The Colorado Springs Cadet Squadron has reached the All-Service Division national finals of the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot national cyber security competition for an unprecedented seventh straight year, joined this year for the first time by the Illinois Wing’s Fox Valley Composite Squadron.
The Colorado Springs squadron’s CyberPatriot team finished first nationally in 2012 and third last year.
The CyberPatriot IX finals are set for April 3-5 in Baltimore. Along with the CAP teams from Colorado and Illinois, the final round of competition in the All Service Division includes three Navy Junior ROTC teams and two teams each from Army, Air Force and Marine Corps Junior ROTC and the Naval Sea Cadets. Another 12 teams from high schools across the U.S. are competing in the Open Division finals, as are three teams in the Middle School Division.
This year’s Colorado Springs cadet team:
- Cadet Capts. Taylor Coffee, team captain, and Zach Cramer
- Cadet 1st Lt. Isaac Stone
- Cadet 2nd Lt. Noah Bowe
- Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Garrett Jackson
Coffee and Bowe will be competing on the national stage for the third straight year. Cramer and Stone are second-time finalists, while Jackson is a first-year national finals competitor.
Assisting the team members in their preparations are 1st Lt. Amy Griswold and Cadet 2nd Lt. Victor Griswold. The team’s coach is Maj. Bill Blatchley, the squadron’s aerospace education officer.
The Fox Valley Composite Squadron team:
- Cadet 2nd Lts. Andrew Stutesman, team captain, and Felix Zheng
- Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Jessica Melone
- Cadet Master Sgts. Dominic Lorenzo and John Lorenzo
Coaching the team is 1st Lt. Michael Cittadino, emergency services officer for the squadron.
For CyberPatriot IX, CAP once more sent a record number of teams to the All Service Division – 528, six more than the previous year. That accounted for 33 percent of the All Service Division field and 12 percent of a record total field of 4,404 teams, including 2,217 in the Open Division, 1,589 in the All Services Division and 598 in the Middle School Division.
CAP teams have recorded two first-place, two second-place and two third-place finishes over the last seven CyperPatriot competitions, along with first place in the inaugural Middle School Competition in CyberPatriot VI.
The Air Force Association launched CyberPatriot, the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, in 2009 as part of its emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.
The competition puts teams of high school and middle school students in the position of newly hired information technology professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company. Competing teams are given a set of virtual images that represent operating systems, then tasked with finding cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the images and hardening the system while maintaining critical services in a six-hour period.
Qualifying teams reach the national finals after competing within their state and region. The top finishers receive all-expense-paid trips to Gaylord, Maryland for the finals, scheduled this time for April 2-6, 2017.
Northrop Grumman Foundation is CyberPatriot's presenting sponsor. Other program sponsors include AT&T Federal and the AT&T Foundation, Cisco, Microsoft, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Facebook, Riverside Research, Splunk, Symantec, the Air Force Reserve, American Military University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Leidos and University of Maryland University College.