I have just a couple of notes for this month’s squadron IT update. First, we have had a few members who had to scramble to renew their CAP memberships because they did not receive the warning notices that the membership was going to expire. In at least one case, the reason for not receiving the notices was that the home address on file was out of date. In past messages to the squadron, I’ve asked everyone to make sure that valid e-mail addresses are registered in eServices, but it is also important to make sure that all of your contact information is correct.
In the new eServices, this is pretty easy to do. After logging in, there will be a link on the top right of the page for “My Account.” Selecting that link will bring you to the “General Info & Preferences” page where you will see your photo, name and rank information, and then a number of check boxes underneath. The first set of check boxes asks you how you would like to receive renewal notices. You can choose the method(s) that will work best for you, but I recommend that e-mail be the primary means.
At the top left of the screen, you should see a list of links, one of which is “Addresses.” Please click on that and make sure that your home address is correct. (You can also add a secondary address, if needed.)
The “Contacts” link allows you to provide updated telephone and e-mail contact information. Again, I recommend checking the information that is there and updating it as appropriate.
The “Characteristics” link has more statistics on you, such as height, weight, eye/hair color, etc. It also has a place for an emergency contact and phone number. Of course, we are supposed to use CAPF 60s to provide emergency contact information for any CAP-sponsored event, but if we don’t have that, your eServices record is the next place we will look. Once again, please make sure this information is up to date.
As time allows in the coming weeks, I will take a few minutes during a squadron meeting to go through all of this.
Now, on to a different subject. The Air Force Association sponsors CyberPatriot, which is a national high school cyber defense competition that is entering its fifth year. The goal of the program (from the website) is “to excite, educate, and motivate the next generation of cyber defenders and other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduates our nation needs.” The program involves a training regimen that provides broad exposure to cybersecurity principles and techniques during the summer leading to a series of online competitions during the fall in which teams attempt to identify and remediate security vulnerabilities in a computer system. Some teams will be invited to participate in person at the final competition sometime next spring.
There are multiple divisions of competition, including an open division for public and private high schools, and an All-Service division for CAP and JROTC units. So, we are considering fielding a team for the Arlington Composite Squadron. All cadets at least 13 years old, and in grades 9-12 as of September 2012 are invited to participate. This can be a great opportunity to learn about an important field that impacts not just CAP and the Air Force, but all of us.
This would be our first attempt at such a competition, so our goal is to learn and have fun. It is important to note that the program does require a commitment to participate and put the time in to become an effective competitor. We will need a team of at least five cadets in order to participate, and more is better.
More information can be found online at http://www.uscyberpatriot.org, including the training materials that we would be using to get started. If you are interested in participating, please let your element leaders know as soon as possible.
As always, please contact me with any questions on this month’s update, or on any CAP IT-related matter.