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Cyber Situation Awareness Package (CySAP) project launched by three Member States

The Project Arrangement (PA) for the Cyber Defence Situation Awareness Package Rapid Research Prototype (CySAP-RRP) was recently signed by the three contributing Member States:  Spain (lead country), Germany and Italy. The project was conceived as the first step of a spiral development in order to set up a full Cyber Situation Awareness (CySA) operational capability. The CySAP-RRP will be built upon previous work done by EDA to develop a Target Architecture and System Requirements for an enhanced Cyber Defence Situation Awareness Capability. The core objectives of the project include essential research challenges to assist military decision-makers in cyberspace and to set the basis of a Command and Control (C2) system for cyber operations.  Under this PA, results will be delivered using a spiral approach over the next 18 months.

EDA’s Project Team Cyber Defence (PT CD) identified the need for capabilities to enable military commanders at all operational levels to understand and manage the risk of cyber-attack. An important prerequisite is to provide situation awareness (SA) for the commander and his staff, based on a general and specific threat landscape from which the risk of cyber-attack can be observed, understood and evaluated. The objective is for military commanders to have a clear understanding of the cyber threat landscape including system vulnerabilities and attack vectors and to equip them with the tools required to make informed decisions in order to manage cyber risks during the planning and conduct phases of an operation.

A dedicated CySAP Ad Hoc Working Group (AHWG) comprising the contributing Member States, EDA and additional subject matter experts and stakeholders started work on a Common Staff Target (CST), Common Staff Requirements (CSR) and a Business Case which describes which operational elements are needed to achieve a cyber situation awareness for the EU Armed Forces. CySAP follows a modular approach which means that the adopted SA capability architecture will influence additional cyber defence solutions to achieve interoperability. Other spirals, subject to future commitments and out of the scope of the first step, are planned to further develop CySAP towards a final CySA capability. CySA is a key aspect in all cyber defence efforts and initiatives currently pursued within the EU and other international organizations.

As part ofthis endeavour, EDA hosted two capability awareness days with the support of industry and academia in order to allow the military to benefit from existing products and trends related toCyber Situation Awareness. Since its inception in 2016, EDA’s Cyber Research and Technology AHWG has supported CySAP. This working group promotes collaborative cyber defence research within a cyber Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) looking into research activities to address capability gaps. Following the Cyber Ranges Federation project launched by 11 EU Member States in 2017 CySAP is the second EDA collaborative Cyber Defence project and the first collaborative R&T project in the domain.


Cyberspace is the fifth domain of operations, alongside the domains of land, sea, air, and space: the successful implementation of EU missions and operations is increasingly dependent on uninterrupted access to a secure cyberspace, and thus requires robust and resilient cyber operational capabilities. 

The updated EU Capability Development Plan (CDP) endorsed by the EDA Steering Board in June 2018 reconfirmed cyber defence as a priority for capability development in the EU. The CDP recognises the need for defensive cyber operations in any operational context, based on sophisticated current and predictive cyberspace situational awareness. This includes the ability to combine large amounts of data and intelligence from numerous sources in support of rapid decision making and increased automation of the data gathering, analysis and decision-support process. In November 2018, the European Council adopted an updated version of the EU cyber defence policy framework (CDPF). 

Supporting the development of Member States’ cyber defence capabilities is a priority area where the now established CySAP project serves as a core to guide future research and operational capabilities.