Photo: CSIS


On March 26 - 27, 2015, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Strategic Technologies Program held its first-ever cyber policy hackathon. The event, Cyber DiploHack 2015, took place at CSIS headquarters.Created with the support of the Embassy of the Netherlands and the Dutch Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs, Cyber DiploHack 2015 will identified ways to bring principles into practice for cooperation and capacity building in cyberspace.

Six teams drawn from universities in the United States and Europe participated in an intensive, scenario-based policy hackathon to develop new approaches to cyber security and cyber capacity building. With facilitation from CSIS and outside experts, teams will applied creative ideation processes commonly used in technology design to solve a cybersecurity policy challenge. Cyber DiploHack featured cutting-edge technology to enhance collaboration between international teams, facilitators, and judges.Scenario and background materials were based on a realistic national-level incident. Each team was asked to devise a reaction to the incident, as well as recommendations for how to build cyber capacity in the victim nation and in other developing countries to reduce the chance of future incidents. 

Day One was the hacking portion of the hackathon.  Facilitators guided teams through an ideation exercise to develop and refine new approaches to solving the challenge. On Day Two, teams briefed policy options to a panel of judges who assessed the recommendations using an interactive evaluation process. U.S. and European teams worked simultaneously using video-teleconferencing to facilitate a persistent virtual presence and collaboration between teams.

The resulting concepts and ideas served as input for the Global Conference on Cyberspace organized April 16-17 in The Hague.


2015 Winners 

A panel of five expert judges and audience participants determined the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) team's presentation to have best fulfilled six evaluation criteria (novelty, sustainability, acceptance, positive externalities, and scalability.)  As the winner of Cyber DiploHack, the UMUC team will travel to The Hague for the Global Conference on Cyberspace on April 16-17, where they participated in another hackathon, GCCS Unplugged. 

CSIS also recognized winners in two other categories:  “Best in National Strategy” and “Best in Cyber Capacity Building”.

Best in National Strategy went to the team from Chaire Castex de Cyberstratégie at Université de Paris and Best in Cyber Capacity Building went to the team from the George Washington University. 



Introduction of Cyber DiploHack rules and scenario

9:00 am

Policy ideation exercise begins

10:00 am

Teams work through the day to produce policy options and presentations 

Wrap-up and end of Day One

3:00 pm


Welcome from CSIS and the Royal Netherlands Embassy

9:00 am

Introduction of panel of expert judges, goals, rules, and evaluation process

9:05 am

Belisario Contreras, Cybersecurity Program Manager, Organization of American States

Cheri McGuire, Vice President, Global Government Affairs, Cybersecurity, Symantec

Thomas Dukes, Deputy Coordinator for Cyber Issues, U.S. Department of State

Angela McKay, Director, Cybersecurity Strategy and Diplomacy, Microsoft

Jordana Siegel, Director, International Strategic Affairs, Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, Department of Homeland Security

Student teams present recommendations to the expert panel, 8 minutes each.

9:15 am

Judges respond with a 8-minute Q&A session

Judges deliberate to select a winner

11:15 am
11:30 am

Judges discuss team presentations, their takeaways, and announce the winning teams and present awards

Closing keynote addresses

12:00 pm

Christopher Painter, Coordinator for Cyber Issues, U.S. Department of State

Neil Klopfenstein, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism, Organization of American States 

Remote Visualization