December 12, 2018

ICDS Presented the First Publicly Available Comparative Study of Military Cyber Organisations

On 11 December, the ICDS presented the first publicly available comparative study of the military cyber organisations in five European countries – Estonia, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway – to around 50 experts, professionals and journalists.

The report entitled “Preparing for Cyber Conflict: Case Studies of Cyber Command” examines strategic guidelines, political authorisation of international deployments, organisational set-up, the chain of command, and key functions of three categories of military cyberspace forces: cyber commands, military cyber services, and cyber defence divisions.

The event featured Colonel Andres Hairk, the Commander of the Estonian Cyber Command, and Colonel Jaak Tarien, the Director of the NATO CCD COE, as well as the author of the report, Piret Pernik. The discussion was moderated by Sven Sakkov, Director of the ICDS.

Key findings

Piret Pernik presented the key findings and highlighted similarities and differences between the national approaches.

The main reason for establishing the cyber command in Estonia was the need to use resources more effectively and this was also the case in several other countries. Experts concurred that one of the key challenges for cyber commands is cyber force building and personnel retention – areas where innovative solutions are needed. In Estonia the main recruitment base for the cyber command is currently the conscription service.

Colonel Jaak Tarien noted that while each country has a different model for the development of cyber command and the cyber domain as such is still in the embryonic stage of development, the ICDS report provides a solid basis for benchmarking.

The biggest security threats

About 30 countries were developing cyber-attack capabilities as of 2016. State-developed cyber capabilities are considered the greatest threat to national security. Russia, China, Iran and North Korea have the best cyber capabilities among authoritarian states and these are seen as the biggest security threats by the West.

Western intelligence agencies have warned that hostile states have introduced malware into the infrastructure of essential services that can be activated for a destructive cyber-attack if needed. Cyberspace has become a domain of warfare over recent decades: states conduct cyber-attacks resulting in billions of dollars-worth of economic loss during peacetime (such as WannaCry and NotPetya ransomware), and cyber-attacks are part of every armed conflict.

Military experts have opined that the state that first uses electronic means of warfare will change the course of a war.


Read the full report at: