April 19, 2022

GSCC Students Place Second in Atlantic Council Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge

Congratulations, once again, to our students from the MS in Global Security, Conflict, and Cybercrime program who competed in the prestigious Atlantic Council Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge, and placed second among 40 global teams.

Cyber 9/12 is a virtual event, which took place on March 25 - 26, and was hosted by the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs. This is an annual cyber policy and strategy competition in which students from around the world compete in a crisis-simulation meets war-gaming exercise.

The CGA team, known as APT2785 aka PURPLE APPLE, included Shagun Nayar, Chad Shroy, Louie Reckford, and Alastair Whitehead. The participants were given intelligence regarding a fictional ongoing, international cyber crisis and were tasked with analyzing the threat and advising the National Security Council on the best course of action to mitigate the crisis.

Dr. Pano Yannakogeorgos, clinical associate professor and program director of MSGSCC, along with his colleagues advised the CGA team. Dr. Yannakogeorgos said: “We are proud of our students taking the time to work diligently and professionally as a team to represent CGA and our cyber program to judges who came from the highest levels of academia, business, and government.”

Yannakogeorgos added, “The GSCC is only entering its third year, and our students are now top performers in this competition. This should build confidence in our current students that our curriculum is preparing them for the workforce, and signal to prospective students that the GSCC program is being validated as not only unique in its approach, but as one of the top programs in the nation. Further, potential employers will recognize that we are developing the talent needed to fill gaps in the policy and strategy cyber workforce.”

In a statement to the School of Professional Studies, the members of the team said: “Cyber 9/12 gave us the opportunity to apply our classroom learning to a real-world scenario. We were bound by time constraints that created a life-like sense of urgency to solve the hypothetical cyber crisis facing the nation. Ultimately, we presented the NSC with an executable and comprehensive range of immediate and long-term responses.”

“The issues we considered included: securing national interests, critical infrastructures and key resources, the role of the private sector and public-private partnerships, communications, congressional response, equities with allies, and software supply chain matters. As students, it is reassuring that what we learn in the classroom setting is the type of skills and frameworks of thinking that will be useful in our professional careers.”

The team met regularly in the weeks leading up to the competition, white-boarding policy ideas, writing up decision documents, and creating presentations. In the semifinals, the CGA students competed with teams from Harvard, Cornell, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Tel Aviv University, Columbia, and the United States Naval Academy, among others. 

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