News You Really Need To See: “In New Pledge, NATO Nations Would Band Together Against Cyberattacks”

“In New Pledge, NATO Nations Would Band Together Against Cyberattacks”

The New York Times, September 1, 2014, p.A5

“When President Obama meets with other NATO leaders later this week, they are expected to ratify what seems, at first glance, a far-reaching change in the organization’s mission of collective defense: For the first time, a cyberattack on any of the 28 NATO nations could be declared an attack on all of them, much like a ground invasion or an airborne bombing. … But in interviews, NATO officials concede that so far their cyberskills are limited at best.  While NATO has built a gleaming new computer security center, and now routinely runs computer exercises, it possesses no cyberweapons of its own — and, apparently, no strategy for how it might use the weapons of member states to strike back in a computer conflict.  In fact, its most powerful members, led by the United States and Britain, have spent billions of dollars on secret computer offensive programs — but they have declined so far to tell NATO leaders what kind of weapons they might contribute in a NATO-led computer conflict. … NATO’s tentative steps into the realm of computer conflict, at a moment when Russian, Chinese and Iranian ‘patriotic hackers’ have run increasingly sophisticated campaigns, show the alliance’s troubles in innovating to keep up with modern warfare, at a moment when it is also facing one of its greatest political challenges since the end of the Cold War.  The change in NATO’s definition of an ‘armed attack’ will leave deliberately unclear what would constitute a cyberattack so large that the alliance might declare that the action against one of its members could lead to response by the entire alliance under Article V of its charter.”

Quickie Analysis:  More of a statement to potential enemies than an actual plan among allies.  

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