The European Defence Agency Conference calls for efforts on cybersecurity.

At the EDA’s (European Defence Agency) Annual Conference 2017, celebrated in Brussels, November 23, the Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid delivered a keynote speech where she claimed that, due to the constant evolution of the cyber domain, the EU needs to share cyber expertises and build a joint exercise at strategic level. These joint cyber exercises need to involve ministerial level due to the fact that some aspects of cyber defence present impact in political matters.

Moreover, she urged EU Member States to promote cybersecurity awareness, reaching also the military sector, through mutual learning as well as sharing best practices. In fact, the Estonian EU Presidency, last September, in cooperation with EDA, organised the ‘EU CYBRID 2017’, a strategic table-top cyber defence exercise which, for the first time, involved EU defence ministers, the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Commission, cyber-related EU agencies as well as NATO’s Secretary General. The exercise, of two hours of duration, was led by Permanent Secretary Jonatan Vseviov from the Estonian Ministry of Defence. EU CYBRID can be described as a training war game consisting of simulating cyber attacks to the EU military structure and sending information on them to defence ministers: they had to rapidly make decisions on how to react. The Estonian company BHC Laboratory provided the simulation war game of the training exercise.

In her keynote speech, Ms Kaljulaid also emphasized the importance of the role of EDA in cybersecurity: she expressed the need to work on assessing “how the EDA’s cyber activities would contribute to the European Defence Industrial Development Programme and the Permanent Structured Cooperation, and vice versa”. Other matter that Ms Kaljulaid has considered is the potential of EDA for education training and strategic level exercises, on which EDA should concentrate “because those are the fields – whether we like it or not – where the Member States have probably the biggest shortfalls and at the same time willingness to do more cooperation at the European level”.

In addition to this keynote speech, others were delivered by Federica Mogherini (Head of the EDA), Julian King (EU Commissioner for the Security Union), and Mikko Hypponen (Chief Research Officer, F-Secure). All participants at this year’s EDA Annual Conference witnessed two lively and interactive panel debates on cyber as a ‘persistent strategic challenge’ and enhanced cooperation in Europe and beyond, and on how to tackle growing cyber threats.

Source: European Defence Agency

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