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 and strategy competition where students from across the globe compete in developing policy recommendations tackling a fictional cyber catastrophe.
For the 2019/20 competition season, the Strategy Challenge will take place in Canberra, Australia, on September 10-11, 2019; New York, New York, on November 8-9, 2019; Austin, Texas, in late January 2020; Lille, France, in early 2020; London, UK, in February 2020; and will culminate in the national competition in Washington, DC, in March 2020.
Read on below for further information and registration details for each location.
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Now in its eighth year, the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is a one-of-a-kind cyber competition designed to provide students from across academic disciplines with a deeper understanding of the policy and strategy challenges associated with management of tradeoffs during a cyber crisis. Part interactive learning experience and part competitive scenario exercise, it challenges students to respond to a realistic, evolving scenario of international cyber crisis, analyze the threat it poses to national, international, and private-sector interests, and provide recommendations on the best course of action to mitigate the crisis. Since its establishment in Washington, DC in 2012, the competition has expanded its reach globally, with regional competitions across the United States, as well as in London, Geneva, Canberra, and Lille.
Through the competition, students have the 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 universities in the United States, Europe, Indo-Pacific, and the Middle East. It also has received widespread social media attention, with the DC competition in both 2017 and 2018 receiving over 3.5 million impressions on Twitter. Through its unique crisis scenario format, mentorship, recruiting, and networking opportunities, the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge has expanded its global reach, will continue to build on its reputation as a pipeline for the next generation of cyber policymakers, and will continue to grow as a global community of multidisciplinary cybersecurity professionals.
Canberra, Australia | September 10-11, 2019
In partnership with the Institute for Regional Security the second edition of the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge in Australia, students will compose policy recommendations and justify their decision-making process, considering the roles and responsibilities of relevant civilian, military, law enforcement, and private sector organizations, and updating their recommendations as the scenario evolves.
New York, New York | November 8-9, 2019
In partnership with Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, students will tackle challenges like assessing the impact of a major cyber attack, thinking through attribution and national responsibility, and response options for the President and private sector.
Austin, Texas | January 2020
In partnership with the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin, students will respond to a fictional, evolving cyber scenario and will develop policy recommendations to a panel of senior judges while considering the legal, security and private sector implications.
Lille, France | early 2020
In partnership with the French Institute for Geopolitics (IFG) and the International Cybersecurity Forum (FIC), students will respond to a large scale cyber-attack on France during a major international event. Competitors will manage the tradeoffs that come with responding to a cyber crisis that poses challenges to state, military, and industry actors.
London, UK | February 2020
In partnership with the Royal United Services Institute and senior government and industry stakeholders, student teams will compete in the first UK cyber strategy and policy event of its kind. How do we best steer the UK through a large scale cyber crisis impacting businesses and critical services? Mixed discipline, creative teams will need to understand not just the technology and strategy challenge they are faced with but then also present potential solutions to senior government and industry decision makers on their options in the face of a cyber security crisis.
Washington, DC | March 2020
In partnership with Lockheed Martin, 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.
Geneva, Switzerland | Spring 2020
In partnership with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), students respond to a major cyber-attack on European networks. Competitors will provide recommendations balancing individual national approaches and a collective crisis management response, considering capabilities, policies, and governance 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 in the Student Track: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 little or no relevant professional experience related to cybersecurity, policy and strategy.
. . .as a competitor in the Professional Track: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.
. . .as a coach:Each team must recruit a coach to assist in preparing for the competition. One coach may 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.
. . .as a judge: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 organizations, 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 competition provides a unique opportunity for companies to support next-generation cybersecurity education and position themselves as innovative thought leaders in the field. Depending on the sponsorship level our partners receive great benefits including recruitment of top tech and policy talent; advertisement in print and online; promotional side events; and keynote and judging opportunities.
hire a skilled workforce from a diverse pool of 150+ students;
demonstrate thought leadership by fostering trust and understanding through building bridges between the tech and policy communities;
connect with leading and emerging experts in major international policy hubs;
cultivate multidisciplinary thinking in the next generation of cybersecurity professionals and policymakers, encouraging innovative solutions to one of the most challenging threats we face.