Maj. Jacob Bixler
Public Affairs Officer
Nearly 450 Civil Air Patrol cadet teams across the U.S. are putting their cybersecurity skills to the test Oct. 22-24 in Round 1 of CyberPatriot XIV — the 14th edition of the Air Force Association’s National Youth Cyber Defense Competition.
In all, 347 CAP teams will compete against fellow CAP squadrons, Junior ROTC units and Naval Sea Cadet teams in the All Service Division. Another 102 teams of cadets in middle school will compete against other middle school teams.
Each team is guaranteed three rounds of live online competition. The second and third rounds are scheduled for November and December.
Eliminations begin following the third round, with only the top-scoring teams advancing to the semifinals.
After the semifinals, 28 teams will advance to the National Finals Competition in March, where the teams travel to Bethesda, Maryland, with all expenses paid.
CAP teams have won the overall All Service Division championship three times – 2011, 2012 and 2017 – and the inaugural middle school division competition in 2014. CAP cadets placed second nationally in the All Service Division in 2010, 2015 and 2020 and third in 2016, 2018 and 2020.
Last year, the California Wing's Fullerton Composite Squadron 56 cadet team augmented its third-place overall finish by winning the All Service Division's Cisco NetAcad Challenge.
Since 2009, CyberPatriot’s competition has challenged teams of students to harden simulated computer systems and resolve real-life cybersecurity situations faced by industry professionals. The competition provides students hands-on experience securing computer networks while exciting, educating and motivating them toward careers in cybersecurity and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.
CAP has participated in CyberPatriot since the very beginning. A CAP team was involved in the prototype competition in Florida for CyberPatriot I. All CAP units were eligible to compete starting with CyberPatriot II.
In addition to the competition, CyberPatriot offers a variety of programs aimed at educating the public about the importance of cybersecurity. These programs include AFA CyberCamps, an Elementary School Cyber Education Initiative, a children’s literature series, CyberGenerations – a senior citizen cyber safety initiative – and a Tech Caregivers program designed to encourage cyber-savvy volunteers to give back to their communities.
CyberPatriot greatly benefits from the support and technical expertise of the program’s presenting sponsor, Northrop Grumman Foundation, along with Cyber Diamond sponsors AT&T and the AT&T Foundation, Boeing, Cisco, Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Cyber Gold sponsors Air Force Reserve, BNY Mellon, Facebook, Symantec and the USAA Foundation; and Cyber Silver sponsors Air Force STEM, American Military University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Gannon University, Leidos, Mastercard and University of Maryland Global Campus.