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Press Release | April 17, 2015

U.S. Naval Academy Wins NSA's 15th Annual Cyber Defense Exercise

The U.S. Naval Academy won the 2015 Cyber Defense Exercise (CDX), capturing its third trophy since the annual competition began in 2001, NSA announced today.

Cadets and midshipmen from the Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, U.S. Military Academy, and the Royal Military College of Canada applied their cybersecurity skills, tenacity, and ingenuity against the National Security Agency's top information assurance professionals. NSA's Information Assurance Directorate (IAD) sponsored the event.

"CDX is a competition singular in its scope, its execution, and in training opportunities," said Alex Gates, an IAD senior leader. "It provides to those who are constructing, managing, and defending networks the skills and ability to develop more knowledge in the cyber defense arena. Not only do the students benefit by being on the defensive side, but those who are participating from NSA on the offensive side are also able to share information that can help us, as a nation, better protect our networks."

NSA experts who help secure the U.S. government's most sensitive communication systems challenged service academy teams to protect networks they designed, built, and configured at their respective schools. Working at the Parson's facility in Columbia, Md., another group of NSA specialists graded each team's ability to effectively maintain network services while detecting, responding to, and recovering from security intrusions and compromises.

"It is a competition and it is also an educational experience," Gates added. "The students competed fiercely for the trophy and the bragging rights for their institutions. CDX is one of the longest-running events of its kind. It has, as such, been an inspiration and model to many in the academic and private sectors."

Gates also noted the value and importance of the training that CDX offered to participants.

"They are able to put theory into practice. CDX provides insights and awareness that simply can't be obtained from traditional classroom instruction. The experience can be a tremendous head start in their careers."

The entire April 13-17 exercise was conducted on virtual private networks.

CDX Trophy Winners

Year CDX Winner
2015 U.S. Naval Academy (USNA)
2014 U.S. Military Academy (USMA)
2013 U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA)
2012 USAFA
2011 USMA
2010 USNA
2009 USMA
2008 USMA
2007 USMA
2006 USAFA
2005 USNA
2004 U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
2003 USAFA
2002 USMA
2001 USMA