March 21, 2019

On March 21-22, 2019, the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative hosted its seventh annual DC Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge. United States Air Force Academy’s team, “Delogrand,” winning first place in the Student Track and National Defense University College of Information and Cyberspace’s team, “NDU Team 3,” winning first place in the Professional Track. Grand prize for both teams was tickets, flights and lodging to the eighth International Conference on Cyber Engagement on April 23 in Washington, DC. “MIISattribution 2.0” of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterrey and “NDU Team 4” of National Defense University took second place in the Student and Professional tracks, respectively.

The 2019 DC Strategy Challenge was the largest yet, attracting thirty student teams and sixteen professional teams from sixteen states across the US. These teams, comprised of students from a wide array of academic disciplines, confronted a fictional cyber incident across three rounds of the competition involving a nation-state actor’s attempts to degrade trust in the US 2020 Census. It was also the first Strategy Challenge to implement the two-track structure: a student track and a professional track for student competitors. The professional track was designed for midcareer professionals and enabled more fair and intense competition across both tracks.

The Challenge also connected a diverse group of multidisciplinary students with seasoned cybersecurity and policy professionals, building bridges between the government and private sector, and addressing the US’s cyber skills shortage. Side events, such as an industry professionals networking session and two receptions, provided student competitors with the opportunity to learn from and connect with tech and policy leaders.

Mr. Christopher Krebs, Director of the new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the US Department of Homeland Security capped off the first day of competition with a stirring keynote at the evening reception hosted by Baker & McKenzie LLP’s offices in downtown Washington, DC. His keynote also included an unexpected—yet welcome—announcement of temporary job offers to competition finalists. Additional speakers included Maj. Gen. Jim Keffer, USAF (Ret.) of Lockheed Martin; Mr. John Costello, Senior Adviser to the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency at the US Department of Homeland Security; Mr. Christopher Porter, Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council's Cyber Statecraft Initiative and Chief Intelligence Strategist at FireEye; Ms. Madeline Mortelmans, Principal Director for Cyber Policy in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy from the Department of Defense; CDR Pat Staub, USN of US Cyber Command; and more.

Lockheed Martin Corporation graciously hosted the competition at its Global Vision Center in Arlington, VA. The competition was also made possible through the generous support of DELL and NATO Public Diplomacy Division.

The competition was preceded by the second annual Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge in London on February 11-12, the first-ever Strategy Challenge in Lille, France, on January 22-23 and an additional Strategy Challenge in Austin, Texas, on January 10-11. Following the event in Washington, DC, the Strategy Challenge will move on to Geneva, Switzerland at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, on April 25-26.

Visit http://atlanticcouncil.org/cyber912 for more information on the upcoming competitions.