Intelligence & National Security Summit
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EPIC App Challenge

September 13-14, 2021
Sponsor Ad - Microsoft

The 2021 EPIC App Challenge Awaits!

Let your innovation flag fly high!

You’re invited to enter the annual technology competition designed, planned, and implemented by
AFCEA’s Committee of Emerging Professionals in the Intelligence Community (EPIC).

EPIC App Challenge Sponsor

Microsoft Federal Logo

The annual EPIC App Challenge provides a wonderful opportunity for corporate and individual contestants to showcase their analysis, critical thinking, and expertise in front of an audience of technical leaders and senior executives within the Intelligence Community.

In previous years, EPIC’s annual competition focused exclusively on the development of software applications to address specific and relatively narrow national security technology challenges. With the increasing severity, complexity, and frequency of state and non-state cyber attacks to steal, malignly influence, and damage public and private sector targets, the 2021 EPIC Challenge has broadened the aperture of acceptable solutions to include not only custom software applications, but also demonstrations of security techniques and digital forensics.

Judges will include:

COL Candice Frost, USA

Lisa Bennett
Senior Intelligence Officer/Adviser, Assistant G2
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command

Yvette Nonte
National Defense Strategy Integrator
Warfighter Support, Combatant Command Intelligence Support
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security

Here's Your Challenge

The objective of this year’s Challenge is to identify, describe, demonstrate, and defend against a modern Cyber Security threat. A software application is not required; however, the solution should demonstrate the following capabilities through a live demonstration:
  • Identify – Domestic and international news organizations are frequently reporting on various cyber “attacks” on people, companies, and governments. These attacks range from simple phishing emails to complex multi-surface exploits. Find an example of one of these attacks to use in your challenge solution.
  • Describe – Each attack, or series of attacks, has unique characteristics. Find the unique characteristics of your identified attack and describe how it works, who the targets are, and what type of actor generally engages in this type of attack.
  • Demonstrate – Give a visual representation that describes the specific features of the attack.
  • Defend – Every cyber threat can be defended from escalating into an attack. Using your identified attack, demonstrate how you can mitigate escalation. Please emphasize creativity, scalability, and usability.
  • Creativity - Is the mitigation approach novel or an industry standard? How can you improve on an industry standard to further increase efficacy?
  • Scalability - How does this approach scale to mitigate threats at the individual, team, and enterprise levels? As the attack surface increases, is there an exponential increase in cost (e.g. time, money, compute, etc.)?
  • Usability - Can this mitigation approach be leveraged by Cyber Security teams of differing skill levels? What are some ways to make this mitigation approach even more accessible (e.g. i16n, GUI, automation, etc.)?

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Prize Awards

First place: $5,000
Second place: $1,000

The Competition

  • Data sets will not be provided. Participants must independently collect and use data from organizations and sites such as:
    • DHS CISA National Cyber Awareness System
    • NIST National Vulnerability Database
    • U.S. Cyber Command
  • Product pitches will not be accepted.


  • Participants will be assigned a 20-minute time slot to demonstrate their solutions to the judges.
  • Judging will be done virtually on the afternoon of Friday, September 10, 2021. Technical and scheduling details will be provided prior to the event.
  • Winners will be announced during the in-person Intelligence and National Security Summit, which begins at 11:30 a.m. EDT on Monday, September 13.

Important Dates/Times

Team Registration Deadline: 5 p.m. EDT, August 20
App Challenge Virtual Kick Off: 1 p.m. EDT, August 25
App Challenge Virtual Judging: 1 p.m. EDT, September 10
Winner Annoucement: 11:30 a.m. EDT, September 13

Times are subject to change.

Rules and Guidelines

1. Contestants are allowed to use any legal types of tools and technology.
2. Participants can use any open data set.
3. All code must be the competitors’ own work.
4. The intent of the EPIC App Challenge is for teams to discover what can be accomplished with new and creative solutions. The presentation of capabilities that have already been developed violate the spirit of the event. However, participants may leverage existing elements such as open source libraries, databases, cloud services and snippets of code.
5. All solutions must be unclassified.
6. A team must consist of a minimum of one person and a maximum of five people. Team members do not have to belong to/work for/study at the same organization/company/school.

Available Resources

  • Azure Subscription will be provided for each participating team (value of up to $2,500).
  • Access to Azure Architects for questions pertinent to Azure services and not architecting solutions.

Judging Criteria

  • Creativity: Is this a new way to address the problem or an innovative solution?
  • Relevance: Would this solution provide for the needs of an IC or national security customer?

  • Intuitiveness: Is this solution easy to use? Does the flow make sense? Is the design appealing to the eyes?
  • Value: Does it actually answer the question posed and provide a feasible solution?
  • Impact: As the solution is explored, does it provide more or less value than you initially thought?

  • Feasibility: Does the solution actually work? If only a prototype or proof of concept, how difficult would it be to implement it in real time?
  • Uniqueness: Is this an idea no one else has had? What tools did you use to make this stand out and different from other solutions?
  • Ability to be built upon: Could this solution be applied to other problems and expanded to provide more or other solutions for the customer in the future?

Questions should be directed to the EPIC App Challenge team at or call 703-631-6219.

The AFCEA Emerging Professionals in Intelligence Committee (EPIC) comprises intelligence and national security professionals under the age of 40 who focus on developing leaders, encouraging networking and contributing to the IC. Learn more about EPIC and how to join online.

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