Digital warfare and the seven priorities of the ministry of Defence

On Wednesday evening 8 April 2015 computer screens of the French television station TV5 Monde were hacked by supporters of the Islamic State (IS)
On Wednesday evening 8 April 2015 computer screens of the French television station TV5 Monde were hacked by supporters of the Islamic State (IS)

In June 2012 the Cabinet adopted the Defence Cyber Strategy. The aim of the Defence Cyber Strategy is to prepare the Dutch armed forces for digital warfare. Apart from protecting computer networks, this may also involve enabling the Dutch army to paralyse enemy computer networks by means of computer viruses.

Seven priorities in the field of cyberspace

Much has changed in the digital world since 2012. The global security situation has changed as well. This is due to the threat posed by Russia, the conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa and the threat of terrorist attacks. That is why the Cabinet has updated a number of aspects of the Defence Cyber Strategy. This document was sent to the House of Representatives on 23 February 2015.

The strategy now sets seven priorities.

  1. The deployment of cyber experts. Due to the shortage of these experts in the labour market, the ministry of Defence will raise their pay. Non-military staff can also be appointed.
  2. Developments in digital technology must be responded to more rapidly. Moreover, the armed forces should be enabled to develop digital means of defence against an attack.
  3. Combining digital knowledge and increasing cooperation between the ministry of Defence, other government institutions and businesses.
  4. All Defence staff members must extend their digital knowledge, in order for cyber attacks to be detected at an earlier stage.
  5. Digital resilience must be enhanced. The ministry of Defence will set up a Security Operations Centre, which is to protect all Defence networks and IT services in the Netherlands and in areas where Dutch troops are deployed.
  6. The creation of more possibilities to gather information in the digital domain. To this end the Intelligence and Security Services Act 2002 will be amended.
  7. More use will be made of digital instruments when carrying out missions. In the future, carrying out cyber attacks must become an option for the armed forces.

In 2016 and 2017 an evaluation will be made of the implementation of the digital security policy.

Conference

On 16 and 17 April 2015 the Global Conference on CyberSpace 2015 (GCCS2015) took place in the World Forum in The Hague. The aim of this conference was to enhance international cooperation in the field of internet.