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Foreign embassy professional benefits from Cyber Intelligence Initiative program at IWP

IWP’s Cyber Intelligence Initiative (Ci2) comprises a series of lectures and skill-building workshops that help individuals understand the relationship between cyberspace and intelligence, counterintelligence, and national security. An assistant defense and naval attaché at a foreign embassy, “Brian,”* is the first person to have completed the entire program.

Brian came to the program with a background in intelligence, but with less familiarity with the cyber realm. When asked about what he learned during the sessions, he remarked: “I learned a lot about threat intelligence and sources of intelligence. I was also exposed to how cyber capabilities have changed the nature of international conflicts – issues of sovereignty, intervention, etc.” He also highlighted learning about principles of cryptography, offensive countermeasures, the impact of cyber intelligence on national security, and the role of artificial intelligence as it applies to cyber strategy and national defense.

The program initially consisted of five full-day seminars, covering ten different subjects, but it shifted to a virtual environment when the pandemic halted in-person gatherings. Brian stated: “I am happy that IWP was able to be proactive and move the rest of the program online, which has afforded me the opportunity to finish the program.”

Another thing that stood out about the program was that “IWP was able to give us a very diverse array of subject matter experts in the various cyber intelligence areas.” For instance, being able to learn about cyber intelligence from the director of AI at the State Department allowed him to gain a practical perspective on the skills he was learning.

Brian is planning to use the skills he learned from the seminars in his professional career. Now that he is armed with the right tools, he hopes to have the opportunity to strengthen the cybersecurity and critical infrastructure of his home country. He commented, “But even personally, the knowledge is going to be useful to me, even after my career.”

When asked about what he would tell other professionals who consider enrolling in Cyber Intelligence Initiative courses, he replied: “I would really encourage them to do it.” He emphasized that networks and cyber have become increasingly important for organizations during the pandemic. Organizations that successfully moved their operations to virtual platforms when everything rapidly transitioned online were able to thrive. He noted: “If there were no experts in cyber intelligence, it could have been very difficult for most governments, organizations, and officials to carry on doing their business safely and securely.” The importance of cyber skills has become impossible to ignore in this day and age.

These skills won’t become irrelevant after the pandemic. Brian stated: “With technology developments and AI, I think it’s an area that will continue to grow, and there is a lot more to learn. I’m glad IWP has such a program. I would recommend it to anybody, any day.”

*Name changed for security purposes.

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