NATO defense ministers officially recognized cyberspace as “a domain of warfare” today. Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary-general, said it was impossible to imagine a military conflict today without a cyber dimension, since battles are also waged on computer networks in today’s world, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The move is aimed at bolstering allies’ cyberdefenses, but also will begin a debate over whether NATO should eventually use cyberweapons that can shut down enemy missiles and air defenses or destroy adversaries’ computer networks, reported WSJ.
Yesterday, the Democratic National Committee said its computers had been hacked by the Russian government, and the hackers stole opposition research related to Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for President.
Mr. Stoltenberg did not address the suspected cyberhack on the Democratic National Committee by the Russian government, and refused to name any potential cyber adversaries, noting that NATO’s cyberdefenses weren’t aimed at any one country.
U.S. and allied officials have previously said Russia remains the greatest cyberthreat to the alliance. Developing capabilities to more quickly attribute responsibility for cyberintrusions and cyberattacks is a priority for the alliance, Mr. Stoltenberg said.
By making cyber a warfare domain, NATO will open the door to improved military planning, dedicate more officers to cyber operations and better integrate electronic warfare into its military exercises, a NATO official said.