Our Digital Future’s Next Line of Defense
Building tomorrow’s cyber defense workforce is not only a critical national priority, but a global one. With a 1.5 million shortfall in cybersecurity professionals over the next five years, we are in desperate need of talent. As a hands-on STEM initiative, the National Youth Cyber Education Program called CyberPatriot inspires youth toward careers in cybersecurity or other technical disciplines critical to our nation’s future. The program answers a critical global need to build a diverse pipeline of qualified cyber defenders to address the growing threat from cyberspace.
The program, conceived by the Air Force Association (AFA) and presented by the Northrop Grumman Foundation, features the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition for high school and middle school-aged youth, Cyber Camps and an Elementary School Education initiative. Now in its eighth season, the CyberPatriot competition is open to all high schools, middle schools, accredited home school programs, and youth organizations around the country such as JROTC units, scouting troops, Boys & Girls Clubs, and more. For more about the program, go to www.uscyberpatriot.org
The Gauntlet of Firewalls
More than 520 percent growth in 5 years
Northrop Grumman Foundation has served as presenting sponsor of CyberPatriot since 2010. During this period, this exciting youth cyber defense competition has grown by more than 520 percent nationwide. A key focus for CyberPatriot is the development of “life skills” such as leadership, collaboration, communications and teamwork – all attributes highly valued in the professional workforce.
Globally Advancing the Cyber Front Line
In 2013, the competition expanded to include a middle school division and in 2014, Northrop Grumman partnered with Cyber Security Challenge UK to launch CyberPatriot in the UK, known as CyberCenturion.
After numerous requests from educators for post-season programming, CyberPatriot piloted the AFA CyberCamp Program in summer 2014. Through the CyberCamp program, schools and other educational organizations are able to order curriculum and competition kits to use to engage participants in cybersecurity education throughout the year.
CyberPatriot also launched in 2015 an Elementary School Cyber Education Initiative designed to help youths understand the importance of cybersecurity in their everyday lives, equip them with skills to better protect themselves online, encourage ethical online behavior, and excite youth towards opportunities in STEM.