How to Operationalise a Transatlantic Cyber Policy Research Initiative (TCPRI)



Three years after the European Union and the United States agreed on the launch of the Transatlantic Cyber Policy Research Initiative (TCPRI) as a key component for EU-US cooperation on cybersecurity policy, the provisions still remain largely theoretical. Taking up the idea for implementation, this paper considers current challenges and identifies why the TCPRI initiative is so relevant today. Additionally, it proposes how the TCPRI could be implemented, considering institutional setup, working methods and its relationship to policy-makers. Furthermore, this paper examines how the TCPRI’s effectiveness could be augmented by a transatlantic strategy on cybersecurity policy research that applies elements of science diplomacy. Finally, it suggests ways the TCPRI could complement the existing ecosystem of cybersecurity policy research initiatives.

Key points

  • The TCPRI’s main objectives must be to foster research on cyber policy to tackle challenges of a constantly emerging threat landscape, study and analyse different cyber policy approaches in the US and EU to comparatively study the effect of differing cyber policy approaches to achieve cybersecurity and finally strengthen the capacity of stakeholders, such as civil society organisations, academia and think tanks, to work on cyber policy together across the Atlantic.
  • Even though the TCPRI was mainly imagined as a research initiative for civil society, academia and think tanks, it should be inclusive for other stakeholders. When looking at some of the example cyber policy challenges (e.g. attribution, protection of critical infrastructure,) policy questions emerge and the data and information needed to answer them cannot be tackled solely by think tanks, civil society and academic institutions because key information can only be found in government and the private sector. The institutional setup therefore needs to create access to information held by those stakeholders.
  • The TCPRI’s working method proposed in the paper aims to reveal policy options for diplomats that are scientifically informed.
  • Building a common transatlantic strategy on cybersecurity policy research building on EU and US science diplomacy strategies could assist the TCPRI by making sure that the research, and the network itself, is used to its full potential.
  • TCPRI should strengthen the ecosystem of already existing transatlantic cybersecurity initiatives. There is a number of organisations and people that have specialised on cyber diplomacy themes that EU-US diplomats deem important to tackle. The TCPRI should add to the ecosystem and provide some form of overarching connection with the purpose of specifically informing diplomatic efforts.

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