AFA cadets graded by National Security Agency

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Most college students have finals graded by tough professors, but the cadets at the Air Force Academy are being tested by the National Security Agency.

The 11th annual Cyber Defense Exercise is being held this week at the academy. Cadets will design, build and defend computer networks against simulated intrusions by the National Security Agency’s red cell aggressor team.

The competition fosters education and awareness among future military leaders about the role of information assurance in protecting the nation’s information systems.

Cadets are graded on their ability to maintain an exchange server, chat server, web server and domain controller. They must also submit timely and accurate incident reports as they detect red cell activity.

The exercise is conducted on private networks, providing a safe way to practice while preventing interference with real-world networks.

Teams from the Air Force Academy are joined by teams from the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Military Academy, the Naval Postgraduate School and the Air Force Institute of Technology.

The AFA won the trophy is 2003 and 2006.