersecurity as a viable career path and actively engaging in related activities.
As the Military Academy of Lithuania continues to be a frontrunner in cybersecurity education, these advancements highlight the importance of a multidimensional training approach in preparing future generations of cyber defenders. Captain Aleksandras Melnikovas highlights that in the high-stakes world of military cybersecurity, every byte and bit can contribute to national security. The digital battleground is as real as any physical conflict, with cyber warriors needing to be as professional in coding as in conventional warfare tactics. This digital frontline is where encrypted messages replace bullets, and firewalls stand as fortifications against virtual invaders. Training in cybersecurity is not just learning about technology; it’s about mastering the art of digital defence, where a well-placed line of code can prevent a cyber attack.
The “Advancing Human Performance in Cybersecurity”, ADVANCES, benefits from nearly €1 million grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants
. The aim of the project is to advance the performance of cybersecurity specialists by personalizing the competence development path and risk assessment. Project contract with the Research Council of Lithuania (LMTLT) No is S-BMT-21-6 (LT08-2-LMT-K-01-051).
Capt Aleksandras Melnikovas
Photos by Eimantas Genys and from personal archive