DHS Launches Cyber Competition for Military, Federal Civilian Employees

Jeff Brody

The Department of Homeland Security has launched a three-part competition to test the cybersecurity skills of military and civilian agency employees, Federal News Network reported Monday.

“The President’s Cup Cybersecurity Competition is a competition aimed at identifying and recognizing the best cybersecurity talent in the federal workforce,” Rob Karas, deputy director of vulnerability management at DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, told the publication in an interview.

The first two rounds of the President’s Cup will challenge individuals and teams to remotely answer questions akin to those on the TV show Jeopardy! and solve the problem in a virtual environment. DHS will select top 10 individuals and top five teams to move to the final round.

Karas said the third round will include an escape room contest and “a capture the flag” challenge. The final round of the competition will be held at CISA’s facility in Arlington, Va.

“It will all be based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education framework and tied back to that,” Karas said. “One of the concepts we are building right now is a simulation of a nuclear facility. The teams will be put into a nuclear facility, something is malfunctioning and they have to figure out what is happening, diagnose it and work their way out of it.”

Interested stakeholders have until Sept. 27 to register for the contest. DHS came up with the competition after President Donald Trump signed an executive order in May requiring the federal government to implement measures to build up the country’s cybersecurity workforce. 

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