NATO to set up cyber-defence rapid reaction teams

cyberdef

NATO defence ministers agreed Tuesday to set up rapid reaction teams to help defend the military alliance against a growing number of cyber-attacks, many of them blamed on China.

“In the progress report we have adopted today, we agreed to establish rapid reaction teams that can help protect NATO’s own systems,” alliance head Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.

This “cyber-defence capability should be fully operational by the autumn,” Rasmussen told a press conference.

“This is a first phase. A second phase would be to look into how the alliance can respond to requests from Allies who come under cyber-attack,” he said.

Rasmussen stressed that cyber-security — the defence of the electronics information systems at the heart of modern warfare — remained the responsibility of its 28 member states.

But “this is a serious challenge (which)… can have devastating consequences,” he said, adding that NATO suffered more than 2,500 attacks last year.

“An attack on one ally, if not dealt quickly, can affect us all.”

The cyber-security issue is top of the agenda for a two-day defence ministers’ meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, attending his first NATO meeting since taking office, on Saturday accused China of waging cyber-espionage against the US after an American report found evidence of a broad Chinese spying campaign against top US defence contractors and government agencies.

Advertisements

Cyber May Be Biggest Threat, Hagel Tells Troops

cyberwar

The devastatingly destructive potential of cyberattacks has become the security challenge of our age, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told U.S. troops here yesterday.

Hagel stopped in Hawaii on the first leg of a trip that also will take him to Singapore and Brussels, Belgium. The secretary stood in a hangar at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam with an F-22 Raptor fighter jet behind him and about 200 service members in front, representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard and Coast Guard.

Hagel thanked the troops for their service, offered a few remarks and took their questions, one of which centered on cybersecurity. The secretary noted cyber is “one of the very few items” pegged to receive more money in the current budget request now before Congress.

“Cyber warfare capabilities: we are increasing that part of the budget significantly,” he said, noting that means the department can devote more people and more sophisticated approaches to defending U.S. networks and information.

Hagel said interconnected cyber efforts across government also will grow. U.S law enforcement agencies, the National Security Agency, U.S. Cyber Command and the Department of Homeland Security all work together on the issue, he noted. He added that allied contributions also are key to the fight.

“We live in a world — and you all know this — where one country’s just not big enough … [or] wealthy enough to handle it all,” he said. “Can’t do it — especially cyber.”

Cyberattacks are a fundamentally different threat because, with no shots fired, they potentially can disrupt utilities, banking, business and military networks, yet remain essentially untraceable to a country or an agent of origin, the secretary noted.

“Cyber is one of those quiet, deadly, insidious unknowns you can’t see,” Hagel added. “It’s in the ether — it’s not one big navy sailing into a port, or one big army crossing a border, or squadrons of fighter planes. … This is a very difficult, but real and dangerous, threat. There is no higher priority for our country than this issue.”

Belgian maritime NH90 makes first flight

nh90

NH Industries’ (NHI) first naval-variant NH90 to have been produced for Belgium made a 45min flight debut from Eurocopter‘s Donauwörth production site in Germany on 5 April, launching a test programme for the nation’s Westland Sea King replacement.

“The crew successfully tested the basic systems of this new generation aircraft,” NHI says. “During the next few weeks, this first Belgian NH90 NFH will perform several other test flights in order to check the aircraft behaviour and its mission system, with industry and customer crews.”

Belgium will introduce four NH90s as replacements for its maritime Sea Kings, with the Step B standard aircraft to be in a similar configuration to the NFH aircraft acquired by the Netherlands. Brussels is acquiring another four NH90s in the tactical transport helicopter variant, with the first of these having been delivered to the Belgian Air Component on 21 December 2012.

Flightglobal’s Ascend Online Fleets database records Belgium as operating four Sea King 48s, all of which were first flown in 1976.