New Mexico Wing Places 16th Nationwide In CyberPatriot Competition
By 2nd Lt. Michael R. Saul, CAP
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – On February 18, 2017, New Mexico Wing placed 16th nationwide as part of the ninth annual National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, popularly known as CyberPatriot, sponsored by the Air Force Association.
The ranking places New Mexico Wing in the top three percent of all units that participated as members of Civil Air Patrol. The team’s 16th place ranking is an overall improvement over last year, when the team placed 19th, among the top four percent of all competing units.
CyberPatriot coach 1st Lt. Cael Chappell said to the team of its performance, “You have continually improved every year, and that is an impressive feat.”
Additionally, the CyberPatriot team, fielded by Albuquerque Heights “Spirit” Composite Squadron, placed in the following categories:
Number One CAP Team in New Mexico.
Number Two All Service Team in New Mexico.
Number 65 nationwide in the All Service Division, finishing in the top 4% of all units. (Last year, the team finished at Number 73, placing it in the top 5% of all units.)
This was also the first year that the squadron fielded a middle school team, which earned second place at CyberPatriot’s Thundercup Competition on April 27, which was held at Sandia Labs in Albuquerque. The middle school team then advanced to the state finals, and took first place at the state completion, where they were honored at a separate banquet on May 20. They did not advance to the national level.
Established by the Air Force Association in 2009, CyberPatriot is designed for high school and middle school students to detect vulnerabilities in their online networks, and to protect them against cyber-attacks. Cadets are cast in the role of IT (information technology) specialists assigned to a company, and tasked with hardening their computers against cyber-attacks while maintaining critical services for their company.
New Mexico Wing has fielded a CyberPatriot team every year since 2013, and has increased its rankings year after year.
Above (Clockwise from left): Cadet 2nd Lts. Kyle Stafford, Davis Little and Marshall Banks; Cadet Chief Master Sgts. Jacob Hensley and Mark Chappell, and Cadet Airman 1st Class Olivia Spafford, who made up the 2017 CyberPatriot high school team. (Photo: 1st Lt. Cael Chappell, CAP)