A nation that once was part of the Soviet bloc now finds itself on the front lines of unrest in Ukraine, territorial disputes in the Black Sea and state-sponsored attacks in cyberspace. Romania, now a stalwart member of NATO and the European Union, is playing an increasing role in cybersecurity, both regionally and internationally. It is passing a national cybersecurity law and reaching out to assist other nations, directly and indirectly, with cyber defense.
Sweeping changes are on the horizon for one NATO agency as it reshapes its software acquisition processes and embarks on a task to create what officials call an in-house “software factory.”
The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency wants to overhaul the way it buys software after inspections revealed acute shortcomings that led to several program cost overruns and delays, says Paul Howland, chief of command and control services for NCI Agency, which serves as NATO’s information technology and command, control, communications and computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) provider, including cyber and missile defense.
Industry said, “Show me the money,” and NATO obliged.
Officials shared several key business initiatives to meet future NATO needs during the three-day NITEC 2016 cyber conference, informing industry members about 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) worth of upcoming business opportunities and contract work.
Cybersecurity reaches far beyond processes to make doing business easier—it’s the “game changer” to counter real consequences that threaten everyday life, said Katrin Suder, state secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Defense.
“Cyber attacks are no more science fiction,” Suder said. “They are real and will become even more critical in the future. The trajectory [of safeguarding networks] is not going in the right direction.”
NATO is dangling roughly 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) in funding for future cyber-based initiatives to match—and then surpass—the increasingly sophisticated attacks against its 28-member alliance, officials announced Tuesday on the inaugural day of the NITEC 2016 conference.
Increased Russian aggression, instability in Europe’s south, the Syrian refugee crisis and evolving cyberthreats all have contributed toward new strategic realities, but also jockey for the same pot of limited financial resources—mobilizing the alliance to strengthen collaborations with industry for vital solutions.
The world needs at least 1.5 million cybersecurity professionals who do not exist—a labor shortage created by the increase in frequency and severity of cyber attacks and employers all fishing from the same pond, said Michael Cameron, vice president for business development, cyber and cybersecurity at Leidos, at the NITEC 2016 cyber conference.
Solutions exist to help bridge the gap, including a detailed effort developed by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies, a collaboration between the Department of Homeland Security, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education.
Europe is asleep at the wheel and needs an awakening before it crashes, warned Lt. Gen. Riho Terras, commander of Estonian Defense Forces.
The reactionary nature of the continent’s militaries has caught leaders unawares far too many times already, and forces no longer can afford to leave proactive measures to someone else, Gen. Terras shared during the inaugural day of NITEC 2016, a cyber conference being held this week in Tallinn, Estonia.
“What happens in the world comes as a surprise for Europe,” said Gen. Terras, who pulled no punches when laying out examples of when European leaders were caught off guard.
Small nation-state budgets aren’t always such a bad thing, offered Ingvar Parnamae, undersecretary for defense investments for the Estonian Ministry of Defense.
It forces leaders to make good choices—it is hoped.
Brig. Gen. Robert P. Walters Jr., USA, has been assigned as deputy chief of staff, intelligence, Resolute Support Mission, NATO; and director, J-2, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Afghanistan.
Urbanization, migration and disaster relief are topics that are ubiquitous in the 21st-century news media. Frequently, critical or crisis-related aspects are in the foreground. These include megacities out of control, migration flows triggered by economic and violent conflicts, and inadequate or delayed disaster relief.
However, most crises in the context of conurbations, migration and environmental disasters are not short-term developments, but evolve over the long or medium term. Governments and nongovernmental organizations must deal with these phenomena promptly and permanently, address them publicly and face up to the challenges resulting from them.
At the height of combat missions in Afghanistan, the U.S. military occupied nearly 825 military outposts throughout the war-ravaged region. That number now stands at roughly 20. The outposts served an extensive intelligence-gathering network, using surveillance balloons and wide-range signals intelligence collection operations. The rapid drawdown of these facilities following the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from the region created a black hole of information, with Afghan forces struggling to fill the gap.
The buzzwords du jour are cyber at sea, a vulnerability that quickly rose in prominence within the maritime domain to jockey for attention and funding among competing disciplines. Unrelenting cyber attacks firmly positioned the emerging specialty alongside antisubmarine warfare, autonomous undersea vehicles, mine countermeasure systems and port protections, to name a few. NATO’s knowledge repository for maritime science and technology initiatives juggles all of these in its search for innovative security solutions, says Rear Adm. Hank Ort, RNLN (Ret.), director of the Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation.
Raytheon Technical Services Co. LLC, Norfolk, Virginia, is being awarded a $9,174,340 cost-plus-fixed-fee basic ordering agreement for engineering services, overhaul, repair and upgrade in support of the NATO Seasparrow Surface Missile System (NSSMS) units for the CVN 72, equipment and other associated test, ancillary and support equipment. Work will be performed in Yorktown, Virginia (70 percent); and Norfolk, Virginia (30 percent), and is expected to be completed by February 2017. Fiscal 2016 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funding in the amount of $125,000 will be obligated at time of award.
Extensive cooperation among NATO member nations, their industries and their academics will be necessary to address the challenges facing the Atlantic alliance, according to speakers at NITEC 2015. Some examples of that cooperation emerged during the May 5-7 conference in Madrid, which had a theme of “Enabling C4ISR: Applications, Education and Training.”
A recent NATO exercise in Eastern Europe established criteria for NATO Response Force communications, including new technologies and cybersecurity, that will be essential if the rapid-reaction unit is called on in the event of a crisis imposed on an alliance member. The test of communications and information systems set the stage for an overall force exercise later this year, and it substantiated a broader concept of networking across NATO.
Brig. Gen. Frank W. Tate, USA, has been assigned as deputy chief of staff, operations, Multinational Corps Northeast, NATO, Poland.
A NATO coalition of scientists and researchers recently experimented with a variety of underwater robots in a joint scientific mine countermeasures sea trial. The May 20-29 experiment involved NATO’s Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE), the Royal Netherlands Navy Defence Diving Group, NATO’s Naval Mine Warfare Centre of Excellence and the United Kingdom Royal Navy Maritime Autonomous Systems Trial Team.
NATO today initiated Dynamic Mongoose, this year’s biggest antisubmarine warfare exercises in the North Sea, with a focus on detecting and defending against submarines. Eleven nations, more than a dozen surface vessels and four submarines are participating in the annual Dynamic Mongoose exercise.
The event, which is expected to last two weeks, will allow ships under NATO command to conduct a variety of antisubmarine warfare operations. The submarines will take turns trying to approach and target the ships undetected, simulating an attack.
The cyber attacks that threaten the United States are just as intense and worrisome for NATO, which comes under persistent strikes by nation-states, terrorist groups and criminal organizations all assailing with denial-of-service malware, organized criminal incursions, cyber espionage and website defacements. As the U.S. Defense Department toils at creating a unified and secure network, so too does NATO.
“The modernization program in NATO is the flagship for the future of our network as we work to achieve our objectives of having a secured, connected force and being able to support NATO in its rapid deployed content,” says Gregory B. Edwards, NATO’s director of infrastructure services in Mons, Belgium.
In recent decades, air power has been NATO’s first, and sometimes only, military response to a threat. But tightened budgets and dwindling resources are placing air power in a death spiral driven by declining readiness, a shrinking force structure and an ever-smaller residual fighting capacity, say NATO’s foremost experts on air and space power.