History proves that when disaster strikes, New Yorkers respond. Together with this attitude, and New York’s plethora of cyber expertise, New York City Cyber Command (NYC3) wishes to form a volunteer corps designed to supplement their capacity during ‘blue sky’ days and times of crisis. As such, the Capstone team was tasked to (1) study designs for a volunteer cyber corps and (2) articulate a maturity model for such volunteer programs.
The research focused on existing cyber and non-cyber volunteer corps, and their methods for the effective use of volunteers. This included analyzing the benefits of volunteers and legal obstacles challenging their participation. The methodology incorporated interviews with volunteers and experts from codified cyber volunteer programs such as those within Michigan, Ohio, and Estonia. Additionally, the team analyzed the operations of non-cyber models by evaluating the response of volunteer firefighters, the NY State COVID-19 SWAT team, and volunteers during Hurricane Sandy. Subsequently, the research found that successful volunteer models rely on providing a strong structure, planning, and properly allocating personnel. As guided by thier findings and the maturity model provided, the Capstone team's ecommendations focus on four key topics. First, NYC3 must define the scope of its volunteer corps. Second, a program structure ought to be created that incorporates dedicated management and a systematic approach to volunteer inclusion and selection. Third, a clear approach is needed for volunteer engagement and outreach. Finally, address remaining legal considerations that might hinder or prevent certain volunteer activity, such as during incident response.