ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Air Force Association (AFA) today announced that MIT Lincoln Laboratory has joined the list of prestigious sponsors supporting AFA's education initiative, CyberPatriot, the national high school cyber security competition. MIT Lincoln Laboratory is a federally funded research and development center that applies advanced technology to problems of national security. Their research and development activities focus on long-term technology development as well as rapid system prototyping and demonstration. CyberPatriot, established in 2008 by AFA, is an exciting competition that teaches students how to defend and protect computer systems from cyber threats and potential hackers. The competition's unique structure provides students hands-on learning about technology, emphasizing teamwork and leadership, and exercising critical-thinking skills. CyberPatriot IV kicked off its competition late October 2011. In the two-track competition, more than 1,000 teams around the country (and five in Canada) registered to participate. "We are thrilled to be a part of the National High School Cyber Defense Competition," said Dr. Eric D. Evans, Director of MIT Lincoln Laboratory. "MIT Lincoln Laboratory has been working to encourage young people to enter the STEM fields, and we look forward to a long relationship with the CyberPatriot program." Lincoln Lab joins CyberPatriot as a Cyber Silver sponsor, adding even more energy to the nation's largest and fastest growing youth cyber challenge. "We are very grateful for the generosity with which Lincoln Laboratory has presented CyberPatriot, illustrating their firm commitment to promoting STEM for students," said Bernie Skoch, CyberPatriot Commissioner. "Today's youth will be critical to our nation's success which demands we strengthen the technical workforce, and I feel privileged to be part of this important program that contributes to that development." "MIT Lincoln Labs' involvement in community outreach, especially to younger generations, is admirable and a quality that correlates with the mission of AFA," said Mike Dunn, President and CEO of AFA. "We truly look forward to a long relationship with them as we strive to excite high school students about science and technology." The AFA is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization promoting public understanding of aerospace power and the pivotal role it plays in the security of the nation. AFA has over 200 chapters nationally and internationally representing 120,000 members. Visit www.AFA.org.