NATO Defence Ministers’ Meeting on Cyber Defence

The NATO Ministers of Defence met on 4 June 2013 to discuss cyber defence, focusing the discussions on the development of NATO’s cyber defence capability.1

The NATO Defence Ministers met on 4 and 5 June 2013 in Brussels. On the first day of the two-day meeting, cyber defence was discussed, this being the first time that a session of the Defence Ministers’ Meeting was solely dedicated to cyber defence. The emphasis of the discussions was the development of NATO’s cyber defence capability with the overall aim of protecting NATO owned and operated networks. The Defence Ministers agreed that the Alliance’s cyber defence capability should be fully operational by autumn 2013.

In addition, the ministers discussed the development of the role of NATO in assisting Allies under cyber attack, including the possibilities of deploying Rapid Reaction Teams (RRT). Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General, explained that the process of agreeing on how NATO could support and assist Allies who requested assistance if they came under cyber attack should be viewed in phases. The first phase was the adoption of the Strategic Concept in Lisbon in 2010 and the adoption of the progress report during the NATO Ministers of Defence June meeting, agreeing to establish RRTs that can help protect NATO’s own systems. According to the Secretary General, the second phase will look into how the Alliance can respond to the requests from Allies who come under cyber attack, taking into account all possible options.

Since there are several options and approaches related to this, the issue could not be agreed upon at this time, and will be discussed further during the next Defence Ministers’ Meeting in October 2013.2

  1. NATO, “Defence Ministers make progress on cyber protection,” press release, June 4, 2013. []
  2. NATO, “Press conference by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen following the NATO Defence Ministers meeting on 4 June 2013,” press conference, June 4, 2013. []