CyberPatriot Draws Record Number of Teams in 14th Season
Arlington, Va. - The Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot program launched its 14th season with more than 5,200 teams, an encouraging sign that the annual National Youth Cyber Defense Competition is back on the rise to its pre-pandemic participation.
“We are excited to see so many teams registered for CyberPatriot XIV,” said Rachel Zimmerman, CyberPatriot’s Director of Business Operations. “It’s inspiring that so many young people are interested in cybersecurity, in learning about computers, and potentially in pursuing careers in a field that is so critical to our nation’s future.”
This year’s 5,254 registered teams, representing nearly 21,000 students, are led by 2,000 adult coaches from all 50 U.S. states, plus Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, and U.S. Department of Defense schools in Europe and the Pacific. Among them are students from all types of high school and middle schools, homeschool organizations, JROTC programs, Civil Air Patrol squadrons, and U.S. Naval Sea Cadets divisions, along with other approved youth organizations.
“This season is on an exciting path. The teams are back to pre-pandemic form. Their average scores in Round 1 were even higher than before the pandemic. There will also be a few surprises for teams in the Semifinals!” said Frank Zabrowski, Senior Director of CyberPatriot Operations. “That’s going to bring us a whole new level of competitiveness. Seasoned teams will have new competition, and new teams will have plenty of opportunities to learn, excel, and earn recognition.”
CyberPatriot XIV held the first of four scored online competition rounds Oct. 22-24, during which teams were challenged to find and fix cybersecurity vulnerabilities and respond to threats across multiple virtual operating systems. All teams may participate in the first three online rounds of competition, with the fourth online round being the Semifinals in which approximately 25% of teams participate. The degree of difficulty increases with each round as the season progresses, with the top 28 teams eventually winning an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the National Finals to be held in Rockville, Md., in March 2022. Participants in that round compete for national honors and scholarships and get the opportunity to meet and network with industry sponsors.
CyberPatriot is the nation's largest youth cyber education program and AFA's flagship STEM program. In addition to the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, AFA’s CyberPatriot also hosts CyberCamps, the Elementary School Cyber Education Initiative and Literature Series, as well as CyberGenerations – a program aimed at equipping senior citizens with the skills needed to stay protected from cyber threats.
CyberPatriot is made possible through the generous support and technical expertise of presenting sponsor, Northrop Grumman Foundation; 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.
An independent non-profit association, AFA is the single-largest professional military association dedicated to air and space power and to the advancement of aerospace education at every level. Founded in 1946, AFA this year celebrates 75 years dedicated to promoting dominant U.S. Air and Space Forces as the foundation of a strong National Defense; honoring and supporting Airmen, Guardians, and their Families; and remembering and respecting the enduring heritage of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force.