Cyber Provisions in NATO Wales Summit Declaration

The Wales Summit Declaration released on September 5, 2014, by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Wales contains these provisions directly related to cyber security:

  • [72.] As the Alliance looks to the future, cyber threats and attacks will continue to become more common, sophisticated, and potentially damaging. To face this evolving challenge, we have endorsed an Enhanced Cyber Defence Policy, contributing to the fulfillment of the Alliance’s core tasks. The policy reaffirms the principles of the indivisibility of Allied security and of prevention, detection, resilience, recovery, and defence. It recalls that the fundamental cyber defence responsibility of NATO is to defend its own networks, and that assistance to Allies should be addressed in accordance with the spirit of solidarity, emphasizing the responsibility of Allies to develop the relevant capabilities for the protection of national networks. Our policy also recognises that international law, including international humanitarian law and the UN Charter, applies in cyberspace. Cyber attacks can reach a threshold that threatens national and Euro-Atlantic prosperity, security, and stability. Their impact could be as harmful to modern societies as a conventional attack. We affirm therefore that cyber defence is part of NATO’s core task of collective defence. A decision as to when a cyber attack would lead to the invocation of Article 5 would be taken by the North Atlantic Council on a case-by-case basis.  (emphasis added)
  • [73] We are committed to developing further our national cyber defence capabilities, and we will enhance the cyber security of national networks upon which NATO depends for its core tasks, in order to help make the Alliance resilient and fully protected. Close bilateral and multinational cooperation plays a key role in enhancing the cyber defence capabilities of the Alliance. We will continue to integrate cyber defence into NATO operations and operational and contingency planning, and enhance information sharing and situational awareness among Allies. Strong partnerships play a key role in addressing cyber threats and risks. We will therefore continue to engage actively on cyber issues with relevant partner nations on a case-by-case basis and with other international organisations, including the EU, as agreed, and will intensify our cooperation with industry through a NATO Industry Cyber Partnership. Technological innovations and expertise from the private sector are crucial to enable NATO and Allies to achieve the Enhanced Cyber Defence Policy’s objectives. We will improve the level of NATO’s cyber defence education, training, and exercise activities. We will develop the NATO cyber range capability, building, as a first step, on the Estonian cyber range capability, while taking into consideration the capabilities and requirements of the NATO CIS School and other NATO training and education bodies.

The statement that “[a] decision as to when a cyber attack would lead to the invocation of Article 5 would be taken by the North Atlantic Council on a case-by-case basis,” implies that a cyber attack could be a “use of force” or an “armed attack” as those key legal terms are used in the United Nations Charter.  While the terms “armed attack”, “use of force” and “cyber attack” remain undefined — and, crucially, when a cyber attack constitutes an armed attack or a use of force remains unclear  — the language suggests that cyber attacks which “threaten national and Euro-Atlantic prosperity, security, and stability” and cyber attacks whose “impact is as harmful to societies as conventional attack” would qualify as armed attacks or uses of force under international law.  Note that those definitions would leave open the possibility of cyber attacks which do not result in death or serious bodily injury nevertheless qualifying as uses of force or armed attacks, a point this author has argued for years.  I believe that actions in cyberspace might threaten national security to an extent that a military response is justified or even necessary, even if neither the cyber attack nor it reasonably immediate consequential damages result in death or serious bodily injury.

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One Response to “Cyber Provisions in NATO Wales Summit Declaration”

  1. […] Is NATO’s new definition of what constitutes an armed attack under Article V more bark than bite? That is the view of certain cybersecurity experts, according to a CNBC Report. The report highlights three main obstacles, discussed by those experts.  For more information on NATO’s declaration, read this recent post. […]

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Authors

Untitled Document
Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. She is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

Anna Maria Castillois 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography

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