I presented on a panel in Tallinn, Estonia at the NITEC Conference organized by the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency and AFCEA International, in conjunction with the Estonian Ministry of Defense. Over 500 senior government, military and industry leaders, as well as defense and security experts gathered to examine the fast-moving security challenges and hybrid threats facing nations and the global community.
The assembled leadership of NATO’s 28 nations asked: How can industry and government work together to improve mission readiness, responsiveness and resilience?
This new threat environment is dynamic and defined by overt and covert military, paramilitary and civilian measures used to disrupt, confuse, damage or coerce individual government and alliance operations. To proactively counter these threats, officials across NATO countries and industry leaders are looking to defend and secure cyber capabilities through command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems and applications.
NATO’s initiative supporting this priority is the Federated Mission Network (FMN), which aims “to support command and control and decision-making in future operations through improved information-sharing.” This governance philosophy encourages and provides the agility and scalability needed to manage emerging requirements of any mission environment in future NATO operations. This is important as it establishes a framework for allied and partner forces to better communicate, train and operate together in a rapid, consistent and effective manner.
One of the best ways to strengthen joint and decentralized environments such those operating through the FMN, is to enable a strong security posture through See, Control, and especially Orchestrate. Sharing context and actionable intelligence across key stakeholders would give NATO operational visibility that it does not have today.
Network visibility is critical and becomes especially important when coordinating mission critical, global and national security information. The ability to see and control managed and unmanaged devices, including IoT devices on a network reduces the risk of potential attacks and remediates malicious code or high-risk devices. In this instance, NATO’s FMN would benefit the most from orchestration, which integrates network systems providing unified security management establishing automated workflows and accelerated system-wide responses. Other benefits from orchestration include advanced treat detection, vulnerably assessment, and SIEM (security information event management).
My experience at the NITEC conference illustrates how NATO and other government agencies can benefit from collaboration with industry. To proactively approach dynamic and fast-moving security threats, alliance leaders need to continue to adopt technological developments provided by industry that enhance security capabilities. In addition, this new strategic reality requires secure collaboration and information sharing within the alliance to support C4ISR and decision making capabilities for success in future operations.