Paul Wagner

Date of Award

Spring 5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Cyber Defense (PhDCD)

First Advisor

Kevin Streff

Second Advisor

Bhaskar Rimal

Third Advisor

Mark Hawkes


Most survey results agree that there is a current and ongoing shortage of skilled cybersecurity workers that places our privacy, infrastructure, and nation at risk. Estimates for the global Cybersecurity Workforce Gap range from 2.72 million (ISC2, 2021) to 3.5 million (Cyber Academy, 2021) for 2021 and the United States estimates range from 465,000 (Brooks, 2021) to over 769,000 (Cyber Seek, 2022) open jobs as of November 2022. The most optimistic estimates still demonstrate a critical issue. As cybersecurity threats continue to grow in sophistication, scope, and scale, the ability to secure the United States from these threats lies in the ability to develop cybersecurity professionals with the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) to accomplish the tasks associated with their cyber roles. The ability to supply qualified cybersecurity professionals is outpaced by the growing demand as previously outlined. This study proposes that conducting a case study of existing cybersecurity programs at secondary education institutions can identify the critical elements of these programs. These elements can be codified into program profiles and further refined into a comprehensive cybersecurity education framework for secondary education institutions. This framework can be used by school districts throughout Arizona to develop cybersecurity programs and ultimately develop qualified and competent cybersecurity professionals to overcome the cybersecurity workforce gap.