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European Parliament exchange of views on cyber defence

The European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE) held an exchange of views on cybersecurity and defence with ENISA, EEAS and EDA representatives on 16 March 2015. Peter Round, EDA Director Capability, Armament & Technology was invited to brief member of the subcommittee on EDA activities in the area of cyber defence.

Udo Helmbrecht, Executive Director of the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), emphasised in his presentation on cyber security the increasing number of security incidents. Rudolf Roy, Head of Security Policy Division, Conflict Prevention and Security Policy Directorate (EEAS) highlighted among other topics the importance of secure cyberspace for CSDP missions and operations equally important to other domains of warfare (land, sea, air and space).

In his presentation, Peter Round concentrated first on successful EDA projects in the area of cyber defence, on the EU cyber defence policy framework, EDA support to operations and preparations for the European Council discussion on defence in June. 

In the last three years, the Agency has completed ten cyber defence related projects with a financial volume of about 2 million euros. This equals to approximately 10% of EDA’s operational budget. Among these ten projects are a stocktaking study of cyber defence capabilities among all EDA Member States and EU institutions, the establishment of a cyber defence research agenda and cyber defence training courses for senior military decision makers as well as the assessment of the feasibility of a EU Cyber Defence Centre for CSDP. 

The Agency continues to give high priority to providing cyber domain support to ongoing operations and missions”, Peter Round highlighted. So far, the Agency has delivered three cyber awareness seminars for the staff in charge of the EUFOR RCA operation. The finalisation of the feasibility assessment for an EU Cyber Defence Centre provides several options on the set-up for such a centre for CSDP operations and missions. EDA’s project team cyber defence with experts from 24 EDA Member States and EU institutions is currently evaluating these proposals. A consolidated report will be introduced to the political decision-making process by the end of the semester. 

Finally, Peter Round emphasised the limited resources dedicated to cyber defence within the EU institutions. He underlined the need for increased civil-military cooperation in the field to maximise synergies. 

Members of the European Parliament congratulated the speakers on the progress made in the domain of cybersecurity and defence following the taskings of the European Council in December 2013. Questions related mostly to cyber defence capabilities available to Member States, critical infrastructures for cyber defence and EU-NATO cooperation in the field. 

Picture © European Parliament, 2015

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