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Event Summaries
February 1, 2018

Event Summary: Emerging Challenges in Cyber Security and Defence: Facing the New Digital Battlefield

Henry Jackson Society

On the 16th of January 2018, in collaboration with the Hudson Institute and under the chairmanship of Bob Seely MP, we were delighted to welcome Ambassador Sorin Ducaru for an event titled: “Emerging Challenges in Cyber Security and Defence: Facing the New Digital Battlefield.” Ambassador Ducaru is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute. Before joining Hudson, he assumed his position as NATO ASG ESC in 2013, where his direct responsibilities included oversight in the areas of cyber defense, counter-terrorism, nuclear non-proliferation, and more. He managed the implementation of the NATO Enhanced Cyber Policy, which recognized cyber as an operational domain and linked to NATO’s task of collective defense. Ambassador Ducaru also developed NATO’s cyber partnership network which includes organizations such as the European Union and United Nations. Prior to his work at NATO, Ambassador Ducaru served in the United Nations as Ambassador of Romania before serving as the Romanian Ambassador to the United States from 2001 to 2006.

Drawing from his extensive experience with NATO, Ambassador Ducaru discussed both the historic and current complexities of the cyber threat. Ambassador Ducaru emphasized just how recent it was that NATO stepped up to address cyber security issues. NATO was initially in a “state of denial” and unprepared to deal with cyber threats under Article 5. After some progress in 2013 and 2014, NATO only officially recognized cyberspace as its fourth domain of operations — in addition to land, air, and sea — less than two years ago. He then argued that a major challenge has been to come up with new solutions to address the ongoing question of “how to best ensure that the collective defense and security of allied members, but also stability and the security worldwide.” Recognizing the applicability of international law in cyberspace was a key development. The decision to invest in centralised networks and setting benchmarks for cyber defence for each NATO ally was another step in the right direction.

Regarding policy strategy, Ambassador Ducaru emphasized that NATO’s mandate is generally defensive. Accordingly, any cyber security policy adopted must assume a defensive position. The policies developed by individual member states, however, may still be offensive in nature.

Ducaru also stressed the importance of reducing the cognitive gap in relationship to cyber security. He recommended prioritizing the enhancement of cyber security, even at the expense of delaying general technological progress. In other words, we must take steps to ensure that cyber security systems keep up with the rapid advancement of technology.

Although he discussed several challenges that NATO and the broader international community face regarding cyber security, Ambassador Ducaru ultimately expressed an optimistic view, and encouraged further international cooperation. The Henry Jackson Society would like to thank Ambassador Sorin Ducaru for his fascinating presentation on: “Emerging Challenges in Cyber Security and Defence: Facing the New Digital Battlefield.”