DSC_0942_2March 14 – 15 marked the National Finals Competition of CyberPatriot, the largest high school cyber defense competition in the United States.

With students crowded around laptops, routers and clocks counting down, teams were given a business scenario. Told that they were newly hired IT professionals managing the network of a small company, they were given 12 virtual machines that they had to wipe of the most vulnerabilities in the shortest amount of time.

Taking place just outside of Washington, D.C., as the teams raced to defend their networks from attack, the event resembled a scene out of the show 24. And if it showed us anything, it’s that our future cybersecurity workforce is bright.

Hosted by the Air Force Association, CyberPatriot is designed to encourage the nation’s youth to engage in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), with a particular focus on future career opportunities in the field of cybersecurity.DSC_0949_2

As cyber threats continue to evolve, it is vital that we build a workforce that is prepared to protect and defend our nation’s networks and critical infrastructure from cyber attacks. Particularly at a time when our country is in need of a more abundant and robust information technology workforce, the CyberPatriot program is helping to pave the way for the next generation of cyber leaders.

Cisco is not only a proud sponsor of the CyberPatriot program, but we were also honored to host a network security event as part of the finals competition, lending our support to tomorrow’s cybersecurity professionals as they prepare to take on emerging cyber challenges.

With over 50 Cisco employees supporting the events leading up to the competition, and numerous systems engineers providing hands-on training to the students at their schools prior to the competition, our team was both amazed and humbled to work with such an intelligent, motivated and committed group of students.

DSC_0995_2Congratulations to the Marine Military Academy of Harlingen, Texas (Marine Corps JROTC) for winning the CyberPatriot All Service Division; to Chantilly Academy in Chantilly, Virginia for winning the Open Division; to Cisco Networking Award winners Big Sioux Composite Squadron of Brookings, South Dakota (All Service Division) and Summit Technology Academy of Lee’s Summit, Missouri (Open Division); and to all of the CyberPatriot competitors for their hard work and dedication to the program.

CyberPatriots, we look forward to your future contributions and outstanding efforts in the field.

To learn more about CyberPatriot, click here and visit the Cisco US Federal Facebook page for more images from the competition.


Patrick Finn

No Longer at Cisco