During the NATO Summit in Wales, the Alliance officially established a Cyber Range Capability. In a signing ceremony that took place on September 4th, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Estonian Minister of Defence, Sven Mikser which details arrangements for NATO's use of the Estonian Defence Forces' national cyber range facility.
NATO first used the Estonian national cyber range capability in 2013 during its annual exercise CYBER COALITION 2013. This event proved to be a very successful way to meet NATO's training needs in the cyber realm. Since that time, Allied Command Transformation (ACT) has been working to detail the requirements for a NATO Cyber Range capability taking into account the offer from the Government of Estonia earlier this year to host a cyber range utilising their national capability.
In a brief speech during the ceremony, General Paloméros stated that this capability will allow NATO "to conduct cyber-related training, exercises, and education [...] in a trusted and secure environment" and "will provide an essential contribution to our effort to build more responsive and flexible forces, adapted to a very challenging security environment, which we are addressing during the Wales Summit."
During a June meeting, the Defence Ministers of the Alliance approved a NATO Cyber Range Capability be established in time for the Summit building on Estonian national facility This agreement represents the establishment of such a capability and is a significant step in ensuring NATO is prepared to meet the evolving challenges of the cyber domain and that it has access to a facility where it can conduct exercises and train its network operators. While the details of the MOU were not discussed during the ceremony, the first official use of the capability and agreement will take place later this year in Estonia when NATO holds the next CYBER COALITION exercise in November.
With the MOU in place, ACT and NATO's other Strategic Command, the headquarters of Allied Command Operations (ACO) in Mons, Belgium, will begin finalising their work on detailed cyber range requirements – that NATO can take forward to ensure that it has the necessary cyber range capability for its ambitions and requirements in the foreseeable future.
General Paloméros commands NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT) which is located at Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads in Norfolk, Virginia. ACT is the only NATO headquarters in North America and the only permanent command located outside of Europe.