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Cyber Coalition 16: NATO's largest cyber defence exercise

TALLINN, Estonia – With cyber defence now an operational priority following the Warsaw Summit, Estonia hosted NATO's largest cyber exercise from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2, 2016 in Tartu, Estonia. 

This year 27 NATO nations and Partner nations, including Austria, Finland, Ireland, Japan, Jordan and Sweden participated, as well as the European Union Cyber Defence Staff. The exercise made use of the NATO Cyber Range, and included agencies such as the NATO Communication and Information Agency, and the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, located in Tallinn, Estonia.  

National industries, academia and other national cyber defence organisational structures have also taken part in growing numbers."NATO has reaffirmed its defensive mandate, recognising cyberspace as a domain of operations in which NATO must defend itself as effectively as it does in the air, on land and at sea," said Commander Robert Hoar, the exercise director."The level of participation this year reflects the importance of Cyber defensive operations."

Using a controlled and virtual environment, well researched scenarios are injected into the exercise programme using serials, where they are studied and responded to by participating nations. Operator responses are then assessed so that decision making processes, technical and operational procedures, and collaboration between participants are tested and reviewed.

"I have been very impressed with the capacity of the operators, and the capability building that has taken place on this exercise," said Commander Hoar. "Our procedures and defensive mechanisms are strong and the level of skill sharing has reached new heights."

Exercise Cyber Coalition 16 is NATO's largest Cyber Defence exercise to date, testing and proving Cyber Defence Capability, both civilian and military.  The exercise this year, now as a new Force Domain, has emphasised the cooperation and exchange of skills within the participants and already has proven invaluable.

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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