French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian reviews the troops of L'Ecole des Transmissions in Cesson-Sevigne, western France, where he presented the 'Cyber Defense 2014-2016' pact on Feb. 7, which includes plans to invest in cyber defenses. The Ministry of Defense has now announced it will train cyber experts to protect the military. (Thomas Bregardis / AFP)
PARIS — Unable to compete with private firms as it looks to hire cybersecurity experts, France’s Ministry of Defense will set up a course to train its own experts to protect the French military.
The first intake of between 15 and 25 students will start a one-year, specialized master’s degree in Cyber Crisis Management in 2015 at France’s military academy at Saint-Cyr in Brittany, an official said.
“We don’t have enough cyber people, private companies and ministries are taking the talent and we have to train,” said Lt. Col. Stéphane Dossé, a computer security officer at France’s Joint Defense Staff.
Dossé, speaking at a cybersecurity conference organized here at the Eurosatory exhibition, said the French military had hitherto limited itself to courses lasting a few weeks.
The course will be split into six months study followed by six months placement at a branch of the armed forces, Dossé said. The first students will be military, but civilians could also be accepted, he said.
The initiative was launched by France’s 2013 defense white paper, he added.
Dossé said that last year there were 800 incidents of irregular cyber activity concerning the French armed forces.
Daniel Dresner, a UK-based cyber consultant and academic, told the conference on Wednesday that the shortage of qualified cyber experts was so great that there are 1,000 hackers operating for every one cybersecurity professional. ■