Cyber Phalanx 2021 a one-week combined course and exercise for operations planners has successfully concluded in Lisbon, Portugal. Co-organised by EDA and Portugal, the training aims to raise the awareness of cyber and hybrid threats among operation planners, in the Operations Planning Process (OPP) on both the strategic and operational levels.
During the week, more than 130 operations planners, cyber and hybrid experts from 15 EDA Member States as well as Switzerland, EU institutions, partners and NATO were challenged to plan an EU CSDP operation based on a fictitious scenario, taking cyber and hybrid attacks into account during the Operations Planning Process.
The training focused on the cyber implications in the OPP, including military cyber and hybrid threat awareness, countering hybrid threats, EU cyber diplomacy toolbox, EU military strategic planning and the legal context of cyber operations. Cyber Phalanx 21 underscored the importance of cross-interaction and communication between cyber/hybrid threat experts and operations planners. The exercise also confirmed the necessity and value of cross-domain thinking, including cyber and information environments, in synchronised operations planning.
Addressing the opening of the exercise, EDA Deputy Chief Executive, Mr Olli Ruutu said; “Cyber Phalanx 2021 will play an important role as a final proof-of-concept and for evolving Cyber Phalanx further, covering the full operational military planning cycle towards a series of operations planning exercises, be it at EU level, at Headquarters level (OHQ/FHQ) or as national exercises in Member States.”
Originally launched in 2018, Cyber Phalanx 2021 was the second and enhanced iteration of the exercise. Cyber Phalanx 2021 demonstrated again that this type of training in a course-exercise combination enables targeted and operations-oriented training of EU armed forces on a strategic (OHQ) and operational (FHQ) level.
Going forward, national preparatory training courses will also benefit from Cyber Phalanx based training and foster a cross-domain-approach, including within the cyber domain and the information environment in operations planning.
During the Distinguished Visitors Day on 30 Sep 2021, Vice Admiral António Henrique Gomes, acting head for Planning and Coordination of the General Staff of the Portuguese Armed Forces pointed out that “Member States can make better use of Cyber Phalanx by targeting operations planners instead cyber personnel to the exercise.”
MULTINATIONAL AND INTERAGENCY TRAINING
One of the unique aspects of CYBER PHALANX was the diversity of Member States and organisations present among the 130 participants. 15 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania) plus Switzerland were represented. Officials from EU institutions and organisations; such as EDA, EEAS, EUMS, MPCC, ESDC, EU OHQ Rome, EU Hybrid CoE were also joined by NATO (ACT, HQ & CCDCOE) colleagues.
Cyber defence brochure
EDA Cyber Programme video