Merle Maigre assumes command of NATO CCDCOE

Merle Maigre, until recently the long-term Security Policy Adviser to the President of Estonia, assumed today from Sven Sakkov the role of Director of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence based in Tallinn.

“NATO-affiliated cyber defence think-tank has earned a much-deserved reputation and recognition in the cyber security community as a unique knowledge hub with several outstanding flagships. As the CCDCOE is approaching its tenth anniversary it is important to take this work even further, in a sustainable manner. To continue to dig deeper in our focus areas while reaching out to new international audiences,” said Merle Maigre, the new Director of the NATO CCDCOE. “I am excited to join and give my part together with this truly professional team. Our goal for the years to come is to keep up the momentum and keep up the drive,” noted Maigre.

“It has been a real privilege to work with the exceptionally talented team here at the Centre. We have reason to be proud of hosting largest and the most complex technical cyber defence exercise in the world and having launched Tallinn Manual, the most comprehensive analysis on international law in cyber space,” noted Sven Sakkov, Director of the knowledge hub since 2015. “Our digital lifestyle and cyber security and defence should go hand in hand, if you do not invest in the latter the former will not last,” added Sakkov.

Merle Maigre has been the Security Policy Adviser to the President of Estonia since 2012. Prior to that she served as the Policy Adviser in the Policy Planning Unit in the Private Office of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Brussels. Maigre has also worked as a researcher at International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS). In addition, she has served as the Deputy Head of the NATO Liaison Office in Kyiv and at the NATO Department in Estonia’s Ministry of Defence to support the country’s NATO accession.

Merle Maigre is a graduate of King’s College London (M.A.), Middlebury College (B.A.), and Tartu University (B.A); she has also studied at the Johns Hopkins SAIS Bologna Center and the Paris Institute of Political Studies or Sciences-Po.

Sven Sakkov was appointed as the Director of NATO CCD COE in 2015, prioir to that he has been the Undersecretary for Defence Policy in the Estonian Ministry of Defence since 2008, coordinating policy planning, international cooperation and work with NATO and EU. He has also served as Defence Counsellor at the Estonian Embassy in Washington and Director of Policy Planning Department at the Ministry of Defence. As of September this year he will be the Director of (ICDS).

NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence is a Tallinn-based knowledge hub, research institution, and training and exercise centre. The international military organisation is a community of currently 20 nations providing a 360-degree look at cyber defence, with expertise in the areas of technology, strategy, operations and law. NATO CCD COE is home of the Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations. The Centre also organises the world’s largest and most complex international technical live-fire cyber defence exercise Locked Shields. The Centre also organises the International Conference on Cyber Conflict, CyCon, a unique event joining key experts and decision-makers of the global cyber defence community in Tallinn.

The Centre is staffed and financed by its sponsoring nations and contributing participants. Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States are signed on as Sponsoring Nations of NATO CCD COE. Austria, Finland and Sweden have become Contributing Participants, a status eligible for non-NATO nations.

Photos of the change of command are available here