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161018ncia randBRUSSELS — NATO Allied Command Transformation and the NATO Communications and Information Agency launched on October 17 an independent research project to examine ways to streamline NATO’s cyber capability development and acquisition processes.

RAND was selected to lead the project. The project will aim to define the challenges NATO faces in adjusting its cyber development and acquisition processes and make recommendations on how to address them.

This study comes in parallel to decisions taken at this year’s NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, to strengthen the Alliance’s cyber defence.

“Innovation is vital for NATO to keep its technological and operational edge, and this extends to our cyber acquisition process,” said Lieutenant General Jeffrey Lofgren USAF, Deputy Chief of Staff for Capability Development at NATO’s Allied Command Transformation.

“Through our work at ACT, we have already concluded we need a revised acquisition process that delegates authority, manages risk as opposed to eliminating it, and rewards quick delivery. This cyber acquisition study—unprecedented in scope—is a critical step toward achieving those aims, and I am pleased that the RAND will lead it.”

"RAND is pleased to support this important study to examine ways to better streamline cyber acquisition efforts. In an environment where technological advances move at pace, it is critical that NATO is able to field capabilities which are current and flexible. We are confident our research will identify options to help NATO meet this challenge--both now and in the future," said Hans Pung, President, RAND Europe.

Need for speed
At this year’s Warsaw Summit, Allied Heads of State and Government made a historic decision to recognize cyberspace as NATO’s fourth operational domain – along land, sea and air.

They pledged to ensure the Alliance keeps pace with the fast evolving cyber threat landscape.

NATO plans to invest around 70 million Euro in a cyber technology refresh over the next three years, with the NCI Agency responsible for the acquisition.

NCI Agency General Manager, Major General (retired) Koen Gijsbers added: “The dramatic growth in commercial innovation with military applications in the cyber domain along with the gravity and fast- evolving nature of the cyber threat are driving the need for re-thinking how we acquire cyber capabilities.”

“We very much look forward not only to the results of the study, but also to implementing recommendations to make our cyber acquisition process faster, more innovative, and more flexible so we can fully tap the innovative capacity of large and small companies and academia across the Alliance in support of NATO cyber defence.”

This project will encompass the activities required to develop a report on the “Improvement of NATO Cyber Capability Fielding Process.” This includes analysing current NATO cyber capability development policy, processes and practices and proposing short- and long-term actions with the ultimate goal of permanent innovation, continuous engagement with industry and academia, and rapid identification of new requirements and acquisition of solutions.

The final report is expected in January 2017.