2019 - NATO IN THE CYBER AGE: STRENGTHENING SECURITY AND DEFENCE, STABILISING DETERRENCE

Susan Davis (United States)

30 April 2019

As every sphere of human society is becoming increasingly more connected, cyber threats are skyrocketing. Networks owned and operated by NATO suffer hundreds of cyber incidents every month, and intrusions into crucial networks in Allied nations are rising dramatically. As a result, NATO and the NATO PA are considering cyber security, defence, and deterrence as a matter of urgency. At the 2018 NATO Summit in Brussels, Allied leaders once again committed to reaffirm NATO’s defensive mandate and employ its “full range of capabilities - including cyber - to deter, defend against, and counter the full spectrum of cyber threats”. 

This draft report focuses on the cyber threats going to the core of NATO’s raison d’être: cyber attacks threatening an Ally’s territorial integrity, political independence, or national security which could lead Allies to invoke NATO’s collective defence clause under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. The draft report:

-    provides context for the cyber threat facing the Alliance; 
-    outlines key elements of NATO’s current cyber policies and activities; and
-    addresses crucial questions on how to stabilise cyber deterrence.

NATO is strengthening cyber security and defence along all dimensions, and deterrence remains reasonably stable when it comes to cyber attacks that could threaten an Ally’s territorial integrity, political independence, or national security. However, many questions remain, and the progress achieved thus far should not lead to complacency. 

This draft report will be presented during the 2019 NATO PA Spring Session in Bratislava, Slovakia.