Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cyber Security

AFA Members, Congressional Staff members, civic leaders, DOCA members,

Cyber security is in the news every day. A search on the topic just now got over 5,000 hits including stories on everything from a second major security breach in a computer game manufacturer’s systems to worries of a coming “cyber war.”

Experts will tell you our biggest cyber security challenge is people. Our economy, commerce, public safety, transportation, healthcare, manufacturing, and national defense all rely on cyber systems. We need bright “cyber-minds” to design, operate, and maintain those systems, but we simply are not producing enough of them.

The Air Force Association decided in 2008 to address this problem by creating a national high school cyber defense competition: CyberPatriot. We just completed our first full national deployment of the competition, and I am pleased to report it was a rousing success. Nearly 700 teams registered for what is now the nation’s largest such event, and the seventeen teams that came to the National Finals Competition in Washington DC were a showcase of talent. Winners were clearly excited, in many cases had a whole new world opened to them, and earned generous scholarships provided by our presenting sponsor Northrop Grumman. I encourage you to view this video to see what a great competition CyberPatriot has become:

And as big and successful as CyberPatriot III was, we have even bigger plans for CP-IV! Registration for this year’s competition is open at our website (, and we need you to help us reach your community’s high schools.

AFA members, I invite you to become a CyberPatriot recruiter. Everything you need can be found right here:

You need know nothing about cyber security, nothing about cyber, and nothing about computers to help recruit teams! But you can make an enormous difference in the lives of America’s youth and in our future as a nation.

This link shows you how your state is doing in registering schools to the competition:  

AFA is doing this because it matters. When reputable studies show America ranked 28th in mathematics and 24th in science knowledge among our teenagers, something needs to be done. We know we are on the right track with CyberPatriot, and we need you to help us. If you don’t do this, the opportunity will be lost. The fact is, only you know the schools in your community, only you know members of school boards, and only you know the local science teacher. And schools don’t even need computer experts. AFA will gladly help find mentors who can help with every technical detail.

Our CyberPatriot program office is eager to provide you with recruiting materials and to help you in any way. You can reach them via email at

To close, let me thank our Presenting Sponsor, Northrop Grumman; our founding partners, Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS) and SAIC; and our Strategic Partners, Boeing, Raytheon, Microsoft, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, AT&T, and Air Force Research Laboratories. This team has had the vision to get us where we are and position us for the future. Now it’s up to all of us to follow their lead.

Thanks for making a difference.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

No comments: