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NEWS | May 29, 2024

91st Cyber Brigade hosts students for “capture-the-flag” event

By Mike Vrabel | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

The Virginia National Guard’s 91st Cyber Brigade and Recruiting and Retention Battalion hosted more than 30 students from across Virginia during the inaugural Cyber Fortress 2045 event May 4, 2024, in Fairfax, Virginia. 

During the event, high school and college students competed for prizes in a “capture-the-flag hackathon” and learned about the 91st Cyber Brigade and the cyber industry. 

Col. Rusty McGuire, commander of the 91st, gave remarks during the event, and several of the 91st’s Shadow Warriors provided mentoring and answered questions, as well as highlighted the brigades capabilities and the benefits of a career in the ARNG’s cyber field. 

The event, in its inaugural year, is planned to be an annual one, according to McGuire. 

“Cyber Fortress 2045 is the 91st Cyber Brigade's new annual show case event to engage college and high school students in the cybersecurity enterprise,” said McGuire. 

McGuire stressed the availability of cyber security careers available and not enough qualified applicants for even a fraction of those jobs. 

“There are over 660,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the United States while the college education system only produces 60,000 computer science graduates per year,” said McGuire. “Cyber Fortress 2045 is the National Guard's way of giving our future cyber professionals a way to come together to meet cyber professionals, compete, and learn the benefits of a cyber career in or out of uniform.”

The event was open to college and high school students. Using a simulated cyber environment, the participants had to use their computer knowledge to answer questions and “capture the flag” with a running scoreboard displayed to add a sense of competitiveness. At the end, the top performers received prizes. 

McGuire said it wasn’t just the students who benefitted from the experience. 

“The 91st was able to showcase the talented soldiers within the brigade, and provided those Soldiers the opportunity to mentor the next generation of cyber professionals.”

Read more about the 91st Cyber Brigade at

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