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What is the Mission?

NSA Cyber Exercise - Title and Logo with artistic rendering of earth from space with a glowing web above it

Cybersecurity is more than safeguarding servers, switches, and chips; it's securing your identity and your cyber footprint; it's protecting your family and friends. It affects your school, your job, and your home. NSA proactively works to secure our future through mentoring, integrating, leading, and partnering in the NSA Cyber Exercise (NCX).

Adversaries are more sophisticated. Threats are never-ending. NCX challenges future generations to stay ahead of cyber threats, keeping our Nation safe.

What is NCX?

NSA Cyber Exercise (NCX) culminates in a three-day competition that challenges cadets and midshipmen of the U.S. Service Academies in near full-spectrum cyber operations: advancing strategic cybersecurity through education and training to develop and test their cybersecurity skills, teamwork, planning, communication, and decision-making.

Who are the Players?

The U.S. Military is a key partner and primary customer of NSA. All five U.S. Service Academies participate. Cadets and Midshipmen from the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy compete for the NSA Cyber Exercise Trophy.

Who are our Partners?

  • Joint Service Academy Cybersecurity (JSAC) - a federation of common interests to strengthen the tie between industry and U.S. Government to better secure the Internet, share best practices, and foster stakeholder partnerships. NCX is held in tandem with the JSAC Summit.
  • U.S. Cyber Command - plans, coordinates, integrates, synchronizes and conducts activities to: direct the operations and defense of specified Department of Defense information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our adversaries.

2019 NCX

15 - 17 April 2019
U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO


  • Forensics
  • Cyber Policy
  • Data Analysis (Big Data)
  • Software Development
  • Cyber Combat Exercise

Calling ROTC Teams to participate in 2019 NCX!

For the 2019 NCX, NSA will accept applications from ROTC schools meeting the criteria below. Approved ROTC teams will participate in NCX as non-competing teams. An ROTC School shall have one or more of the following accomplishments to be considered. If your school meets the criteria, please send an email to by Friday, 7 December 2018 for more information.

NOTE: Only contracted ROTC cadets (federal employees) may participate on the ROTC team.

Competitive Excellence

School must have placed first, second, or third in cyber competitions hosted by one or more of the following within the last five years:

  • Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association
  • National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition
  • U.S. Cyber Challenge
  • Department of Energy Cyber Defense Competition
  • National Cyber League
  • Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
  • Atlantic Council's Cyber 9/12

Academic Excellence

Educational institution designations:

  • Certificate of Academic Excellence (CAE) by the National Security Agency (for cyber operations)

Commissioning Excellence

Educational institutions:

  • Have commissioned a competitive number of officers entering cyber-related fields of military occupational specialty (number of commissioned officers/number of total class size)

NCX 2018 Winners:

U.S. Naval Academy