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Cyber Security and Cyber Defense – Greater Protection Through Interministerial Collaboration

By Andreas Könen

Given the increasing threat scenarios originating in cyberspace, it is becoming increasingly important for states to incorporate cyberspace into their national security architecture. In 2016, the Federal Republic of Germany drew up a cyber security strategy that is designed to take present and future threats into account. The strategy mentions military aspects of cyber defense, stating that the defense capabilities of the German armed forces in cyberspace are a “key part of cyber security architecture.” Thus, according to the author, the establishment of the Bundeswehr Cyber and Information Domain Service (Kommando Cyber- und Informationsraum, KdoCIR) is an excellent strategic move for German cyber security.

Since the Bundeswehr relies on critical civilian infrastructure to maintain its operational readiness, the author argues that it is appropriate to develop effective mechanisms to protect this infrastructure even in peacetime. Könen’s essay briefly discusses the legal and organizational bases before detailing the need for close cooperation between different departments. The threat situation in cyberspace simply has to be dealt with collectively. As the security situation becomes more complex, technical evaluations of cyber activities have to be viewed in context with the foreign policy and military situation, in order to provide a comprehensive assessment of the danger.

For the most extreme case – Könen emphasizes this – the technological capability should be available to isolate or completely shut down attacker systems. He believes this is a necessary condition for active cyber defense, and it would be important to specify threshold criteria and establish decision-making processes. But the necessary debate has only just begun..

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