Addressing Cyberwar With Specially Trained Officers

Tactical response to cyberwar is an integral part of the training of young officers. Eric Ghérardi, Director responsible for partnerships at the Directorate General for Education and Research of the Écoles de St-Cyr Coëtquidan, briefed us on this topic.

“The issue of cyber conflicts is handled by several actors in the French sectors of defense and security. Nevertheless, there is a specific risk concerning the armed forces, down to the tactical ground level,” argues Eric Ghérardi. “For this reason, training for cyber-tactics and cyber-crises management is indispensable”.

New threats, new jobs

The concept of cyberwars calls for officers with strong computing skills. One needs to be able to count on high-ranking officers trained to manage cyber-crises and capable of taking crucial decisions, such as whether to disconnect contaminated infrastructures, to keep the aircrafts on the ground, or to block the equipment: all potential strategic decisions that must be taken in the event of cyberconflicts. The training of officers coming from different forces is performed at the Écoles de St-Cyr Coëtquidan. A specialized master program was started in 2015. “All participating officers receive a basic training that allows them to identify and prevent attacks and avoid risky behaviors,” explains Eric Ghérardi. Around a third of the participants in the engineering curriculum at Saint-Cyr later receives a cyber-training including coding, that enables them to encrypt and decrypt information (particularly stenography), and understanding how a virus works.

New career opportunities?

These profiles are ready to be deployed in a context of cyberwar, especially in the field of communications. They are integrated in a dedicated regiment, and could also be deployed in certain civilian administrations with defense perspectives, such as the National Cybersecurity Agency or the French Ministry of Interior.

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