NATO Warsaw Summit: Cyber Security and The Definition of Cyber as a New Domain

By Jack Young, Third Year Undergraduate, Politics and International Relations

At the NATO summit held in Warsaw during the 8th – 9th of July, it was expected that cyber security would be a widely addressed issue. Indeed, the summit highlighted the importance of ‘cyber’ as a domain, and how great the threat to security cyber issues pose, declaring it an independent domain: “NATO must defend itself as effectively as it does in the air, on land, and at sea.” The summit saw the approval of the ‘cyber defence pledge’, meaning allies will facilitate “…co-operation on cyber defence including through multinational projects, education, training, and exercises and information exchange”. Approval of the pledge means that allies will work together on a number of issues to improve the future of cyber security.

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Source: EEAS

The development and deepening of the transatlantic relationship between the United States and the European Union in this area was also addressed during the summit. It was suggested that security can be maximised if done cooperatively. Not only was the desire to further the existing relations reiterated, but a plan which detailed how to do so was also suggested.

These intentions were further clarified and a number of objectives regarding the future of cyber relations were outlined. Among the objectives are those such as to “Develop the fullest range of capabilities to defend our national infrastructures and networks… Reinforce the interaction among our respective national cyber defence stakeholders to deepen co-operation and the exchange of best practices; Improve our understanding of cyber threats, including the sharing of information and assessments…”. Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative, also outlined the importance of closer relations, highlighting that cooperation would allow actors to ‘move to the next phase’.

Cyber security is an area in constant flux – the work will never be completed. Cyber is a domain that affects both the civil and military division. As cyber threats evolve and pose  severe challenges to states, companies and individuals on a daily basis, it is vital that actors such as the EU and NATO continue to work closely, and strive to establish new and effective ways to protect cyberspace.

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