Expert comment on the NATO Cyber Rapid Response Capability


As the declaration outlines, NATO currently faces cyber and other asymmetric threats from multiple nations. The announcement of this cyber rapid response capability is a recognition that we must do more to coordinate the efforts to combat ongoing and prepare for future nation-state conducted and/or sponsored cyber campaigns.

A virtual rapid response cyber capability will greatly increase NATO’s capability to have a more coordinated and effective response to “significant malicious cyber activities”.

This capability will likely be similar to the EU Cyber Rapid Response Teams (CRRT) that have already been created and have been deployed in the Ukraine conflict.

The new NATO cyber response force will need to develop common cyber operations toolkits with incident detection, prevention, and response capabilities to have an effective coordinated response.

In addition, they will need to identify and select team members with different domains of expertise, including incident response, forensics, vulnerability assessment that can form cohesive and holistic teams that can rapidly deploy virtually.

In this dynamic environment, business leaders should be prepared to experience direct and indirect attacks related to the current Ukraine conflict and future conflicts.

The NATO declaration mentions “strengthen[ing] our cyber defenses through enhance civil-military cooperation” and “partnership with industry”.  This means that when civilian organization experiences an attack they could be assisted and reinforced by the new NATO cyber response force. Business leaders, especially those in the key industries such as energy and communications would be wise to carefully consider how they would respond to such a situation and how they would cooperate. Conducting a tabletop scenario to work through the choices that would be presented in such a situation is an effective way to do this.