A case study to the French approach. 

 

This thesis investigates how the French administration applies Public Private Partnership (PPP) as a policy option in their National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS), in particular the defense of Critical Infrastructures such as the High Voltage Grid.

 

In light of recent developments, where state actors and their proxies have developed offensive cyber strategies and digital weapons to enable their geopolitical ambition, the CI of other nations has become a potential target for these actors. Recent attacks on the power system in Ukraine have demonstrated that certain nations have already executed cyber-attacks on Critical Infrastructure. CIs such as electricity, telecommunication and the water supply have been State owned and therefore the protection of these infrastructures was directly under the “command and control” of the state. Due to the neoliberal economical views of the last decades, most of these CI’s are nowadays privatised. Traditionally the “raison d’ être” for Nation States is to guarantee the security of the society, hence National Security. To regain control on the digital integrity of the CI’s in their countries, public leaders are using different instruments. In the majority of NCSS’s, the instrument of PPP is incorporated in the framework. However, the majority of scientific literature on the phenomenon of PPP in National Security is describes research on Anglo-Saxon cases.

 

To enrich the “body of knowledge” this thesis investigates the French praxis as a case study. The conclusion of this research is that the concept of PPP has no role in the French NCSS framework. The relation between the French State and the private CI operators is best described by a French Director General as “a mariage forcé” (forced marriage).

 

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