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Duke Team Wins National Cyber Policy Competition

January 15, 2021

By Marc Losito MPP'22 and Kim Kotlar

Four Sanford School of Public Policy students recently won a major cyber policy competition.

Gia DeHart, Jon Liu, Marc Losito and Zach Sanna, members of Duke Cyber, won the Atlantic Council’s Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge on Jan. 8. Each member is also affiliated with the Sanford School’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) concentration in technology policy.

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    A Winning Team

    Jon Liu (top left), Marc Losito (top right) and Zach Sanna (bottom left), members of Duke Cyberwon the Atlantic Council’s Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge on Jan. 8. Also pictured: Kim Kotlar, a retired Cryptologic Naval Officer, retired National Security Agency Executive, and former Senior Congressional Staff Member.  She has mentored the student-led Duke Cyber organization since its inception three years ago.

Teaming up as the Arrows of Artemis, the students tackled the cyber competition head on. The Atlantic Council Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is an annual cyber policy and strategy competition in which students from across the globe compete in developing policy recommendations, tackling a fictional cyber catastrophe. The event curates a three-round cyber crisis scenario, each developing upon the last, with far-reaching implications on national security, international law, economics and politics. The 2021 competition tested the policy chops of ambitious students from renowned universities and institutes. The judges, playing the role of the National Security Council, included some of the most respected and high-level cyber professionals in the field. 

“My favorite thing about our team is that we all have a growth mindset. We are happy to accept and incorporate feedback,” said Zach Sanna, MPP’22.

The Arrows of Artemis prepared extensively for the competition. Losito and DeHart came from extensive military backgrounds, sharpened by national security and foreign policy experience. Liu hailed from the Peace Corps with in-depth knowledge of international development and economics. Sanna, previously with Teach for America, brought a wealth of domestic policy and legal knowledge.

“The competition rewards teamwork, written and oral skills and a wide range of policy knowledge. These are the intangibles we are going to need as policymakers in the future," said Marc Losito, MPP’22.

Seeing Duke receive first place in a global policy competition has been the highlight of our Sanford experience thus far, he added. 

In 2019, Sanford School of Public Policy offered Duke’s first course in Cybersecurity Policy and has built on that by enriching student academic experiences by hosting talks by nationally recognized cyber speakers and hosting the first Duke Cyber Cup policy competition in 2020.

“Cyber continues to be a cross-cutting discipline with broad national security implications.  I’m so pleased that Duke University is adding technical and policy courses to engage students and that Sanford, Pratt, and Duke’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) leaders continue to support Duke Cyber – a student-led organization with nearly 500 students,”  said Kim Kotlar, Duke Cyber mentor and coach.

Read the Cyber Blog to learn more about their competition experience: https://ags.duke.edu/2021/01/15/duke-team-wins-national-cyber-policy-competition/.

JOIN DUKE CYBERhttps://ags.duke.edu/engage/cyber-team/

Marc Losito is a first-year MPP candidate at Duke University, Sanford School of Public Policy and an active duty U.S. Army Warrant Officer, focusing on the intersection of technology and national security. The views expressed in the article are his alone and do not represent Duke University, the Sanford School of Public Policy, nor the U.S. Army.

Kim Kotlar is a retired Cryptologic Naval Officer, retired National Security Agency Executive, and former Senior Congressional Staff Member.  She  participated in the development of Sanford’s first Cybersecurity Policy Course and has mentored the student-led Duke Cyber organization since its inception three years ago.