Air University cyber team places in Geneva competition

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --   

A team of Air University cyber students placed second in the European leg of the 2017 “Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge” competition co-hosted by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and the Atlantic Council.

Team “Keep Calm and Cyber On” was pitted against 23 teams from Europe, Asia and North America in the two-day competition in Geneva, April 20-21.

Team “STUXNET” from the Geneva School of Diplomacy were the winners, with the AU team missing the top spot by .2 points.

In its third year, the competition for university students challenges their ability to tackle a simulated cyber incident. This year’s challenge circled around an evolving ransomware event and its impact on healthcare systems across several nations. Teams were measured on their ability to respond to ever-changing situations and give strategic policy recommendations for government leaders and senior officials.

The “Keep Calm and Cyber On” team was comprised of Air University students taking the Air Force Cyber College elective “Essentials of Cyber Strategy.”

The team of Air War College and Air Command and Staff College students were Wing Commander Matthew Phipps (ACSC, United Kingdom), team captain; Lt. Col. Boudewijn Roddenhof (AWC, Netherlands); Maj. Bjoern Kveli (ACSC, Norway); and Maj. David McLeod (ACSC, Canada).

Group Captain Shaun Harvey (UK), elective instructor at AWC, served as the team coach, and Dr. Pano Yannakogeorgos, dean of Air Force Cyber College, was an invited judge.

The team’s performance against their peers across an international academic landscape validates Cyber College’s curriculum in producing strategists who “can evaluate what senior leaders must be able to do in and through cyberspace to support national security objectives,” said Yannakogeorgos.

“Air University’s victory demonstrates that what we’re producing are leaders who are capable of investigating the interrelationships of policy, technology and strategic cyber issues within the context of broader national security interests,” he said.

Last year, two AU cyber teams brought home honors from the Atlantic Council’s U.S. Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge, held in Washington, D.C. One team won the overall competition and the other team won the “Most Creative Cyber Policy Solution Award.”