Left to Right: SFC Puletasi, 2LT Lao & SFC Fuimaono “Reviewing the scoring vulnerabilities” on the CyberPatriot page. [courtesy photo]

The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) Program of Leone High School signed up a team this past September to compete in a premier national high school cyber defense competition called “CyberPatriot.” Leone’s JROTC Program is headed up by Senior Army Instructor Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Thomas M. Bruce and serves as the CyberPatriot Coach.

Created by the Air Force Association, CyberPatriot is a program designed to inspire high school students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines that go hand in hand with many military occupation specialties. CyberPatriot is open to all high schools, Civil Air Patrol Units, JROTC Units, US Naval Sea Cadet Corps Units and accredited home school programs around the country. 

Due to conflicts with SAT testing last Saturday, November 3, the Leone JROTC team competed in the Part 1 of the CyberPatriot national competition event with only half of the team. The Leone JROTC team included 2LT Lao, CJ; SFC Puletasi, Nolan; and SFC Fuimaono, Va’apula. They scored fairly well considering the cadets have not had much exposure or teaching in the field of cyber security.

Scoring and additional information about the competition can be found at http://www.uscyberpatriot.org.

CSM Bruce could not attend the competition due to official travels to Ft. Knox, Kentucky. In his absence, CyberPatriot Mentor William (Bill) Mahn, prepared the cadets and attended the day of the competition which took about six hours.

Mahn is the Co-Chair of the Cyber Security Working Group (American Samoa Department of Homeland Security) and the “Acting” Chief Information Security Officer for the American Samoa Government Department of Information Technology. He is proud of the team and shares, “The team overcame several technical problems, but were able to fully participate and get some points on the board. The scope of the exercise proved a little different than the practice sessions (workstation versus server) and was very challenging.”

Mahn continued, “The team scored early on user privileges, passwords, and account restrictions. While trying to fix an auto log-on situation, we temporarily lost the administrative user. This cut us off from the scoring page and other admin functions. Fortunately, the team had established passwords and recorded them for all users, including other admins. With this access we were able to reverse account lockdown and regain access to the main user administrator.”

Hailing from the village of Vaitogi and recently promoted to be the S4, SFC Puletasi, Nolan of Alpha Company wants to pursue a college degree in Engineering before entering the military. When asked why he signed up to be on the CyberPatriot team, he shares, “I wanted to have more experience about cybersecurity and the basics of the internet because it’s become part of our daily lives and we use it every day.”

When asked if he felt nervous about being on the team, he replied “no, not really… Mr. Mahn told us that we were no different from any other students around the world and that we were just as capable of learning cybersecurity too.”

“I’m excited because Mr. Mahn helped us to learn as a unit,” commented Echo Company’s Platoon Sergeant, SFC Fuimaono, Va’apulu. Hailing from the village of Leone, SFC Fuimaono signed up for CyberPatriot to help him further his education and open up better opportunities for college. According to Fuimaono, “I want to attend college, serve my country and help provide for my family.”

The son of Tumoe Prescott Lao and Chen-Lon Lao, 2LT Lao is the Platoon Leader for Echo Company. He expressed that this was his first experience with cybersecurity. Hailing from the village of Faleniu, 2LT Lao says “this is something new and something different…it gives me more choices for college.”

According to CSM Bruce, “the Leone JROTC instructors, 1SG Dave Langford, MSG Manu Talamoa and I, are here to prepare students for their future… be it college, or enlisting directly into the military, or joining the workforce or raising a family… it does not matter. It matters that we have properly armed them with the right skills to help them become good and responsible citizens.” 

The Leone JROTC CyberPatriot Team will compete in the 2nd round competition scheduled for December. For more information about CyberPatriot, visit http://www.uscyberpatriot.org

Source: JROTC media release


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