U.S. Representative Gonzales Visits AFJROTC CyberPatriot Team
Last October, U.S. Representative Tony Gonzales, of Texas District 23, visited the Medina Valley High School CyberPatriot Team in their new cyber competition building in Castroville, Texas.
Congressman Gonzales, a cryptologist in the U.S. Navy for 20 years before retiring as a master chief petty officer, shared insights from his experience working in signals intelligence (SIGINT) and emphasized the critical role of cybersecurity professionals in the national security landscape.
“I want you to become cyber first responders for Castroville and other small towns throughout Texas,” Congressman Gonzales said to the TX-20009th AFJROTC CyberPatriot team. “The future of cybersecurity is critical to our national security and it’s inspiring to see our students take such an interest in it.”
He went on to discuss recent cyberattacks that targeted organizations within our nation’s critical infrastructure, such as Colonial Pipeline and JBS Foods. He also stressed how similar cyberattacks can result in the same loss of power or water many of the cadets experienced during the winter storm in February 2021, and how their future as cybersecurity professionals can prevent such threats to their community from happening.
Congressman Gonzales’ visit served as the starting point to kick-off the Medina Valley AFJROTC competition season. This year’s CyberPatriot XIV competition is the tenth year the Medina Valley AFJROTC CyberPatriot team has participated in the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, the nation’s largest cyber defense competition that puts high school and middle school students in charge of securing virtual networks.
CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program created by the Air Force Association to inspire students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation’s future.