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FCW : April 15, 2015
April 15, 2015 FCW.COM 23 COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. — The young Air Force Academy cadets are glued to their computer screens, star- ing at jumbled lines of code. One is try- ing to hack a website in a competition sponsored by the Pentagon’s research arm. Another is working on reverse- engineering problems generated by a Korean website. A soft-spoken professor looks on, while his understudy, a man in his early 30s with a Ph.D. from Oxford Univer- sity, helps cadets in another corner of the room. The Pentagon’s top leaders talk repeatedly about the need to build a cyber force to defend the country from a steady onslaught of online threats. Here at the foot of the Rocky Moun- tains and 14 miles from downtown Colorado Springs is one of the places where that is happening. This is the Air Force Academy’s Cyber Competition Team, a group of 20 young computer virtuosos who have been racking up medals in inter- service cyber contests. They meet for eight hours a week in the lab of Martin Carlisle, the computer science profes- sor who founded the program. “I largely run the team self-paced,” Carlisle says. “I let the cadets figure out what they’re interested in, find prob- lems, work on them, then I try to help them out when they get stuck.” The cadets have thrived in that FCW visited the Air Force Academy outside Colorado Springs, where a team of 20 young cyber cadets is racking up medals and experience prized by Pentagon leaders BY SEAN LYNGAAS Meet the Air Force’s future cyber force 0415fcw_023-024.indd 23 3/23/15 1:14 PM
March 30, 2015
April 30, 2015