This week during the Cyber
Stoltenberg declared that NATO is pushing limits of what the alliance can do in cyberspace adopting a more aggressive approach on cyber offensive.
The Secretary General confirmed that the alliance will not limit its operation to defense in case of a cyber attack.
“We are not limited to respond in cyberspace when we are attacked in cyberspace.” said Stoltenberg,
“NATO allies have already “agreed to integrate national cyber capabilities or offensive cyber into Alliance operations and missions.”
The Secretary General explained that cyber-attacks can be as damaging as conventional attacks. A cyber attack can cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage to our economies, paralyse critical infrastructure, undermine democracies.
Unfortunately, cyber attacks are becoming more frequent, more complex and more destructive.
“NATO is not immune. We register suspicious events against NATO cyber systems every day. And cyber threats will become more dangerous with the development of new technologies. Such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep fakes.” said Stoltenberg.
“These technologies are fundamentally changing the nature of warfare. As much as the industrial revolution did. NATO is adapting to this new reality.”
Since 2016 NATO members agreed that a cyber attack against one of them could trigger a military response under Article 5.
NATO is born as a defensive alliance, meanwhile, now it is changing its posture on a more aggressive approach. A response under Article 5, could be prepared in many different ways and in different warfare domains.
“And at our Summit in Brussels last year, we agreed to establish a Cyberspace Operations Centre. At the heart of our military command structure.” continues the Secretary General. “And we have agreed to integrate national cyber capabilities or offensive cyber into Alliance operations and missions. All of this has made NATO more effective in cyberspace.”
The Alliance is currently building a cyber command that will be fully operational in 2023, the command will coordinate and conduct all offensive cyber operations of the alliance. Until then, likely NATO will rely on its Allies for offensive operations, the thought is for the US Cyber Command.
Let me suggest reading remarks by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Cyber Defence Pledge Conference, London, it is avery interesting discussion that includes responses to the attendees.