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2023 CAP National Cyber Academy Completes Another Successful Week of Cadet Training

July 6, 2023

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HAMPTON, Va. (July 6, 2023) - The Civil Air Patrol National Cyber Academy (CNCA) returned to Hampton, Virginia, this year, holding two intensive and successful week-long courses from June 24, 2023, to July 1, 2023. Seven cadets and five senior members from various wings attended the training. 

Led by Senior Master Sergeant Jared Mast for the third year, the CAP Cyber Academy included special events that added to the overall experience. Participants had the opportunity to visit historic sites such as the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility and hangar at NASA Langley Research Center, as well as the facilities of the 633rd Communications Squadron, the 185th Cyberspace Operations Squadron, and the 27th Fighter Squadron, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis. 

The Civil Air Patrol National Cyber Academy aims to provide cyber-focused career exploration and training courses, with the goal of fostering cybersecurity and information technology knowledge, increasing awareness, and generating a greater interest in the field. This year, the Hampton Campus offered two courses: the Cyberspace Networking Course (CNC) and the Cyberspace Operations Fundamentals Course (COFC). During CNCA, cadets receive daily advanced training in the classroom that helps prepare them for future endeavors and cyber certification attempts. Completion of either course qualifies participants for the Cadet Special Activities (CSA) ribbon.

Second Lieutenant Leonard Nichols Jr., a multiple-certified CompTIA Instructor, taught the Cyberspace Networking Course. He explained that the students underwent an intensive week of training based on the CompTIA Network+ and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) courses. In just five days, they covered the same content that adult students typically learn over several weeks of classroom instruction. The CNC class provided practical knowledge normally tested by the CompTIA Network+ certification exam, and participants gained hands-on experience using Cisco equipment. The course culminated in a graduation exercise where students worked in teams to provide network access to a new branch office with an existing company, while troubleshooting issues with the existing branches.

The Cyberspace Operations Fundamentals Course, taught by Air National Guard (ANG) instructors Captain Joshua Philipps and SMSgt Mast (who serves in the ANG as well as CAP), provided a similar experience to what an Air Force member encounters during mission qualification training on the CY-39 Interceptor Platform. In addition to learning about how cyber protection teams hunt, clear, enable hardening, and assess systems, students gained practical experience with network and host analyst tools. The course concluded with a graduation exercise where students connected to the Deployable Interceptor Platform to perform defensive cyberspace operations on a training network facing a simulated attack.

Distinguished graduates were recognized for their outstanding performance in each course: Cadet Captain Kyrieanne Pardue from the Winchester Composite Squadron, Virginia Wing, for the COFC class, and Cadet Second Lieutenant Aden Doniger from the Southside Composite Squadron, Virginia Wing, for the CNC class.

Other staff members involved in this week of training included Capt. Devin Pedone, who served as the Assistant Activity Director, Capt. Pierce Reid III, who functioned as the COFC Class Leader, and First Lieutenant Derek Broadhead, who served as the activity Health Services Officer (HSO) and Public Affairs Officer (PAO).

The educational process at the CNCA was not limited to cadets alone. Capt. Pierce Reid III expressed that attending the CAP National Cyber Academy as a senior member allowed him to not only serve and assist the cadets but also sharpen his own cybersecurity skills, which are crucial in our ever-changing technological society. All staff members actively participated in the classes, providing event direction and personal guidance, while also gaining new skills through exposure to the challenging classroom environments.

Overall, this year's Civil Air Patrol National Cyber Academy was a great success, achieving its goal of familiarizing students with the tools, techniques, and procedures used in vulnerability assessments and other defensive cyberspace operations, or the familiarizing students with networking concepts and Cisco hardware configuration. Additionally, the inclusion of special historical tours added to the enriching experience for all participants.

Pictures can be found at the following link:  https://photos.cap.gov/National-Cadet-Special-Activities/National-Cyber-Academy/Hampton-Roads-Campus

Additional information on CAP's Cyber Programs can be found at http://cyber.cap.gov

For More Information:

1st Lt. Derek Broadhead Derek.Broadhead@ncwgcap.org

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