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NATO's Preparedness for Cyberwar

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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The advent of cyberspace has created a new, unregulated dimension of warfare, which the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO has striven to manage. This thesis raises the following question To what extent is NATO cybernetically, politically, militarily, and economically prepared to respond to a major act of cyberwar against one or more of its members The thesis evaluates NATOs level of preparedness across seven areas cyber strategy, cyber cooperation, decision making, political will, crisis management, defense spending, and defense policy prioritization. The thesis concludes that NATO is moderately prepared to respond effectively to a major act of cyberwar launched against one or more of the Allies. NATOs implementation of its cyber policies and cooperative partnerships probably make it cybernetically prepared to address major acts of cyberwar however, challenges with decision making, public support, crisis management, defense spending, and defense policies could make NATO less than optimally effective in responding with force to acts of cyber aggression that rise to the level of a conventional armed attack. The thesis recommends that NATO enhance its efforts in cyber strategy development, cyber cooperation, decisional delegation, strategic messaging, and defense spending to address challenges resulting from the evolving complexity and heterogeneity of cyber incidents.

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Technical Report



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Approved For Public Release;

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