Our nation’s economy and security depend on a healthy functioning of cyberspace – the space where almost everything that facilitates our way of life occurs – from agriculture, water treatment, and telecommunications, to emergency services and the defense industrial base, plus so much more. The United States’ future cyber warriors and leaders must be prepared to operate in cyberspace – the new battlefield. To prepare them, the National Security Agency annually hosts the NSA Cyber Exercise – a three-day competition that educates, trains, and tests our future cyber warriors and leaders to defend our Nation’s cyber networks. In 2019, cadets and midshipmen from the US. Service Academy at West Point, the US Naval Academy, the US Air Force Academy, the US Coast Guard Academy, and the Merchant Marine Academy. Each team competed in a series of simulated and scored scenarios, but only one academy walked away with the coveted National Security Agency’s Director’s Trophy.
“A country has been left without electricity and has lost control of its fleet of drones. Hackers are to blame…” Such is the scenario for Locked Shields, a simulation exercise involving 400 of the world’s top computer experts. Taking place in Estonia and involving around 400 computer experts from 16 nations, the drill was organised by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence based in Tallinn. Locked Shields is a scenario-based exercise where teams of cyber defence experts have to protect a realistic virtual network. A team from the NATO Computer Incident Response Capability won first place, with Estonia and Poland taking second and third place respectively.