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Cyberdefense: EPITA joins forces with the National Defense by signing a Charter with the National Guard

On Monday, March 18, EPITA went to the Hotel de Brienne (Paris 7th district) to sign a commitment charter with the National Guard. Already involved in national defense operations in collaboration with the civilian and operational reserve corps, the school reinforces its partnerships with the ministry of the Armed Forces confirming its expertise in the field of cyber security.

A relevant deed

Many people were gathered in the reception hall of Hôtel de Brienne, which houses the offices of the French Armed Forces Ministry. In addition to Geneviève Darrieussecq, Secretary of State to the Minister of the Armed Forces and General Anne Fougerat, Secretary General of the National Guard, there was Antoine Frérot, CEO of VéoliaAntoine Bouvier, CEO of MBDAStéphane Mayer, CEO of NexterJean-François Vaquieri, head of regulations and legal affairs at EnedisThierry Trouvé, managing director of GRTGaz and Joël Courtois, managing director of EPITA. They had come to officially sign an agreement allowing more people to show their commitment to the State, while studying or working. “For the National Guard, these agreements are important because they show the commitment of company heads and managing directors of higher education establishments to their employees and students in support of the military reserve policy in its entirety – i.e. for the benefit of its nine components including cyber defense”, explains Anne Fougerat. This last component obviously concerns EPITA, but not only, because the school must, without a doubt, have students who will have a range of different skills in other sectors in the future! ”

Geneviève Darrieussecq

Anne Fougerat

Reconfirmed commitment

For Joël Courtois, it was perfectly natural that EPITA play a role alongside major French companies, following the rapprochement on January 24, 2019 between the Conférence des Grandes Écoles (CGE) and the National Guard, through a partnership designed to enhance and strengthen civilian commitment. “For many years, EPITA has been engaged in cyber defense activities, particularly thanks to the partnership that resulted from the 2016 launch of the Cyber Defense reserve with admiral Arnaud Coustillière. Since then, each year we suggest that our students join the reserve by promoting this commitment internally. This new partnership, following the recent signing of the framework agreement between the CGE and the National Guard, allows EPITA to become the first engineering school to formalize this commitment. This is proof that we are reactive and know how to seize the best opportunities for our students as soon as they arise.”

This partnership will allow EPITA to strengthen its collaboration with the Ministry of the Armed Forces in the field of cyber defense, encourage students and teachers to participate in cyber reserve operations and more significantly highlight this approach in its academic programs, as EPITA is officially a partner of the National Defense. “Up until now, our cyber defense efforts within the school were mainly carried out by the students majoring in Systems, Networks and Security (SRS),said Joël courteous. Now, thanks to this convention with the National Guard, we will be able to communicate more extensively with all of our students, as others may also be interested.”

Joël Courtois, lors de la signature

Engineer reservists

In light of this fact, it will soon be common to see new EPITA students take part in the National Guard’s activities during their engineering studies. Created in 2016, the new National Guard allows men and women to volunteer for the operational reserve in order to help protect the French population, with nearly 76,000 operational reservists of the armed forces to date (mainly land, air, sea and gendarmerie) and internal security forces.

Attending the event, Severine Dinghem, squadron leader in the mobile gendarmerie reserve corps and employed by Veolia, feels that an engineering school is crucial in this organization. “I feel that it is very important for a school like EPITA to show its commitment by signing this agreement. Moreover, on a personal note, I realized that this was my calling during my studies, at a time in life when we often ask ourselves many questions about our professional future: I joined the reserve in 2001 when I was quite young. At the time, I was studying at an engineering school – Polytechnique -, a military school. I therefore completed my national service. This was how I discovered the National Gendarmerie. I really enjoyed it and was able to experience an entirely different world.  It taught me how to manage and view human relations at work. After I graduated, I wanted to continue with the Gendarmerie, while working in my civilian career. This gave me the opportunity to provide policing services, travel throughout France, and then command a platoon, followed by a squadron in the Mobile Gendarmerie. Today, it has allowed me to offer backup for various operational activities in the Yvelines forces.”

For this professional, being a reservist can lead to fabulous experiences. “Being part of the reserve has allowed me to find rather pragmatic solutions thanks to operations in the field, bringing hands-on experience in supervision and management – rather than simply theoretical –, in a highly operational framework, with a focus on public and civilian service. I feel like I am useful to others, while learning and working with people who are very different from me. It is very rewarding.”

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