EU Defence Ministers today participate in “EU CYBRID 2017”, a strategic table-top cyber defence exercise. The exercise, the first of its kind, is organised by the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Estonian Ministry of Defence and the European Defence Agency (EDA). The objective of EU CYBRID 2017 is to raise awareness of cybersecurity incident coordination at political level and of the potential effects of offensive cyber-campaigns. It focuses on situational awareness, crisis response mechanisms and strategic communication.
Cyber is widely recognised as a major threat in the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), yet there has been limited attention to EU missions and operations’ resilience . To address cyber threats in CSDP, Estonia is organising in cooperation with the European Defence Agency a strategic table-top cyber-exercise “EU CYBRID 2017” for EU Ministers of Defence during their informal meeting in Tallinn on 7 September 2017.
“Cyber, the fifth domain of warfare, must be given as much attention as land, air, sea and space. There is no 100% protection in cyber. It is imperative that EU Defence Ministers test their cyber defence mechanisms. The buy-in of Member States is key for the EU to have the necessary skills, technology and capabilities”, Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, said.
The scope of the exercise is crisis response to a major offensive cyber campaign against EU military structures in a hybrid warfare context. The objectives of the exercise are:
- Situational awareness. Use the EU Intelligence and Situation Centre (INTCEN) to ensure a common understanding of the crisis and the impact of hybrid attacks on EU military structures and to give initial assessment/context for the cyber-campaign.
- Crisis Response. Raise awareness of the instruments available to the EU in to give strategic guidance on the response to a major offensive cyber-campaign against CSDP structures in a hybrid warfare context.
- STRATCOM. To coordinate initial messages among EU Member States at political level.
- Cyber defence. Raise awareness on cybersecurity incident coordination at political level and demonstrate potential effects of offensive cyber-campaigns.
- Trigger discussions at Council level with a view to examine possible measures in response to specific events, drawn from the crisis scenario.
About the exercise
EU CYBRID 2017 is a table-top cyber exercise focused on strategic choices and considerations at the EU ministerial level. It is not expected that exercise participants address specific technical issues that arise during the exercise: this will be addressed later in associated exercises (e.g. EU PACE 2017). The goal of the exercise is to highlight a number of strategic concerns and topics that arise in connection with any hypothetical cyber crisis. This exercise should serve as a forum for discussion at ministerial level and provide strategic guidance to address future crises.
The exercise scenario include an orchestrated cyber-attack campaign against an EU-led military operation affecting both an EU Headquarter in Rome (OHQ Rome) and its subordinated maritime assets. Multiple cyber-attacks covering a range of cyber threats combined with other incidents will take place over the course of the exercise. The exercise scenario refers to fictitious countries, organisations and operations.
Cyber defence and the European Defence Agency
Cyber defence is one of the priorities of the EDA’s capability development plan and of the NATO-EU Joint Declaration. A project team consisting of EDA and its participating Member States' representatives is responsible for jointly developing cyber defence capabilities within the EU CSDP, supported by R&T experts. The Agency’s main focus is on supporting member states in building a skilled military cyber defence workforce and in ensuring the availability of proactive and reactive cyber defence technology. The EDA for example develops, pilots and delivers a variety of cyber security & defence courses and exercises from basic awareness over expert level to decision maker training.