Our lives are intertwined with information traveling across the Internet and other parts of cyberspace. Our critical infrastructures (such as water, electrical power, public safety), supermarkets, schools, jobs, and how we communicate depend on the safe flow of information. When cyberspace is compromised, airline flights are canceled, bank accounts are drained, telephones stop working, and our national defense is weakened. The list of possible disruptions is almost endless.
For cyberspace users like us, we know that social media, online shopping, news media, and banking websites are all frequent destinations. How can we stay safe, knowing that we share the same Internet with criminals from every corner of the planet?
Michigan Wing Cyber Education
The Michigan Wing Cyber Ed program helps CAP members learn to not only stay safe as users but to take control of cyberspace as information system managers. Cyber Ed provides opportunities for:
- Learning how information technology (IT) systems and networks operate.
- Acquiring skills needed to stay safe online.
- Applying best practices for keeping IT operating systems up-to-date and secure.
- Defending IT systems from attackers, such as worms and viruses.
- Exploring IT and cybersecurity careers in business, education, and government, including the CIA and US Department of Defense.
- Participating in team competitions in order to demonstrate cybersecurity knowledge and skills.
The cybersecurity principles learned during Cyber Ed activities are those used by the US Air Force, Fortune 500 companies, universities, government agencies, and other successful organizations to protect their IT systems. Members are encouraged to apply their cybersecurity abilities each day at home, school, or work with similar results.
Cadets who are interested in further IT study and/or an IT career will find that their Cyber Ed achievements, their CAP leadership experience, and they’re embracing the CAP core values will help position them as valued employees, service members, and leaders.
Cyber Education activities are offered through the Michigan Wing, the Great Lakes Region, and as a national program described further below.
Air Force Association CyberPatriot
Sponsored by the Air Force Association, the national CyberPatriot program provides cyber education and the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition. Michigan Wing CAP squadrons form teams who, during each round of the competition, are placed in the position of managing IT for a small company. Teams compete at the state level, with the top teams advancing to the regional and national level. Teams may begin practicing during the summer months; the first competition round typically occurs in late October or early November of each year.
If you are a cadet who is interested in joining a team, talk with your chain-of-command. If you are a senior member who would like to form and coach a team or apply your cyber knowledge and skills as a technical mentor, see the Team Organization page on the CyberPatriot website for more information: https://www.uscyberpatriot.org/competition/Competition-Overview/team-organization
CAP Great Lakes Region Cyber Camp
The week-long Cyber Camp program immerses members in IT and cybersecurity concepts using a hands-on approach to learning, combined with leadership development activities and some outdoor fun. The curriculum is tailored to the participant’s abilities, so both beginner and expert members are welcome. Cyber Camp instructors are engineers, university professors, and cybersecurity professionals. Graduates of the Cyber Camp will have acquired knowledge and skills needed to excel during the CyberPatriot competition and actively practice cybersecurity. The 2018 camp, which is in the planning stage, will be held at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan the last week of July. The Cyber Camp staff will send out a region-wide communication when arrangements have been finalized.
CAP National Cyber Defense Training Academy
The CDTA program offers familiarization and advanced week-long courses in cyber defense and Air Force cybersecurity operations, instructed by Air Force personnel. The familiarization course includes daily briefings from Air Force units, network and computer system fundamentals, securing systems against threats, and a hands-on cybersecurity capstone activity. CDTA has campuses in Maryland, New Mexico, and Texas. For more information and to register, look for Cyber Defense Training Academy entries on the National Cadet Special Activities site: http://www.ncsas.com/.
Cyber Education itself is a new program, and these activities will continue to rapidly evolve with the needs and interests of our members, so please watch for email and website updates.