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01 October 2010, 10:53

Report says cyber attacks should trigger NATO alliance

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According to a newspaper report, NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen wants to extend the definition of attacks which trigger activation of the alliance to include cyber attacks. This, according to a (German language) report in German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, is one of the proposals in Rasmussen's draft of the alliance's new strategic concept, due to be agreed at November's NATO summit in Lisbon. In future, under this proposal, NATO members would come together to defend against attacks in the virtual world as well as conventional military attacks.

Earlier this week, Rasmussen circulated his paper to the governments of the 28 members states, who are keeping it strictly under wraps. However, the newspaper has received information on the contents of the document from a number of sources, which report that Rasmussen spends eleven pages defining NATO's three core roles for the 21st century: collective defence in accordance with article 5 of the NATO treaty, promotion of global stability and crisis management.

Article 5 of the NATO treaty states that an armed attack against one or more member state will be considered an attack against the alliance as a whole and will be defended by the alliance as a whole. NATO has invoked article 5 only once in its history, following the terrorist attacks on the US on 11th September 2001.

According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung report, in addition to existing military threats and terrorism, Rasmussen's document describes additional dangers which the alliance needs to meet with deterrence and a common defence, in particular cyber attacks on computer systems in NATO countries. NATO should also, according to the document, guarantee security of energy supply by protecting infrastructure and transport routes.


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