ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Air Force Association today announced the 28 National Finalist teams that will compete at the CyberPatriot IX National Finals Competition in Baltimore, Md., April 2-6, 2017. Teams will travel all-expenses-paid to compete for the title of National Champion, scholarships, and other recognition.
The twelve Open Division, thirteen All Service Division and three Middle School Division National Finalist teams advanced through extremely competitive online qualifying rounds to earn the distinction of being National Finalists. They represent schools and other youth organizations from Alabama, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia.
A full list of the National Finalists can be found here.
"AFA is proud to be hosting the nation's largest youth cyber education program. We created CyberPatriot in 2009 to attract students to education and careers in cybersecurity and other STEM fields, and our outcomes assessments consistently validate that our growing program is doing just that. We owe deep thanks to our sponsors, coaches, mentors, AFA volunteers nationwide, and students for the success we are enjoying," said Bernie Skoch, CyberPatriot's National Commissioner. "The National Finalist teams we are announcing today are the best of the best and should take great pride in earning their way to the National Finals Competition. They are America's brightest and most promising young cyber defenders."
The CyberPatriot IX competition season began in October 2016 with more than 4,400 teams registered, a 30% increase from the previous year, with each team being made up of two to six students. After multiple rounds of rigorous online challenges, the Open Division and All Service Division teams were divided into three tiers: Platinum, Gold and Silver. The teams then competed within their tiers for State Awards and advancement to the Regional/Category Round, but only teams in the top tier Platinum were eligible to advance to National Finals Competition.
"We are thrilled to see both returning teams, who continue pushing for excellence in defending their titles, as well as so many new teams qualify for National Finals," said Diane Miller, Director, Global Cyber Education and Workforce Development Programs, Northrop Grumman. "Year-over-year, CyberPatriot demonstrates that it is truly accessible to all, creating a much-needed diverse and highly skilled cyber workforce to protect and defend our nation's systems. We are so proud to be part of this national imperative and wish the competitors all the best!"
At this year's National Finals Competition, teams will compete to defend virtual networks and mobile devices from a professional aggressor team. The National Finalists will face-off in four additional competition components: the Cisco Networking Challenge, the Leidos Digital Forensics Challenge, the Facebook Challenge, and the AT&T Mobile Device competition component, all of which return from previous seasons. These extra challenges help broaden the students' cybersecurity experience and expose teams to new elements of the many career opportunities available to them.
CyberPatriot, an education initiative established by the Air Force Association and presented by the Northrop Grumman Foundation, is a one-of-a-kind cyber defense competition designed to inspire students toward futures in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Other program sponsors include Cyber Diamond sponsors AT&T Federal and the AT&T Foundation, Cisco, Microsoft, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense; Cyber Gold sponsors Facebook, Riverside Research, Splunk, and Symantec; and Cyber Silver sponsors Air Force Reserve, American Military University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Leidos, and University of Maryland University College.
To learn more about CyberPatriot, please visit AFA's CyberPatriot website www.uscyberpatriot.org.
The Air Force Association is a non-profit, independent, professional military and aerospace education association. Our mission is to promote a dominant United States Air Force and a strong national defense, and to honor Airmen and our Air Force Heritage.
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SOURCE Air Force Association