NATO and EU discuss defence against hybrid warfare

  • 14 Mar. 2019 -
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  • Last updated: 15 Mar. 2019 08:47

Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller welcomed European Commissioner for the Security Union Sir Julian King to NATO on Thursday (14 March 2019), for talks on how NATO and the EU can work more closely together to counter hybrid warfare. Hybrid tactics, which include cyber-attacks, disinformation and economic interference, are increasingly used against NATO and EU member countries.

Ms. Gottemoeller noted that Russia has used hybrid actions, malicious cyber activities and widespread disinformation campaigns to undermine Euro-Atlantic security. Allies have also expressed concerns about attempts by Russia to interfere in the upcoming European elections. In response to such challenges, NATO and the European Union are stepping up their cooperation.  

NATO and the EU already cooperate closely in the cyber domain, including with exercises, and by sharing real-time warnings on cyber threats. NATO and EU countries have also taken steps to better defend against hybrid warfare, including by establishing the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats in Helsinki, focused on how to counter tactics like cyber-attacks and propaganda. The Deputy Secretary General called the Centre a real boost for cooperation between the EU and NATO, as hybrid activities have become a permanent feature of Europe’s security environment. She added that NATO has also established Counter Hybrid Support Teams, which can provide assistance to Allies in preparing for and responding to hybrid threats. 

Today’s talks focused on a broad range of issues, including improved warning and intelligence sharing. Also on the agenda were issues linked to the supply chain security of IT products and cyber as a tool to spread disinformation. NATO’s top officials regularly engage with EU leaders and Commissioners, as part of the strong cooperation between NATO and the EU. NATO and the EU will continue to consult regularly on cyber, hybrid and counter terrorism challenges.