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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. In 2019, the Strategy Challenge will take place in Austin, Texas on January 10-11, Lille, France on January 22-23; London, UK on February 11-12; Washington, DC on March 21-22; Geneva, Switzerland on April 25-26; and Sydney, Australia in October.

Read on below for further information and registration details for each location.

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Now entering its sixth year, the Cyber 9/12 Strategy 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 1,100 students from universities in the United States, United Kingdom, France, United Arab Emirates, Poland, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Sweden, Finland, and Estonia.


Austin, Texas | January 10-11

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.

Learn more about the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge in Austin, TX.


Lille, France | January 22-23

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.

Learn more about the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge in Lille, France.


London, UK | February 11-12

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.

Learn more about the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge in London, UK.


Washington, DC | March 21-22

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.

Register for Washington, DC.


Geneva, Switzerland | April 25-26

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.

Stay tuned for registration details for Geneva.


Sydney, Australia | October 2019

In partnership with the University of Sydney and Sydney Cyber Security Network students will participate in the first event of its kind in the Indo-Pacific region by responding to a major cyber-attack of national and international importance. Teams 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.

Stay tuned for final dates and registration information for Sydney.

. . .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.

READ THE BROCHURE

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. . .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.
 
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The Student Challenge presents a prime opportunity for companies to engage with top policy and technical talent from around the world. With its numerous recruiting events, marketing opportunities, and speaking slots, the competition allows organizations to

  • 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.

For more information on partnership opportunities, download the brochure or contact Ms. Klara Jordan, Director, Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or +1-202-864-2824.

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