Sir Christopher Harper: We Need Agile Decision Making on Cyber

Greater shared awareness on cyber defence is needed among the Allies, said Director General of the NATO International Military Staff, Air Marshal Sir Christopher Harper today visiting the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.

“We will need rapid and agile decision making within the Alliance when facing potentially serious cyber threats” Sir Christopher emphasized. To allow for that, our awareness of all aspects of cyber defence needs to increase, he added. “There is a clear benefit in material and initiatives to educate and train all those who might have to make or contribute to those decisions during cyber incidents.”

Sir Christopher complimented the Centre on the work done noting the reasonably large number of work requests from NATO bodies. “I cannot promise that we will slow down the tasking rate though. If anything, in the current security environment we might need you to take on more.”

Air Marshal Harper was briefed on the work of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, including the Tallinn Manual process on the applicability of international law to the cyber domain and the Locked Shields international technical live fire exercise, the largest of its kind in the world. Sir Harper showed a particularly keen interest in how current norms and treaties could be used to regulate activities in cyberspace.

The Tallinn-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence is a NATO-accredited knowledge hub focused on interdisciplinary applied research and development as well as consultations, trainings and exercises in the field of cyber security. The Centre’s mission is to enhance capability, cooperation and information-sharing between NATO, Allies and partners in cyber defence.

Membership of the Centre is open to all Allies. Currently, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, the United Kingdom and the USA have signed on as sponsoring nations. Greece and Turkey are working on finalising their accession process. Austria has become a contributing participant and Finland is well on its way to doing the same.