17:04 PM

Top 3 CAP Cadet Teams Return to CyberPatriot Finals

cyberpCivil Air Patrol’s roster  in next month's national finals for CyberPatriot XIV looks unusually familiar – all three teams from the 2021 championship round are back from the Colorado Wing’s Air Academy Cadet Squadron, California Wing’s Fullerton Composite Squadron 56 and North Carolina Wing’s Union County Composite Squadron.

CyberPatriot is the Air Force Association’s National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, held since 2008 to spur high school and middle school students’ interest in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The  nation's largest cyber defense competition, it puts high school and middle school students in charge of securing virtual networks, challenging them to harden simulated computer systems and resolve real-life cybersecurity situations faced by industry professionals.

Participants from CAP compete in the All Service Division, which also includes Junior ROTC teams from each of the military services as well as the Naval Sea Cadet Corps. CAP and Air Force Junior ROTC each accounted for 363 of the 1,447 All Service teams. The Open Division consisted of 2,951 teams from other high school-level educational institutions.  

Finals for the last two years were held online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but organizers hope to hold the competition in person March 17-21 in Bethesda, Maryland.

CAP teams won the overall All Service Division championship in 2011, 2012 and 2017 and the inaugural Middle School Division title in 2014. CAP cadets placed second nationally in the All Service Division in 2010, 2015 and 2020 and third in 2016, 2018 and 2020.

FullertonCompSq56Last year, the Fullerton Composite Squadron 56 cadet team complemented its third-place overall finish by winning the All Service Division's Cisco NetAcad Challenge.

The Fullerton squadron is making its fourth national finals appearance, having previously reached the championship round in 2018, 2019 and last year. The team members are:

  •  Cadet Col. Jesse James II, team captain and Linux operating system specialist. This is his fifth year in CyberPatriot, including two years as a Middle School competitor. This is his third appearance in the national finals. 
  • Cadet 2nd Lt. Ryan Kim, also in his fifth year in CyberPatriot, starting in the Middle School division. He is one of the team’s Windows specialists and Ha reached the national finals for the second time. 
  • Cadet Senior Airman Kaylyn Courtade, in her fourth year of CyberPatriot, three in the All Service Division. She specializes in Linux. 
  • Cadet Airman 1st Class Lauren Lee, the team’s second Windows specialist. This is her first year in the CyberPatriot competition. 
  • Cadet Airman 1st Class David Song, a Cisco and networking specialist. He has competed in CyberPatriot for three years.

  • Cadet Airman Minesco Kim, a Cisco and networking specialist participating for a third year. s and making a first appearance at the national finals.

 Courtade, Lee , Song and Kim all reached the national finals for the first time.

The team is coached by Capt Brian Vu.

 Air_Academy_Logo_Backgroundless_7DB0C7505AACFThe Air Academy squadron team is marking its third appearance in the national finals. Air Academy cadets appeared on the national stage for CyberPatriot III in 2011 as well as in last year’s CyberPatriot XIII finals.  The team consists of:

  •  Cadet Lt. Col. Jenna Jones, team captain, who is participating for a fifth year in CyberPatriot, having competed one year in the middle school division.  
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Isabella Olivarez, a fourth-year competitor, who is appearing for the second year in the All Services Division.
  • Cadet Airman Natalie Feng, who is competing in CyberPatriot a third time.
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Brylon Broughton and Cadet 1st. Lt Rachael Johnson, first-year national finalists.

 Jones, Olivarez and Feng have each reached the finals a second time.

Capt. Donna Fay is the team coach.

 The Union County squadron rounds out the CAP contingent with its second straight appearance as the AllNCwing Service Division Wild Card team. The team consists of:

  • Cadet Staff Sgt. Benjamin Donahue, team captain, who specializes in Linux. He has been competing for three years and is appearing a second time in the national finals.
  • Cadet Capt. Davy Hallihan, Windows and Cisco networking specialist, who’s in his fourth year as a CyberPatriot participant.
  • Cadet 2nd Lt. Mason Wise, who specializes in Windows.
  • Cadet Tech. Sgt. Connor Woodman, a Windows specialist who has competed two years in CyberPatriot.  
  • Cadet Senior Airman Ryan Hallihan, who is in his second year of CyberPatriot and is the team’s second Linux specialist.  

Donahue, Davy Hallihan and Wise are appearing in the national finals a second time. For Woodman and Ryan Hallihan, it’s a first-time experience.

The team is coached by Maj. Rick Hallihan.

Finals for the last two years were held online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but organizers hope to hold the competition in person March 17-21 in Bethesda, Maryland.

 The competition’s initial round was held Oct. 22-24, with nearly 450 Civil Air Patrol cadet teams across the U.S. participating. In all, 347 CAP teams competed, along with 102 teams of cadets in middle school.

Each team was guaranteed three rounds of live online competition. The second and third rounds occurred in November and December. Eliminations began following the third round, with only the top-scoring teams advancing to the semifinals.

CAP has participated in CyberPatriot since the very beginning. A CAP team was involved in the prototype competition in Florida for CyberPatriot I. All CAP units were eligible to compete starting with CyberPatriot II.

In addition to the competition, CyberPatriot offers a variety of programs aimed at educating the public about the importance of cybersecurity. These programs include AFA CyberCamps, an Elementary School Cyber Education Initiative, a children’s literature series, CyberGenerations – a senior citizen cyber safety initiative – and a Tech Caregivers program designed to encourage cyber-savvy volunteers to give back to their communities.

CyberPatriot greatly benefits from the support and technical expertise of the program’s presenting sponsor, Northrop Grumman Foundation, along with Cyber Diamond sponsors AT&T and the AT&T Foundation, Boeing, Cisco, Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Cyber Gold sponsors Air Force Reserve, BNY Mellon, Facebook, Symantec and the USAA Foundation; and Cyber Silver sponsors Air Force STEM, American Military University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Gannon University, Leidos, Mastercard and University of Maryland Global Campus.