A major cyber incident 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 took 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 an escalating cyber incident and potential cyber conflict. Part-interactive learning experience and part-competitive scenario exercise, it challenges teams to respond to a realistic, evolving cyber security incident and analyse the threats pose 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.
Who can attend ?
The Cyber 9/12 Strategy challenge is open to all students currently enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate, professional, or law program on the date of the registration deadline. There is no explicit major, coursework, or prior experience in cyber conflict necessary to compete, but successful applicants will have a strong link between cyber conflict policy and their current academic interest.
Each team can include a maximum of four students, teams that register less than four competitors may be considered at the discretion of the Competition Director. There are no requirements for team composition based on the majors or education level of team members. Each team must also recruit a faculty member to act as their team coach and mentor. While coaches are not required to take part in the competition event, their participation is necessary to ensure that all teams have access to assistance in crafting their responses.
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 cyber incident affecting a key component of European critical infrastructure and services. Previous scenarios have focussed on aviation and air traffic control as well as cyber security in the maritime and ocean navigation sector. Competitors provide recommendations balancing individual national approaches and a collective crisis management response, considering the 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 their member states in responding to cyber incidents.