There is no rest for a U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) cadet. The USAFA Cyber Competition Team had the opportunity to visit Washington D.C. over spring break and participate in a cybersecurity breach challenge. They placed 1st within the student-based track and beat out 37 other competitor teams in the 7th Annual Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge.
The Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is an annual cyber policy and strategy competition where students from across the globe compete in developing policy recommendations tackling a fictional cyber catastrophe. It is a one-of-a-kind competition that helps prepare future policymakers to learn how to handle what to do the day after a “Cyber 9/11” or a “Digital Pearl Harbor.” Students gain a deeper understanding of the policy challenges associated with cyber crises and conflict during the part interactive learning, part competitive scenario exercise.
The teams are challenged to respond to a realistic, evolving cyber attack while simultaneously analyzing the threat it poses to interests on national, international, and private sector levels. This year’s challenge was to confront a fictional cyber incident in three rounds, involving a nation-state’s attempt to degrade trust in the US 2020 Census. The students composed policy recommendations and justifications of their decision-making process while considering the role and implications for the relevant civilian, military, law enforcement, and private sector entities and updating their recommendations as the scenario evolves.
The USAFA Cyber Competition Team, Delogrand, was comprised of four cadets First Class, James Lynch, James Brahm, Madison Tung, and Dylan Raess. The participating students had a unique opportunity to be coached by expert mentors and high-level cyber professionals. In this team’s case, they worked with Maj Timothy Goines (DFL), Capt Justin Raynor of Computer and Cyber Sciences (DFCS), and MSgt Christy Treasure of AF CyberWorx (DFK). Delogrand received the grand prize of paid flights and lodging to the 8th International Conference on Cyber Engagement on April 23 in Washington, DC.
The cadets who attend the event have the opportunity to develop valuable skills in policy analysis and presentation while competing against teams from universities across the world at the 9/12 Cyber Challenge.
“This competition is different than most because not only do the cadets use the ‘hands-on’ ‘technical knowledge gained throughout the year, they get to expand their knowledge into the policy and strategy of cyber,” stated mentor MSgt Treasure. “This allows the cadets to deepen their understanding of how to legally use those ‘cyber effects’ within the context of cyber warfare and protecting the nation, which will be useful as they become leaders across our country.”
The Academy also sent C1C Ryan Ramseyer, C1C Joanna Trevino, C2C Keith Billiot, C2C Bailey Compton, C2C Garret Gwozdz, C3C Thomas Galligani, C3C Benjamin Kazules, and C4C Grady Phillips as participants in the event. Congratulations to all of the USAFA cadets!