CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program. There are three main programs within CyberPatriot: the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, AFA CyberCamps and the Elementary School Cyber Education Initiative. CyberPatriot was conceived by the Air Force Association (AFA) to inspire students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation's future.
The National Youth Cyber Defense Competition
At the center of CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition. The competition puts teams of high school and middle school students in the position of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company. In the rounds of competition, teams are given a set of virtual images that represent operating systems and are tasked with finding cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the images and hardening the system while maintaining critical services. Teams compete for the top placement within their state and region, and the top teams in the nation earn all-expenses paid trips to Baltimore, MD for the National Finals Competition where they can earn national recognition and scholarship money.
AFA CyberCamps emphasize fun, hands-on learning of cybersecurity principles that are relevant and applicable to everyday life. At CyberCamp, students learn the importance of cyber safety and how to protect their personal devices and information from outside threats. The AFA CyberCamp curriculum was first piloted during the summer of 2014. CyberPatriot supported camps at twenty-four schools and organizations during the inaugural season of the AFA CyberCamp Program in summer 2015 and will have over 75 camps in the summer of 2016.
Elementary School Cyber Education Initiative
In July of 2015 CyberPatriot launched a new activity for elementary school students. The program is designed to:
- Engage students in learning about careers in cybersecurity and other STEM disciplines.
- Help students understand the importance of cybersecurity
- Introduce students to cybersecurity principles
- Equip students to better protect themselves on the Internet