The US Military Academy at West Point issued a challenge to the five United States service academies to participate in an inter-academy Cyber Defense Exercise (CDE). This exercise was initiated and implemented by faculty and cadets assigned to the US Military Academy, West Point, with funding and direction provided by the National Security Agency. The concept of defending the network was derived to evaluate cadet skills and the effectiveness of the Information Assurance (IA) education invoked at West Point. The Cyber Defense Exercise served as the final project for senior-level Computer Science majors enrolled in the Information Assurance (IA) course. The IA - Service Academy Group for Education Superiority (IA-SAGES), a group formed to plan, develop and share IA curriculum, proposed that all US service academies teaching an IA course participate in the exercise. The US Air Force Academy and US Military Academy accepted the challenge to compete in 2001.