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Estonia hosts NATO Cyber Defence Pledge conference

15. April 2021 - 19:30
Estonia hosts NATO Cyber Defence Pledge conference.
Estonia hosts NATO Cyber Defence Pledge conference.

Today, Estonia hosted the third annual NATO Cyber Defence Pledge Conference 2021: Entering to a New Decade, which focused on strategic, political, and practical implications of ensuring a cyber-enabled Alliance.

“Since we have adopted the Cyber Defence Pledge in 2016, we have come a long way,” said NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană in his keynote message for the conference. He noted that Allies have agreed that cyber-attack can trigger NATO’s collective defence clause, Article 5, and that cyberspace is designated as a military domain, alongside land, sea, air and now, space. The Deputy Secretary General also underlined that enhancing Allied resilience and leveraging technology are key elements of the NATO 2030 initiative to make the Alliance stronger.

The conference panellists discussed many topics, including cyber-resilient supply chains, national critical infrastructure, and the enablement of NATO operations, missions and activities. The event brought together leading experts from political and military level, as well as from academia and industry.

„Our professional lives have moved from the physical world more to the cyber domain. We should not forget that this may have opened additional doors for our adversaries during our numerous virtual calls,“ Prime Minister of Estonia, Ms. Kaja Kallas said in her virtual address. “Entering a new decade requires relevant training not just for our experts but also for our strategic decision-makers. The Locked Shields cybersecurity exercise – organised by the NATO CCDCOE as we speak – is a good example. It offers national senior-level decision-makers the chance to test their readiness to manage a crisis,” she added.

In 2016, Allies made the Cyber Defence Pledge to enhance their cyber defences a matter of priority. Since 2018, the conference helps to address the most pressing issues in cyber defence and offers the North Atlantic Council and cyber defence experts across the Alliance to exchange best practices.

“The Alliance is constantly being tested in cyberspace. Respectively, we need to ensure we have the right capabilities to prevent and reduce the impact of any cyber incident. These efforts need to be reviewed regularly as meeting the Cyber Pledge objectives is a continuous process,” Mr. Kalle Laanet, Minister of Defence of Estonia emphasized. “Estonia is fully committed to the Pledge. At the beginning of this year, we established the foundation CR14. Its core capability is to host the Cyber Range, which is the platform for the exercise Locked Shields that is taking place this week,” he added.

Estonia is the third country to host the Cyber Defence Pledge Conference. The previous conferences took place in Paris in 2018 and in London in 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference planned for 2020 in Tallinn had to be postponed. This year Estonia organised the conference in a virtual format.