By Lt. Col. Mark Visger
Department of Law Assistant Professor
AUSTIN, TX -- The West Point Cyber Policy Team won both first and second place out of 19 teams competing in the Atlantic Council's Cyber 9/12 Student Strategy Challenge at the University of Texas at Austin Law School Jan. 16-17.
Representing six different academic departments-electrical engineering and computer science, social sciences, foreign languages, law, military instruction and math-cadets participated in this cyber policy and strategy-focused competition where they were presented with a scenario involving a cyberattack on critical infrastructure.
Teams drafted a policy recommendation paper and then presented their recommendations to a notional National Security Council, who also answered their questions. Over the course of the event, team members developed updated recommendations as they receive new information.
"Winning in Austin felt great because when our name was announced, we knew that all of our hard work had paid off," Class of 2022 Cadet Reese Warns said about his experience. "In that moment, all of the exhaustion from staying up until 3 a.m. for two nights straight paid off and was replaced by happiness and pride."
The event required a multidisciplinary team with demonstrated mastery in their knowledge of cybersecurity policy, U.S. and international security considerations, cyber law and relevant cyber incident response frameworks in front of numerous expert judging panels. The Cyber Policy Team has enjoyed much success, winning both the Australian and European Cyber 9/12 competitions for two years in a row.
"I enjoyed collaborating with my team, Black Jacks, and learning something new from each member whenever we shared our research and recommendations" Class of 2022 Cadet Chloe Tran said. "We all chose different academic majors and backgrounds, but we were able to play to each other's strengths to deliver three successful presentations.
"(I) enjoyed the competitive environment that truly forced (my) group ... to consider the most applicable policy options, legal proceedings and consequences that ranged from domestic to international issues," Tran added.
Team Black Jacks, consisting of Class of 2020 Cadet Nicholas Cunningham and Class of 2022 Cadets Finnian Valle, Amir Udler and Tran, took first place in the competition. Team Black Knights, consisting of Class of 2020 Cadets Woo Chul Kim and William Moorhead, Class of 2021 Cadet Marcus Redman and Warns, placed second.
The Army Cyber Institute at West Point's Lt. Col. Mark Visger and Erica Borghard, Ph.D., served as coaches during this competition. Maj. Erik Korn and Maj. Austin Minter, both of ACI, and SOSH Instructor Capt. Sarah White also served as team faculty advisors.