Out-of-uniform soldiers attach banner of glass doors of convention center.

Enlarge / Soldiers of the 780th Military Intelligence Brigade (Cyber) set up for AvengerCon IV, a "hacker" event for members of the US Cyber Command and government cyber operations community at the US CYBERCOM DreamPort facility in Columbia, Maryland, on October 17 and 18, 2019. (credit: 780th Military Intelligence Brigade)

COLUMBIA, Md.—In a business park that plays home to a number of tech and cybersecurity firms situated strategically between Washington, DC, and Baltimore, there's a two-story building that looks externally like many other office buildings, remarkable this day only for the food trucks in the parking lot and the stream of people in camouflage swarming in and out. The building, called DreamPort, is a collaboration facility leased by US Cyber Command—and on October 18, it was the location of AvengerCon IV, the latest incarnation of a soldier-led cybersecurity training event that takes the shape of a community hacking conference.

The event also offered USCYBERCOM a chance to show off DreamPort—and a chance for me to meet with David Luber, the Executive Director of USCYBERCOM.

"AvengerCon is an event that is attracting the very best talent both from our DoD participants and also from some of the folks that are working with us outside of the DoD," Luber said. "When you bring those very best cyber experts together, they get to learn, test out new ideas, and work in an environment that is hosted by and for DoD cyber operations community experts. They're working in a community of peers—they get to learn together, they get to fail together. And what we've seen from previous activities with AvengerCon is that it's an exhilarating, fun environment for them to work in, and they learn a ton while they're here. And the private sector benefits because as AvengerCon shows, we're all working on some of the same cyber challenges together."

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