Issue Brief July 16, 2019

Collective defense of human dignity: the vision for NATO’s future in cyberspace

By Christopher B. Porter

An alliance under tension, NATO today faces the challenges of burden sharing, a multipolar world full of old adversaries and emerging challengers. In “Collective Defense of Human Dignity: The Vision for NATO’s Future in Cyberspace,” Christopher Porter, a nonresident senior fellow in the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council analyzes member states struggling with diverging stances on cyber defense policy and planning—especially on the issue of Chinese investment and deployment of high-speed 5G cellular networks. In these challenging times, dialogue on these issues often devolves into allies talking past one another, without a shared basis of facts with which to frame the debate.

Nevertheless, Alliance members still share indisputable common cyber threats—Russian information operations, the possibility of catastrophic disruptions to the global financial system, and increasingly dangerous non-state actors—that all allied nations seek to work more closely together to combat. Moreover, NATO remains an alliance in search of a vision for cooperative action in cyberspace that can defend common values of human dignity and a desire for global peace, using methods that reflect the values of respect for the rule of law and state sovereignty. While Alliance stakeholders can agree on shared values and goals, a clear roadmap remains to be drawn up on how NATO intends to champion the collective defense of human dignity.

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Image: NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence Photo credit: ARRA3231/Flickr