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DOD Pioneers first-ever straetgic cyber course

Participants discuss policy and other items during a 2013 cyber workshop at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. The information used in this workshop and others served as some of the foundational material for the Program on Cyber Security Studies, with its first resident event booting up in December. (DOD Photo by Karlheinz Wedhorn/RELEASED)

by Jason Tudor
GCMC Public Affairs

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN , Germany (May 2, 2014) – Cyber policy, strategy development, Internet governance and a host of other top-level issues surrounding the cyber domain will get their own program at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies starting in December.

The creation of the new transnational program comes on the heels during a Cyber Community of Interest Workshop here May 5-8 that gathers 41 people from 36 countries, and feature 12 speakers. The cyber program, called the Program on Cyber Security Studies, accompanies seven other programs at the Marshall Center, four transnational, and three regional and one executive program.

“There’s no other program like this,” said Professor Philip Lark, the cyber program director. “There are dozens of programs dealing with cyber security on a tactical level or single topic focus. There’s simply nothing like this thorough program that addresses whole-of-government approaches for serving national officials on Internet policy, governance, security and more as we move forward into the 21st century.”

By some estimates, cyber crime costs international economies as much as $400 billion a year, $100 billion for the United States alone. Retired U.S. Army Gen. Keith Alexander, former head of U.S. Cyber Command, said losses in 2012 constituted “the greatest transfer of wealth in human history.”

Lark said that while places like NATO’s Center of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia; and commands like U.S. Cyber Command offer training in myriad areas, none of them offer a comprehensive approach at the strategic-level for cyber policy and strategy development, which is non-technical.  Further, there are few that have the international and global flavor like the PCSS will have, Lark said.

The community-of-interest event is bringing together defense, civilian and other cyber practitioners. Except in the United States, Lark said expertise in cyber is usually found outside of defense organizations. He said it was important to bring together like-minded partners in cyber security to share best practices and perspectives for the many of the debates that are happening.

Participation by civilian organizations in cyber security is important.  Discussing the importance of public-private partnership is essential for a safe and security cyber domain.  The Marshall Center, a German-American partnership, works closely with our partners, to help us frame the transnational cyber discussion for policy-makers and security officials. 

“Our civilian partners really know more than we do when it comes to the application of cyber security practices,” Lark said. “We want get as much as we can from this community of interest workshop and use the results to frame the priorities and content for the initial cyber resident course offering at the Marshall Center.”

Dr. Robert Brannon, dean of the College of International and Security Studies at the Marshall Center, said the cyber program is a big step forward into the transnational arena.

“There has been tremendous demand signal from all corners on this, so we’re really serving a need within our region and globally,” Brannon said. “We look forward to this program being one of the cornerstones of our engagement in the coming years.”

The Marshall Center is one of five Defense Department regional centers operated by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. With more than 10,000 alumni from 145 countries spanning its 21-year-history, the Marshall Center is a German-American partnership that sees between 600-800 resident participants each year, including defense, security and law enforcement officials.

Marshall Center programs are composed of resident, nonresident and alumni events. The center conducts about 300 events annually in conjunction with the Partnership for Peace Consortium operations staff located on the Marshall Center Campus.

For more about Marshall Center programs, visit the web site at www.marshallcenter.org. A podcast with Lark talking about the program and other issues in cyber can be dowloaded from iTunes or grabbed from the Defense Imagery and Video Distribution System. A 1-minute radio story is also available from DVIDS.