Military Movement: Risks from 5G Networks - Report Launch

As NATO member states coordinate a strategic response towards the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the transatlantic alliance’s technological vulnerabilities are becoming more apparent. In the context of emerging technologies and increasing cyberattacks, NATO should step up its efforts in improving cyber resilience and securing supply chains for critical digital technologies. Cyber defence of the military structures in Europe depends also on the unhindered functionality of civilian information infrastructures, especially on telecommunication service providers and their key equipment suppliers. Faced with an unprecedented frequency of malicious cyber activities, NATO allies are more reliant on robust and safe 5G networks than ever before. In the renewed geopolitical context, cyber resilience in European countries deserves special attention. There are significant technological risks involved, not only for the military and government networks, but also for private corporations, which may inadvertently expose their valuable data used for the development of smart mobility, industry 4.0, eHealth, etc.

In 2020, the NATO CCD COE launched a two-year project on 5G supply chain and network security. The project addresses the technical, strategic, legal, and policy issues of new-generation telecommunication infrastructure for NATO allies and close partners. Its recently launched report “Military Movement: Risks from 5G Networks” examines a potential NATO military movement scenario in 2030 and associated interactions with 5G technology in relation to seaports and road transportation. Smart seaports and digitalised transportation corridors were chosen as the most likely use-case environments for 5G applications in the given time horizon.

Mitigating cyber risks requires reliable 5G networks provided by trustworthy vendors and service providers, which fulfill all relevant standards set out in the EU toolbox for 5G security. By building relationships between the public and private sector on 5G networks and ensuring the interoperability of networks and technologies, NATO can promote synergies between the similar efforts of the EU, the transatlantic partners and the private sector.

The report launch in Berlin is taking place in the context of current profound changes in German security and foreign policy. Working with international partners, academic experts and private sector stakeholders, Germany is preparing a new national security strategy and advancing its military capabilities. Berlin is willing to set a new tone following Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ speech on the beginning of a Zeitenwende in German security policy, the implementation of which has already started.

Along with a presentation of the “Military Movement Risks from 5G Networks” report, there is a panel discussion on the impact of 5G technology on cyber resilience and military mobility in Europe. Participants will hear various perspectives of national and international experts with a particular focus on the strategic and military implications of 5G network vulnerabilities for Europe.

The in-person event will take place on October 31 on the premises of the Digital Society Institute at the ESMT Berlin.

The event will be held in English. All participants are invited to take part in a networking reception at the close of the event.

To register for our event, please fill out the following form before Thursday, October 20