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An expanding portfolio of cyber activities at GCSP

We continue to build on our work as a unique venue for training, research and dialogue, and we have been expanding the cyber-related portfolio we offer to our customers.

The principle that underpins all of GCSP’s activity with regard to cyber security is that knowledge is the most decisive factor. Based around this principle, GCSP continues to build on its work as a unique venue for training, research and dialogue, and we have been expanding the cyber-related portfolio we offer to our customers.

Cyber is not only an increasingly important issue, but also a sensitive one – especially at the international level. Based in neutral Switzerland, at the heart of diplomatic Geneva, the GCSP provides an unparalleled opportunity for international experts to share best practices and exchange knowledge in an open manner. With representatives from all nations, and over 40 international organisations, there are both diverse needs and great expertise present in Geneva alone.

Whether it’s providing a course specifically on Devising a National Cyber Strategy and Policy, bringing cyber case studies to our yearly courses (e.g. the International Training Course in Security Policy (ITC) and the New Issues in Security Course (NISC)), or a new initiative such as the Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge, we harness our network as well as provide in-house expertise.

An example of such expertise is the recent policy paper written by Colonel Aapo Cederberg on Future Challenges in Cyberspace, where he outlines how each level (political, military, economic, technical, citizen) has different aspects to it (legal, situational awareness, knowledge, international cooperation, co-ordination, PPP-model, crisis management), each of which must be considered for comprehensive cyber resilience.

During the course on Devising a National Cyber Strategy and Policy, which is based on this framework, participants deepen their conceptual understanding while working with policy-makers in other countries, learn from international practitioners in other institutions, and apply it to their own setting. At the end of the course, participants not only are equipped to implement or adapt cyber policies for national capacity building, but have the knowledge and skills to repeat the process wherever they go, and the network to ensure they stay abreast of ongoing developments.

The first European Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge, organised by GCSP in collaboration with the Atlantic Council, is a prime example of the integrated way in which we facilitate discussions on cyber issues. Many organisations pile resources into the technical side of cyber, but the student competition looks at policies addressing the broad array of actors.

Part interactive learning experience and part competitive scenario exercise, it is the only student competition that is focused on formulating policy responses the day after a major cyber incident. The students assess the varying competing interests – diplomatic vs military, political vs civilian, national vs regional – and have the herculean task of delivering recommendations for European leaders representing the EU, NATO, OSCE, national governments, law enforcement, government agencies, media, and the private sector.

With panels of judges drawn from all sectors and across Europe, students receive what amounts to intense scenario-based coaching with a NATO Assistant Secretary General, a strategy consultant, academic, or director of a government agency. In this way, we ensure that future policy-makers are already learning from current practitioners, and are building their knowledge and network in an integrated manner.

Because of the ever-evolving nature of cyber issues, access to the best experts in highly-specialised fields is critical. Besides over 50 experts to whom we are connected through institutional networks, thanks to our Global Fellowship Initiative, we have two Executives-in-Residence in the field of cyber research, as well as further Associate Fellows, who come from academia, governments, research foundations, and the private sector. We bring together these experts so they too can benefit from the inspiring multidisciplinary and multicultural environment, and engage with leaders from other fields. Thus, we remain agile in responding to developing trends and utilising specific research or activities.

By providing meaningful venues for mutual learning, GCSP is at the forefront of comprehensive cyber resilience. We continually improve our endeavours to facilitate this exchange of knowledge and growth of networks, so contact us if you would like to be part of the discussion.