At a two day meeting of defence ministers in Antalya, Turkey, this week, NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference yesterday that the alliance must adapt to the mixture of conventional military intervention, propaganda campaigns and cyber-warfare that it says Russia is using in Ukraine, a claim denied by Russia, despite NATO surveillance, including satellite images, verifying direct Russian involvement.
He added that: "Hybrid warfare combines different types of threats, including conventional, subversion and cyber."
Stoltenberg said he and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini had also agreed that NATO will increase its co-operation and intelligence sharing with the EU, commenting:
"We will ensure that the strategies we are developing are complementary, so that we can work together quickly and effectively in the case of a hybrid threat against any of our members”.....to "intensify NATO-EU cooperation in countering hybrid warfare". The aim of the cooperation is that in the event of a hybrid threat, there is clarity over who does what.
Mogherini said: "What is extremely important for us is a strong coordination... in particular when it comes to information sharing, when it comes to the new kind of threats we are facing all around us."
During the Ukraine conflict Russia has been accused by the west of carrying out cyber-attacks as well as saturating social networks with pro-Kremlin trolls.
NATO's military commander General Philip Breedlove, said Ukraine has been the target of a broader diplomatic, propaganda, military and economic campaign. Nato was perceived by many to have been unprepared for the unconventional tactics used by Russia in its annexation of Crimea and proxy invasion of eastern Ukraine, hence the need for better preparation, as other countries with Russian minorities, including the Baltics, are also seen as under threat.
Separately, at CyCon 2015, the annual NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence conference on Cyber Conflict which opens in two weeks, the focus will be on the construction of the Internet and its potential future development. It will ask what cyberspace is, will become, and how it relates to cyber security. A keynote speech will be provided by Admiral Michael S. Rogers, commander of the US Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency (NSA) as well as chief of Central Security Service.