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Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge 2019

A major cyber attack has occurred. How should Europe respond?

We frequently hear the terms ‘Cyber 9/11’ and ‘Digital Pearl Harbor,’ but what might policymakers do the day after a crisis? The Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is an annual cyber policy competition for students across the globe to compete in developing national security policy recommendations tackling a fictional cyber incident. In 2019, the 5th European Cyber 9/12 Strategic Challenge will take place in Geneva, Switzerland from 25-26 April 2019.


What is the challenge all about?

The Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is a unique competition designed to provide students from a range of academic disciplines with a deeper understanding of the policy challenges associated with cyber crisis and conflict. Part interactive learning experience and part competitive scenario exercise, it challenges teams to respond to a realistic, evolving cyberattack and analyse the threat it poses to national, international, and private sector interests.

Students and professionals have a unique opportunity to interact with expert mentors and high-level cyber professionals while developing valuable skills in policy analysis and presentation. To date, the competition has engaged over one thousand students from several European countries, the United States and beyond.


Winners of the 2018 European Challenge: Team Black Knights from the US Military Academy at West Point in the United States receives the 2018 award from Ambassador Christian Dussey, GCSP Executive Director (far left) and Ms Chelsey Slack, NATO Deputy Head of Cyber Defence (far right).


Facing the Global Strategic Challenge

In the European competition, hosted by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) in partnership with the Atlantic Council, students respond to a major cyberattack on European critical infrastructure and services. Competitors provide recommendations balancing individual national approaches and a collective crisis management response, considering capabilities, policies, and governance structures of NATO, the EU, and individual nations. The competition fosters a culture of cooperation and a better understanding of these organisations and member states in responding to cyberattacks.



How to participate

…in the Student Track:

…as a judge:

Graduate and undergraduate students from any university, including defence colleges and military academies, are invited to apply to compete in teams of four. There are no requirements for team composition based on academic majors, education levels, or nationalities of team members. 

Experts with significant policy and cybersecurity experience are invited to serve as judges. Judges evaluate the student teams’ oral presentations based on the quality of their policy responses, their decision-making processes, and their presentation skills. Previous judges include practitioners from various sectors, such  as government, international organisations, information and communications technology, finance, and the press.

…as a competitor in the Professional Track:

…as an observer:

Graduate and undergraduate students from any university, including defense colleges and military academies, are invited to apply to compete in teams of four. There are no requirements for team composition based on academic majors, education levels, or nationalities of team members. Competitors in this category will have substantial relevant professional experience related to cybersecurity, policy and strategy.

All competition events are open to the public, and we welcome anyone interested in cybersecurity policy to join us as an observer.

…as a coach:

…as a sponsor:

Each team must recruit a coach to assist in preparing for the competition. One coach can serve for several teams. Teams are expected to consult with their coaches to help develop and revise their policy ideas for the competition and confer with them during breaks between competition rounds.

The competition is a unique opportunity for companies 
to support next-generation cybersecurity education on both sides of the Atlantic and position themselves as innovative thought leaders in the field. Depending on the level of sponsorship, our partners receive great benefits including the potential to recruit top tech and policy talent; advertisement in print and online; promotional side events; and keynote and judging opportunities.


Highlights from 2018 Competition


You still want some more information as a sponsor? Download our flyer!

Feel free to contact Ms Radostina Raykova if you have any questions. 

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Maison de la paix, GCSP

Any questions?

Contact our staff, we can advise you.

+41 22 730 96 00

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