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 Student Challenge is an annual cyber policy competition for students across the globe to compete in developing national security policy recommendations tackling a fictional cyber catastrophe. In spring 2016, the Student Challenge will take place in Washington, DC, and in Geneva, Switzerland.

  • About the Challenge
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Now entering its fourth year, the Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge is a one-of-a-kind competition designed to provide students across 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 analyze the threat it poses to national, international, and private sector interests.

Students have a unique opportunity to interact with expert mentors and high-level cyber professionals while developing valuable skills in policy analysis and presentation. The competition has already engaged over four hundred students from universities in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Poland, Switzerland, Hungary, Finland, and Estonia.

In Washington, DC, in partnership with American University's School of International Service, student teams confront a serious cybersecurity breach of national and international importance. Teams will compose policy recommendations and justify their decision-making process, considering the role and implications for relevant civilian, military, law enforcement, and private sector entities and updating the recommendations as the scenario evolves.

In Geneva, Switzerland, in partnership with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), students respond to a major cyber¬attack on European networks. Competitors will pro¬vide recommendations balancing individual national approaches and a collective crisis management re¬sponse, considering capabilities, policies, and gover¬nance structures of NATO, EU, and individual nations. The competition fosters a culture of cooperation and a better understanding of these organizations and their member states in responding to cyberattacks.

. . .as a competitor:

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.



. . .as a coach:

Each team must recruit a coach to assist in preparing for the competition. One coach can serve for sever¬al 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.

. . .as a judge:

Experts with significant policy and cybersecurity ex¬perience are invited to serve as judges. Judges eval-uate the student teams' oral presentations based on the quality of their policy responses, their deci-sion-making processes, and their presentation skills. Previous judges include practitioners from various sectors, such as government, international organiza¬tions, information and communications technology, finance, and the press.

. . .as an observer:

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

. . .as a sponsor:

The Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge is a unique oppor¬tunity for companies to support next-generation cy¬bersecurity education on both sides of the Atlantic and position themselves as innovative thought lead¬ers in the field. Depending on the level of sponsor¬ship, our partners receive great benefits including recruitment of top tech and policy talent; extensive advertisement in print and online; and keynote and judging opportunities for company representatives.
The Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge would not be possible without the invaluable support of our partners, and we welcome organizations and companies interested in training the next generation of cybersecurity professionals to join us in our mission. The Student Challenge presents a prime opportunity for our supporters to demonstrate thought leadership in a field of rapidly increasing significance, while actively engaging with top technical and policy talent from around the world. By hosting competitions in two major international policy hubs, our supporters are represented in two crucial markets and introduced to a skilled workforce on both sides of the Atlantic.

Our partners are also entitled to a series of additional structured benefits, designed to maximize the impact of their support. Sponsorship packages include:



Global Partnership Sponsor - $50,000
  • Co-branded award for the winning team;
  • Company video featured at the competition website;
  • A one-page program ad in the 2016 Atlantic Council Distinguished Leadership Awards, Washington's leading event bringing together an elite global audience of nearly 900 guests, including heads of state, ambassadors, members of Congress and the presidential administration, Supreme Court justices, military commanders, and global business leaders;
    And all benefits of lower levels.

Platinum Sponsor - $35,000
  • Provide company representative as a keynote speaker and judge;
  • Booth in competition venue, with recruiting and advertisement opportunities;
  • Recognition in the final report summarizing the competition's results;
And all benefits of lower levels.

Gold Sponsor - $20,000
  • A banner and other signage for display in the competition venue;
  • A half-page advertisement in program;
  • Video content played on a loop throughout the competition;
And all benefits of lower levels.

Silver Sponsor - $10,000
  • Company logo featured in all print and online competition materials; and
  • Competition bag insert - one piece of company literature distributed to all competitors, judges, coaches, and special guests.

For more information, please contact Ms. Anni Piiparinen, Program Assistant, Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or +1-202-778-4972.