International DSC Summer School: a successful first session

From July 6th to 10th, 2015, The International DSC (Defense Security Cyber) Summer School was held at the University of Bordeaux, the first of its kind in France. Created by Sébastien-Yves Laurent, a professor at the University of Bordeaux, DSC brought together 27 expert speakers and some forty attendees. A huge success for its first session.

Rencontre avec Sir David Omand, ancien directeur des renseignements britannique Security concerns have become increasingly important on a global scale, but no summer school in France addresses the subject. By organizing DSC, the first summer school centering on defense, security, and cyber-digital tech sectors, Sébastien-Yves Laurent enabled the university to gain a new form of expertise.

Organized by the Forum Montesquieu and supported by IdEx Bordeaux as part of the international summer school program and by partner-sponsors – the competitiveness cluster "Alpha – Route des lasers ", Airbus Defence & Space and Thales – DSC attracted forty professionals and students for its first session. Over five days, the attendees gained new knowledge and insight from the expertise and experience of the 27 speakers (professionals from the private sector, government  agencies, and academia)and exchanged ideas with them. The multi-disciplinary and innovation-centered course enabled them to learn transversally about current problems in global security.

This year, particular attention was paid to robots, drones and independent lethal arms systems. But the week's two high points were the opening conference "Democracies facing new global threats" given by Sir David Omand (see interview below), former director of Government Communication Headquarters and security and intelligence advisor to Prime Minister Tony Blair and the visit to the 118 military airbase at Mont-de-Marsan where Mirage 2000 and Rafale aircraft are stationed.

From organizers and partners-sponsors, to speakers and participants, everyone's opinion was that DSC met with their expectations. It was an undeniable success which calls for future sessions.

3 questions for Sir David Omand on questions of intelligence.

Sir David Omand is the former director of Government Communication Headquarters and security and intelligence advisor to Prime Minister Tony Blair.

What is your view of how the treatment of intelligence questions and external relations is handled in France?
Currently, we're observing a large change: the new proposed intelligence legislation. This is a major step, and a valuable one for your country which is part of a large movement in Europe aimed at coordinating legal frameworks around intelligence. I think that the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg would see no problem in approving that legislation. Compared with other countries, France is still at an early stage; other discussions will come.

How can the summer school help clarify these questions?
The paradox of the intelligence community is that it's not very interested in itself, in its own history. A summer school on issues of defense and security in a university setting; it is a great opportunity for players in this environment  to discuss their profession, their common history and their values.

What advice would you give to a student who would like to pursue this career path?
I never give advice. The last thing we need is people following it! Seriously though, I would say that it's essential that each person understands that we are living through a veritable digital revolution. It's the largest revolution since Gutenberg - it's going to completely change the world as we know it, including in the realms of crime, politics, etc. And we are only at the beginning of it. Future generations are going to have to be built upon an understanding of all these changes.

Moreover, today's students need to develop a strong sense of ethics, whether it be in the world of business, espionage and intelligence, etc. Much more than for the generations before them, this ethical imperative will become indispensable.

Defense Security Cyber is supported under IdEx's international summer schools program at the University of Bordeaux. This program is a major asset for spreading the expertise found on campus to an international audience. It's therefore a symbolic IdEx Bordeaux action whose objective is to consolidate an internationally competitive multi-disciplinary university that its fully integrated into the city.

The DSC summer school is also organized by the Montesquieu Forum, a center of societal innovation aiming to create a new platform for research, education and teaching in the fields of law and political science.