On 14th November, the Baltic Defence College held a seminar Cyberspace as a Domain of Operations - what does in mean for the Baltic states? The seminar was an integral part of the Joint Command and General Staff Course’s Module on Allied Joint Operations.
At the NATO Warsaw Summit in July 2016, the Allies declared cyberspace as a Domain of Operations, stating that cyber defence is part of NATO’s core task of collective defence. With that decision, NATO has affirmed that international law applies in cyberspace and that NATO it is legitimate for its members to invoke collective defence in response to a cyberattack, equivalent of an armed attack through cyberspace. As an institution providing professional military education on both operational and strategic level, BALTDEFCOL will need to prepare its students to better understand and operate in this new domain. Hence, last week’s seminar aimed at looking at the domain from different angles, hoping to de-mystify this new and hence possibly intimidating addition to our established way of military thinking. Because even though different and in many ways unique, cyber is all in all just another domain.
The first panel, moderated by the Commandant of Baltic Defence College, MG Andis Dilans, focused on NATO, EU and the Cyberspace as a Domain of Operations. The speakers, Mr Tanel Sepp, the Deputy Director of the Cyber Policy Department in the Estonian Ministry of Defence and LTC Franz Lantenhammer, the Chief of Staff of the Tallinn-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Centre of Excellence looked at the latest cyber defence developments in NATO after the Warsaw declaration, as well as the EU’s actions in enhancing cyber security and awareness among its Member States. The panel discussed political, strategic and operational level implications the Warsaw declaration brought about in NATO, looking at the biggest achievements and challenges so far.
The second panel looked at the new domain of operations from the Baltic perspective. The panelists, Mr. Gert Auväärt from Estonian Information System Authority and Mr. Dāvis Baumanis from Latvian Ministry of Defence explained how their respective countries have developed their national cyber policy and strategy, cyber crisis response, as well as cooperation between domestic institutions and internationally. Afterwards, MAJ Ivars Erčums from the Latvian Cyber Unit and CPT Uko Valtenberg from the Estonian Defence Forces described the status quo with setting up national cyber unit in Latvia and command in Estonia.