The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) today announces its founding sponsorship of the first-ever US Cyber Team, which will compete, as part of the US Cyber Games, in the International Cybersecurity Challenge (ICC) June 14-17, 2022 in Athens, Greece. The US Cyber Games was founded by Katzcy in cooperation with the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
“Cyber competitions are a fundamental element of developing the next generation of cybersecurity talent. Games help motivate the future workforce, and keep the current workforce sharp, maintaining a thriving community of cybersecurity professionals,” noted CISA Director Jen Easterly. “While certifications and apprenticeships are important training instruments, games provide a safe and legal venue to practice offensive and defensive techniques in a real-world environment.”
“Our vision is to inspire the very best cybersecurity athletes, build a stronger and more diverse community, and sustain the United States’ world-class competitive edge,” explains Jessica Gulick, Commissioner, US Cyber Games.
Development of the first US Cyber Team started in May 2021 with a Capture the Flag (CTF) Challenge that included cryptography, networking, web applications, and reconnaissance. Sixty of the participants then received invitations to the US Cyber Combine Invitational, which ran from July-September 2021. Akin to a football combine, the athletes underwent an aptitude evaluation, interviewed with coaches, trained in cybersecurity skills, and competed in an advanced CTF. Coaches then selected the top twenty athletes to join the first US Cyber Team, which culminated in US Cyber Team Draft Day.
Sponsorship of the US Cyber Team complements CISA’s other workforce development initiatives aimed at expanding both the current and future pool of cybersecurity talent, including Project REACH, the CYBER.org initiative, and Cybersecurity Education and Training Assistance Program (CETAP), which target K-12 students and educators. CISA partners with the National Security Agency (NSA) on the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C) program, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on the CyberCorps®: Scholarship for Service (SFS) program, as well as organizations such as the Girl Scouts and Girls Who Code. Recently, CISA also announced a $2 million award to NPower and CyberWarrior to bring cybersecurity training to rural communities and diverse populations.