Poland leads NATO’s Cyber Coalition 2023 exercise

By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

On Monday, NATO’s annual cyber military exercise, Cyber Coalition 2023, kicked off with Poland taking a leading role as the regional command for the exercise. According to its spokesperson, this leadership position signifies the considerable trust that allies have in Poland’s Cyberspace Defense Forces (WOC).

The exercise, to run from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, is described by Lieutenant-Colonel Przemysław Lipczyński of the Cyberspace Defense Component Command as the largest of its kind globally. It includes participants from NATO countries, European Union institutions, and several partner nations such as Switzerland, Sweden, Ukraine, and Japan.

About a thousand specialists from dozens of countries are expected to participate.

During this year’s edition, Poland will serve as the regional command, responsible for planning and executing cyber operations for teams from Central and Eastern European nations, stretching from Estonia to Bulgaria. Lieutenant-Colonel Lipczyński highlights the exercise as a testament to the world-class level of Polish cyber warfare operators and the tangible results of investments in cybersecurity.

The exercise’s scenario involves a cyberattack on a fictional allied nation, focusing on real-world threats like cyberattacks on information systems, critical infrastructure, and supply chains. Lipczyński said that the exercise will test the appropriateness and functionality of response procedures and mechanisms, enhancing cyber resilience through collaboration.

Cyber Coalition 2023 also serves as an important venue for strengthening ties, experimenting, and exchanging experiences between different allied cyber defense and offense units. Given the rapidly changing nature of cyberspace, effective collaboration is crucial to meet current and future challenges in this domain, added the spokesperson.

The exercise, coordinated through the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, is conducted by participants within their respective countries. Since its inception in 2008, Cyber Coalition aims to bolster NATO’s ability to deter, defend, and counteract cyber threats and is orchestrated by the Allied Command Transformation under the guidance of the military committee.

The Polish Cyberspace Defense Component Command (DKWOC) was formally established in 2022 following legislative enactments for national defense. However, the groundwork for its creation began earlier, with the decision to form the WOC made in 2019, culminating in the organization and operational concept signed by the head of the Polish Ministry of National Defense, with General Karol Molenda appointed as commander.

The formation of this new military branch followed the 2016 NATO summit in Warsaw, where allies recognized the obligation to defend their cyberspace and acknowledged it as a new domain of potential military operations, alongside land, sea, and air.

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