NATO CCDCOE welcomes Ukraine, Japan, Iceland and Ireland as members

nato ccdcoe ukraine japan ireland iceland cybersecurity security infosec members

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NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) celebrated its 15th anniversary by welcoming Ukraine, Japan, Iceland, and Ireland as new member nations. 

The CCDCOE’s headquarters in Tallinn raised the flags of each nation, signifying their integration into the cyber defense family. The inclusion of these nations is expected to enhance cooperation, knowledge sharing, and collective efforts in addressing cyber threats.

CCDCOE Director Mart Noorma expressed gratitude for the decision of Iceland, Ireland, Japan, and Ukraine to join. He emphasised the importance of like-minded nations coming together to combat cyber threats systematically. The primary goal is to foster increased cooperation, conduct research, provide training, and engage in cyber defense exercises.

Estonian Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur congratulated CCDCOE on its evolution from a small team to the largest NATO center of excellence. He extended a warm welcome to the new member nations, emphasising the unique opportunity for Ukraine to contribute to its defense while also learning from cyber threats in an active war to enhance the cybersecurity of all members.

At the onset of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, a cyberattack was launched against satellite operator Viasat to disrupt Ukraine’s communications. Spillover from the attack impacted wind turbines in Germany. Had the spillover put lives at risk, it would likely have triggered a collective response from the wider NATO alliance.

During a UN General Assembly meeting, Russian foreign ministry spokesman Konstantin Vorontsov said that satellite use “constitutes indirect participation” in the war and that “quasi-civilian infrastructure may become a legitimate target for retaliation.”

Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna praised CCDCOE for its international projects over the years, including the cyber defense exercise Locked Shields and the annual conference CyCon.

Tsahkna highlighted the significance of the Tallinn Manual, which has been instrumental in upholding international law in cyberspace for over a decade. He expressed his wishes for the long-term success of CCDCOE with its new members, emphasising the strength of unity.

The new member nations also shared their statements regarding their inclusion in CCDCOE.

Ireland’s Minister of State for European Affairs and for Defense, Peter Burke, emphasised the importance of Ireland’s membership in developing cyber security capacity. He acknowledged the transformative power of the digital age but also the risks it poses, necessitating collective defense against malicious cyber activities.

Ambassador Harald Aspelund of Iceland emphasised Iceland’s priority of strengthening cyber resilience, security, and defense. Joining CCDCOE allows Iceland to contribute to and learn from the community of knowledge, ultimately enhancing collective security.

Japan, represented by Chargé d’Affaires ad interim SAKAI Yuki, highlighted its commitment to strengthening response capabilities in the cyber domain. Japan aims to contribute to the CCDCOE, strengthen cooperation with NATO and like-minded countries, and defend international order based on universal values and international law.

Ambassador Mariana Betsa of Ukraine regarded the inclusion of Ukraine in CCDCOE as a landmark event in the country’s relations with NATO. With ongoing Russian aggression and hybrid warfare, Ukraine’s participation in CCDCOE is expected to bolster its cyber capabilities and enhance the exchange of direct experience in the field of cybersecurity.

The CCDCOE’s expansion to include these new member nations signifies the growing recognition of the importance of international collaboration and collective efforts in combating cyber threats.

With their expertise and contributions, the CCDCOE is poised to continue its valuable work in cyber defense and resilience.

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