A recent Washington Post article discusses how the country is seeking to harness the skills of some of the country’s most promising young minds using a model that mirrors competitive video gaming, also known as esports.
In August, President Biden called cybersecurity a “core national security challenge” and secured commitments from Google, Microsoft, and IBM. The CIA is also sharpening its focus on cybersecurity threats.
The US Cyber Games, founded by Katzcy, in cooperation with the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) ran from April to October 2021 and consisted of the US Cyber Open, the US Cyber Combine Invitational and the selection of the first-ever US Cyber Team™ to represent the United States at the International Cybersecurity Challenge (ICC) held in Athens, Greece in June 2022 was determined.
The US Cyber Team’s head coach retired Lt. Col. TJ O’Connor who served as a communications support officer with special forces noted the unique egames platform presented by cybersecurity competitions. Unlike other forms of computer science education, O’Connor said, staying up to date on the latest developments in cybersecurity is difficult, with hackers constantly iterating on and developing new tactics to break through cyberdefenses.
“Practicing defenses in today’s world when all rules are changing is difficult. This helps them see what attacks look like in real life,“ said Jessica Gulick, the founder and CEO of Katzcy, a northern Virginia-based digital marketing firm that is running the cybersecurity initiative, a partnership between the federal government, academia and the private sector. “This is a safe place to see and apply those tactics. … Here, it’s okay to try and fail and try again and learn and mentor and get stronger."
This new esports-style program looks to increase job applicant numbers by proactively developing candidates for careers in both the public and private sectors.