NATO plans to expand cyber defence capabilities

Reports in early December have indicated that the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Norway, Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands are developing a concept for a more progressive approach against state-sponsored computer hackers, which could include retaliatory cyber attacks.

Cyberwar principles for NATO member national armed forces are expected to be drawn up by early 2019, and could shift the Alliance's approach from defensive to offensive against enemy computer networks. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg suggested the shift when he newly announced that the alliance intended to use the cyber capabilities of its members in missions and operations the same way it used their conventional combat means.

NATO's gradual pivot toward cyberspace began in 2008 by the establishment of the Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence, mandated to improve cooperation and sharing of information between participating states and the Alliance. Although cyberspace was given the status of the regular warfare domain in 2016, procedures and principles such as the threshold sufficient to trigger a retaliatory cyber response, and the specific form of such a measure have not yet been elaborated. The Alliance currently focuses on collaboration with the European Union on cyber exercises, with the most recent Cyber Coalition 17 training exercise having taken place in Tartu, Estonia, from 28 November to 1 December.

About author: Roman Šulc

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