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NATO 20/2020

February 10, 2021

Supersize cyber: NATO 20/2020 podcast

By Safa Shahwan Edwards and Simon Handler

 NATO should adopt a digital .2 percent policy whereby member states commit to spend .2 percent of their gross domestic product on cybersecurity and digital defense modernization. 

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About this episode

NATO should adopt a digital .2 percent policy, whereby member states commit to spend .2 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on cybersecurity and digital defense modernization, evoking the existing two percent guideline utilized by the Alliance for traditional defense expenditures. While some NATO members are awash in cybersecurity capabilities, others are not, preventing the Alliance as a whole from most effectively addressing adversaries increasingly focused on digital and information-centered threats. Cyber defense, collective response, adequate protection of current and future weapon systems, digital integration, leveling up Joint Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (JISR)—the debates about burden sharing are missing critical dimensions of digital transformation. NATO is grappling with how to navigate and operate in cyberspace and must follow strategy with resources.

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Key Takeaways

  • 1:18: Simon shares a broad overview of the idea behind adopting a .2% commitment on digital defense
  • 2:09: Simon talks about the three distinct categories in digital spending that they suggested NATO consider
  • 3:36: Simon explains why he thinks that now is the right time for NATO to consider the .2% commitment on digital defense
  • 5:17: Safa talks about the likelihood of the allies agreeing to a .2% of GDP defense spending pledge when the 2% target is already divisive
  • 6:51: Safa explains how NATO could convince other governments to commit to the .2% pledge
  • 9:30: Simon talks about how NATO could make this binding through consensus decision making
  • 10:27: Simon talks about how they would measure success since some countries are more digitally advanced than others
  • 13:16: Safa discusses if the .2% of digital defense spending should be counted toward the 2% regular defense spending pledge
  • 14:21: Safa talks about how NATO could take a more proactive role in terms of providing guidance and structure to member states in terms of how to best allocate finances toward digital defense
  • 18:51: Simon adds why he thinks it is now critical to add the financial aspect to digital defense
  • 21:07: Safa talks about what sets their idea apart from other pledges that NATO already has on digital defense
  • 24:55: Simon explains how the pledge could increase trust between members
  • 30:09: Simon considers if the new administration and the improved conversation about the 2% metric will provide an opening for a conversation about .2%

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NATO 20/2020

Oct 14, 2020

Supersize cyber

By Safa Shahwan Edwards, Will Loomis, Simon Handler

NATO should adopt a digital .2 percent policy whereby member states commit to spend .2 percent of their gross domestic product on cybersecurity and digital defense modernization.

Cybersecurity Europe & Eurasia

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The Transatlantic Security Initiative shapes and influences the debate on the greatest security challenges facing the North Atlantic Alliance and its key partners.

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