NATO officially recognizes cyberspace a warfare domain

Pierluigi Paganini June 18, 2016

The NATO has officially declared cyberspace a warfare domain and confirmed that a cyberattack on any of its allies will be considered as an act of war.

NATO officially recognizes the cyberspace as the fifth domain of a warfare so it could respond with conventional weapons in case of a powerful cyber attack.

A cyberattack on one of the NATO member states would activate Article 5 and call for a response of the alliance.

The concept was exposed by the NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg to the media.

“A severe cyber-attack may be classified as a case for the alliance. Then NATO can and must react,” Stoltenberg said in an interview to the Bild newspaper“How, that will depend on the severity of the attack,” 

Stoltenberg explained that the NATO intends to respond to any assault against its members, including a cyber attack that could be considered as an act of war.

All the NATO countries will support each other for the cyber defense of their infrastructure, said Stoltenberg.

“[This] means that we will coordinate and organize our efforts to protect against cyber-attacks in a better and more efficient way. This is about developing our capabilities and ability to partly protect NATO cyber networks but also to help and assist nations in defending their cyber networks.” said Stoltenberg.

“Since it’s very hard to imagine a military conflict today without a cyber dimension, this is important, related to almost all possible conflicts we can foresee in the future,” 

NATO microsoft

The decision was anticipated by Stoltenberg in early June, the final decision will be communicated during the next NATO summit, to be held in Warsaw on July 8-9.

If confirmed this is a historical decision that will radically change the military doctrine in the matter of Information Warfare.

The decision is aligned with the US military strategy, that already recognizes cyberspace as a warzone and that for this reason in 2009 the US Government established the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) to fulfill tasks related to cyber conflicts.

In April 2016, the US Government has announced to have launched a series of cyber attacks against the Islamic State coordinated by the Cyber Command.

Now the main problem is … is the NATO able to defend the infrastructure of its member states from the cyber attacks? Many experts believe that the alliance lacks the necessary capabilities to implement a global cyber defense strategy.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –NATO, Warsaw Summit)

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