CyberThon 2015 coming to National Flight Academy

Joining forces to increase cybersecurity awareness and promote workforce development, local and regional technology leaders are giving students the opportunity to experience authentic cyber operations scenarios while learning from security experts. CyberThon 2015, hosted by the AFCEA Blue Angels Pensacola Chapter and presented by Hixardt Technologies Inc., is a unique “community approach” cybersecurity event scheduled to take place January 23-25, 2015 at the National Flight Academy.

The Pensacola-Warrington community is the Cyber and Tech hub for Northwest Florida and the Southeastern United States, and CyberThon organizers hope to foster and promote a culture of cyber awareness and collaboration between DHS, DoD, local, state, & federal governments, industry and academia within the community. The event is unique and never quite been done. Cyber specialists with the FBI, Home Security and several universities are coming to observe.

Seizing on the idea that “Homeland Security starts with Home Town Security,” Escambia County Commissioner Doug Underhill, the University of West Florida Innovation Institute, the UWF Center for Cybersecurity and the Department of Homeland Security are collaborating to develop a real-world cyber operations scenario to be conducted during this 2 1/2 day event. Cybersecurity experts from DoD Cyber operations and training commands located at Pensacola’s Naval Air Station, Corry Field and Eglin AFB have volunteered to participate in this first-of-its-kind cyber showcase event. Unique to this event, local high school and college students will be paired up with these cyber professionals and work side-by-side conducting actual cyber defense and engagement tradecraft.

Cybersecurity continues to be a rapidly growing industry with strong demand for skilled technical workers, and Escambia County offers a wealth of training and career opportunities for interested students. Pensacola is also home to many of the leading tech firms in the region. As the leading organization for increasing technology information in the defense, homeland security and intelligence communities, AFCEA and the local Blue Angels Pensacola chapter are thrilled to be hosting this new event.

Additional key supporters include the Greater Pensacola Chamber and the Escambia County School District. Retired Brigadier General Gregory Touhill, US Department of Homeland Security Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity Operations and Programs, will be among the Distinguished Observers from the federal government, DoD, industry, academia, and local government.

Escambia County is leading the effort to develop “Florida’s Cyber Coast,” and CyberThon will be an opportunity to demonstrate the abilities of our cyber workforce, while growing our future workforce through mentorship. Local Cyber and IT professionals have been invited to join the effort and enjoy a weekend of fun and rewarding work within the greater Escambia County Cyber Community of Interest.

Diamond “Identify” Sponsors: Hixardt Technologies, Inc., GBSI, Inc., Northrop Grumman, Navy Federal Credit Union, University of West Florida Innovation Institute, UWF Center for Cybersecurity, Fortinet, AppRiver, Commissioner Doug Underhill, District 2, Escambia County.

Platinum “Protect & Detect” Sponsor: Gulf Power, A Southern Company

“Defender” Sponsors: The Greater Pensacola Chamber, Community Economic Development Association, Innovation Coast, IT Gulf Coast, TeKSystems.