NATO's Strategic Warfare Development Command

Cyberspace Domain of Operations Remains Top Priority for ACT

December 20, 2022

Cyberspace Domain of Operations Remains Top Priority for ACT

Emerging and disruptive technologies are fast evolving in cyberspace, creating new vulnerabilities for attackers to exploit, but also offering potential opportunities for greater security.

Operationalizing cyberspace requires developing the necessary doctrine and concepts within the Alliance. Strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defense posture in this arena supports Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) which is a top priority for Allied Command Transformation (ACT).

Cyberspace is a constantly contested domain, with frequent and sophisticated threats, in order for the Alliance to control this domain, it must remain highly vigilant. ACT is able to foster an Alliance wide understanding of the quickly evolving cyber landscape.

In 2016, NATO leaders recognised cyberspace as a domain of military operations. In 2021, the Alliance approved its new comprehensive cyber–defense policy. Following its cyberspace strategic outlook analysis and technology horizon scan, released in 2021, ACT with Allied Command Operations (ACO), developed a cyberspace situational awareness concept, thereby feeding cyberspace capability development. ACT together with ACO, developed the military vision and strategy on cyberspace as a domain of operations and contributed to the cyberspace operations doctrine.

In order to maintain a strategic edge, NATO must develop a robust and resilient cyber security posture and cyberspace activity must be an integrated part of MDO. MDO allows for integration of command and control between land, air, sea, cyber, and space operations. Without cyber compatibility between Alliance members, MDO becomes nearly impossible.

Cyberspace education, training, and exercise activities such as cyber coalition or CWIX are also critical venues for experimentation, which feeds concept and capability development. While constantly under attack in cyberspace, ACT continues to strengthen its cyber security posture at the speed of relevance. Programs like Innovation Hub’s Innovation Challenge, which focused on data security in a contested environment this fall, allow for development of relevant tools for the Alliance.

ACT continues to further implement cyberspace as a domain of military operations, notably fostering cyberspace situational awareness and command and control within the Alliance in recent years. ACT leads Cyber Coalition Exercise, NATO’s annual collective cyber defense exercise.

ACT will continue to drive cyberspace transformation, focusing on cyberspace operations.