by NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană at the Prague Cyber Security Conference 2022 in Prague, Czechia

  • 03 Nov. 2022 -
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  • Last updated: 03 Nov. 2022 12:07

(As delivered)

Thank you Michala. It is a pleasure to join you all today, especially appearing with such distinguished fellow speakers. I’m only sorry I cannot be with you in person.
Czechia is a valuable NATO Ally and EU member state. And under your Presidency of the EU Council we have an excellent opportunity to discuss our shared security, the challenges and threats we face, and what we collectively can do about them.

This year, the world was shocked when President Putin’s forces invaded peaceful, independent, sovereign Ukraine. At NATO, we were shocked but not surprised.
For years, Russia has engaged in an increasingly aggressive pattern of behaviour. From the invasion of Georgia and the illegal annexation of Crimea to cyber-attacks, assassinations on Allied soil, and massive disinformation campaigns. And now, the war in Ukraine.
From 2014, NATO has responded with the biggest strengthening of our collective defence since the Cold War. With forces in the east of our Alliance for the first time, greater resilience and higher readiness. 
And we have supported Ukraine so it could better defend itself if Russia decided to invade again. Which, on February 24th, they did.
Our old assumptions of perpetual peace and prosperity are not as certain as they were just a year ago.


At the same time, we are also facing the continued threat of terrorism, nuclear proliferation, sabotage of our infrastructure, the climate crisis, and we are only just getting over the worst of the pandemic.
No country or organisation can face these challenges alone. We need even stronger multilateral institutions and even deeper international cooperation, including and especially, with the European Union.
Because we are doing more than defending our nations.  We are defending our democratic values – the sort of societies we want to live in, that we want our children to live in. In the country of Václav Havel, I know this resonates stronger, and stronger. Free, open societies, where we are encouraged to think, speak and act as we choose.
As many of you, I grew up under communism in Romania. I know that –I remember vividly the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, we know what happened, and what followed Communist domination. Fear, repression, stagnation. It is the same alternative that is being promoted today by our authoritarian competitors.

In few areas is this battle of ideas more fiercely fought than in the field of technology. Today, the competition for strategic advantage and the development and use of Emerging and Disruptive Technologies is intensifying.
At the Communist Party in China, Congress, President Xi reiterated his ambition for his country to prevail in the fight to develop strategically important tech.
This is not a benign competition. If authoritarian ideals were to prevail, our very freedom would be at stake. We all have a responsibility not to let that happen.



At NATO’s Madrid Summit in June, Allies agreed our new Strategic Concept to guide NATO over the next decade. It describes the strategic environment, it reaffirms our values, and it will help NATO adapt to this world, including our approach to innovation and to working with others. If you have not done so yet, I encourage you to read the Strategic Concept.
For the development and use of new technologies, our Concept emphasises the importance of adopting principles of responsible use that reflect our values and human rights.
This sets us apart from our competitors. It is why shaping the standards and norms of the development and use of new technologies is so important. 
Our ambition is for NATO to set the gold standard on the ethical use of new technologies in defence. Not just within the Alliance, but around the world. To this end, over the past year or so, we have published specific strategies on areas including data, AI and space.
When it comes to cyber, the lines between peacetime, crisis and conflict are blurred. Cyberspace is a contested space with constant friction and activity.
Malign actors seek to degrade our critical infrastructure, interfere with our government services, extract intelligence, steal intellectual property and impede our military activities.

We need to be proactive. One-off cyber-attacks, longer-term cyber campaigns and the cumulative effects of malicious cyber activities, can all have a strategic impact.
NATO is a platform we can share our concerns, exchange national approaches and responses, help each other, and consider our collective response.

Just a few weeks ago, the North Atlantic Council strongly condemned the recent cyber-attack on Albania’s national information infrastructure. Albania and other Allies attributed the attack to Iran. It was designed to destabilise and harm the security of an Ally and disrupt the daily lives of citizens.
This was an example of NATO Allies coming together, sharing information and responding with a collective response.

Going forward, we are working to enhance civil-military cooperation, expand our partnership with the private sector, and yes, strengthen our societal resilience.
Doing this demands ongoing engagement across the triple helix of governments, the private sector and academia. NATO cannot do it alone. We need our partners, especially the European Union, and we need to work in totally new ways.



In recent years, NATO and the EU have taken our cooperation to unprecedented levels. On issues like military mobility, maritime security, stability in the Western Balkans, and yes, cyber defence. We have stepped up our cooperation to address vulnerabilities in our critical infrastructure and to tackle disinformation, climate change and emerging and disruptive technologies.
Our cyber defenders share information about cyber threats and take part in each other’s exercises. Later this month, for example, EU experts will take part in NATO’s flagship Cyber Coalition exercise in Estonia.

This close cooperation is so essential because close to 600 million Europeans live in a NATO country. Once Finland and Sweden join, NATO will protect around 96 per cent of the European Union population.

Together, we have an extraordinary opportunity. To think creatively about our security and to shape our future together.
We want the disruptors from all areas of life: from public, private and academia. We need people who think and act differently. In NATO, we’re now in the business of uniting disruptors to shape a peaceful future.
Next year, two big NATO initiatives will go live. The Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic, or DIANA, and DIANA will support innovators to develop commercially successful companies that also serve an important security need.

And the billion Euro NATO Innovation Fund, the world’s first multi-sovereign venture capital fund, will provide financing to cutting-edge start-ups developing dual-use technologies.
Both are radical departures from the old ways we did business in order to tackle the hard security problems we are facing today.

We need to bring together Europe and North America’s best and brightest minds from industry and academia, to shape our future. A secure, peaceful and prosperous future based on our values.
Working together,
thinking creatively,
upholding our values.
This is how we will shape our digital future and help protect our societies.
Thank you so much and I wish you the best of luck in your organisation’s endavours.