History of CCDC

On February 27 and 28, 2004, a group of educators, students, government and industry representatives gathered in San Antonio, Texas, to discuss the feasibility and desirability of establishing regular cyber security exercises with a uniform structure for post-secondary level students.  During their discussions this group suggested the goals of creating a uniform structure for cyber security exercises might include the following:


  1. Providing a template from which any educational institution can build a cyber security exercise
  2. Providing enough structure to allow for competition among schools, regardless of size or resources
  3. Motivating more educational institutions to offer students an opportunity to gain practical experience in information assurance

The group also identified concerns related to limiting participation to post-secondary students, creating a level playing field to eliminate possible advantages due to hardware and bandwidth differences, having a clear set of rules, implementing a fair and impartial scoring system, and addressing possible legal concerns.

In an effort to help facilitate the development of a regular, national level cyber security exercise, the Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security at the University of Texas at San Antonio agreed to host the first Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) for the Southwestern region in April of 2005.  While similar to other cyber defense competitions in many aspects, the CCDC is unique in that it focuses on the operational aspect of managing and protecting an existing network infrastructure.  While other exercises examine the abilities of a group of students to design, configure, and protect a network over the course of an entire semester, this competition is focused on the more operational task of assuming administrative and protective duties for an existing “commercial” network.  Teams are scored based on their ability to detect and respond to outside threats, maintain availability of existing services such as mail servers and web servers, respond to business requests such as the addition or removal of additional services, and balance security needs against business needs.


In addition to creating the CCDC program, CIAS is founding partner and lead technical developer for the Nation's largest high school cyber defense competition, CyberPatriot.


Award Winning!

Visa Global Security Award
The CCDC program has a strong record of success and has been praised by both the private and public sector for bringing the worlds of operations and education together in order to better prepare our graduates for the future. 
CCDC has been recognized for its excellence in the Presidential Cyberspace Policy Review and by 111th Congress in House Resolution 1244. In 2012 we were honored to receive the inaugural "Leadership in Security" award from Visa

A Little Offense

 While NCCDC staff maintains that a solid defensive mindset is a critical skill to arm students with, we recognize the importance of being able to self assess your critical infrastructure. With that in mind we created Panoply, a king of the hill competition where players must capture multiple targets as well as secure them from other players in order to win.