Cyber Coalition Executed from CR14 in Tallinn First Time Ever

NATO’s flagship exercise for improving collaboration within the alliance’s cyberspace domain, Cyber Coalition 2021, was executed today from the cyber competence centre CR14, which provides the virtual environment on its NATO Cyber Range for playing through technical scenarios.

Cyber Coalition 2021

The chairman of the supervisory board at CR14, Andri Rebane, noted that it is a great honour to host an exercise at CR14 that helps strengthen the alliance’s ability to deter, defend and counter threats in cyberspace. “It’s a clear sign that the CR14 Foundation is a high-level training and competence centre,” Rebane added.

He said that the foundation offers a unique opportunity to bring together civilian and military cyber domains, allowing us to practice in a real-life environment. “It’s not common that a large-scale NATO exercise can be carried out in the city center and not in a closed-off military base,” Rebane noted.

The foundation was established early this year and is based on more than ten years of cyber range experience with cyberspace training, exercises, testing, validation and experimentation.

Cyber Coalition 2021 Exercise Director, Commander Graeme Rook, said that for this year’s exercise, we look forward to achieving an exciting number of firsts: we are sited in a brand new venue, the excellent Cyber Range at Tallinn; we have more exercise content hosted on the range than ever before; in contrast to last year, we are achieving a full physical execution against the backdrop of COVID-19; our experimentation program is increasingly sophisticated;

“Year-on-year, exercise Cyber Coalition remains a key contributor to warfare capability development through the setting of ambitious fresh goals,’ said Commander Rook and added that not to go forward is to go backwards – non progredi est regredi.  “It is an honour and a privilege to be trusted with the role of Exercise Director for such an important endeavour,” he noted.

The director of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) – also situated in Tallinn – Colonel Jaak Tarien noted that the CCDCOE provides the necessary operational, legal and technical expertise for the scenarios in the exercise. “The unique interdisciplinary approach makes it possible to create storylines based on real-world challenges in the cyberspace domain,” Colonel Tarien said.

He added that the exercise enables us to exchange first-hand observations on current practices handling cyber incidents and information exchange procedures. “By raising the level of expertise and practice, we directly enhance cyber resilience,” stated Colonel Tarien. 

The CR14 Foundation was established by the Estonian Ministry of Defence. It offers cybersecurity-related research and development for domestic and international partners. The cyber range at CR14 is a virtual environment for cybersecurity training and developing innovative dual-use technologies in cyberspace. It provides tools that help strengthen the security and performance of cyber infrastructures and IT systems, leading to secure and trustworthy products and well-educated personnel.

The NATO Cyber Coalition exercise has been conducted in Estonia for the last nine years. The Ministry of Defence, CR14 Foundation and NATO CCDCOE play a key role in organizing the exercise.   

What is the Cyber Coalition?

Cyber Coalition 21 is NATO’s largest annual cyber defence exercise, conducted by NATO’s Allied Command Transformation under the governance of the Military Committee from 29 November to 3 December 2021. The exercise will improve collaboration within NATO’s cyberspace domain, enhance the alliance’s ability to conduct operations, and provide input for the NATO Cyberspace Transformation. The aim is to bring together a cyber coalition of NATO bodies, allied nations and partners to strengthen the alliance’s ability to deter, defend and counter threats in and through cyberspace in support of NATO’s core tasks. This exercise tests the decision-making process, technical and operational procedures and collaboration, and NATO and national cyber defence capabilities.

The MoU signing ceremony at the Accelerating Decarbonisation and Digitalisation Conference in Singapore

CR14 helps to safeguard the seven seas

Maritime technology has been developing rapidly for some time now, with 80% of world trade transported by sea today. While we enjoy the fruits of that development, we must remember to fortify our defences to ensure they remain untainted. That is why we proudly announce that CR14 has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI), Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Tallinn University of Technology to jointly focus and collaborate on maritime cybersecurity R&D.

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