US call for Nato cyber-strike capacity causes division

Developing a Nato cyber-war capability and French opposition to joint nuclear planning are emerging as the main bones of contention in the debate on a new Nato “Strategic Concept,” to be adopted next month. The new document is to replace a 10-year-old strategy paper written before the Internet age and before France joined the transatlantic alliance’s command structure. The office of Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen drafted the new Strategic Concept and distributed it to the 28 member countries last week. It is to be adopted by consensus at the Nato summit in Lisbon on 19 and 20 November.

The Pentagon’s push for a Nato “active cyberdefence” is the most divisive issue so far, EUobserver has learned.

“Active cyberdefence is a very sensitive topic. Many experts have brought it up, that in order to have defence, you need some offence as well. I would be very surprised if Nato at 28 will find consensus to include it,” a diplomat from one of the Baltic states said.

Broader wording outlining cyber-attacks as a growing threat and the need for Nato to be “adaptable and flexible” in its capacity to react is a likely compromise.

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