BRUSSELS — A European Defence Agency (EDA) study of the military cyberdefense capabilities across 20 EU countries released here May 24 has identified training, education and cyber situational awareness as among the “most pressing gaps.”
The EDA commissioned the one-year study to establish an in-depth understanding of cyberdefense capabilities across EDA member states.
“Military Cyber Defence on the European level is at a relative early stage of maturity. Therefore, the recommendations issued in the study are tentative high-level aspects to consider as cyber Defence at the EU level evolves and they are detailed in more depth in the classified report of the study,” says the EDA study, which goes on to make recommendations at the EU level and at individual member state level.
Among its EU recommendations are to enhance network protection, strengthen intelligence capability, deepen incident response capabilities (e.g. via improved warning and alert mechanisms), create a culture of cybersecurity (good practice, training and raising awareness) promulgate security standards and tools, set future standards in negotiation with NATO, and reinforce links between NATO and the EU for cyberdefense issues.
At the national level, the study calls for more attention to the development of cyberdefense training and education initiatives, both at the operational and senior command levels. It recommends that EU countries consider exchanging information on equipment solutions and pooling and sharing for cyberdefense capabilities, and on processes and shared escalation procedures, especially in EU-led missions.
It also suggests they consider sharing facilities (e.g. forensic ones) and to take into account interoperability aspects of cyberdefense.
“Exchange of information on practice for the recruitment and retention of cyber Defence specialists would be helpful, for example, through ‘cyber reserve forces’,” adds the study.
In addition, the EDA is developing a cyberdefense training curriculum and is working on three ad hoc projects with EU member states:
A cyber Ranger project aiming at pooling and sharing of current and future resources for cyberdefense training, exercise and testing in order to increase availability and efficiency of existing assets, and to mainstream and improve cyberdefense training, exercises and testing at European level.
A deployable cyber situational awareness kit initiative that aims to provide a standardized cyberdefense planning and management platform, which would allow commanders and their staff in EU-led operations to fulfill their cyber-related tasks throughout all phases of an EU-led operation.
An Advanced Persistent Threats Detection initiative focusing on improved capabilities in early detection and mitigation of these threats.
The EDA will co-host with the Irish Presidency of the European Union and the Estonian Ministry of Defence a high-level conference on Cyber Security Cooperation in the European Union on 20 June.