Adriatic cyber exercise enables multinational cooperation to mitigate, defend threats

The exercise aimed to enhance the participants' ability to identify and address cyber threats, while also highlighting the value of the relationships developed among state partners.


"To be able to protect [the cyber domain] and to provide sovereignty in cyberspace we need to cooperate with our allies.” - Slovenian Col. Flisek
By U.S. European Command Public Affairs United States European Command Baron Andrej Čehovin barracks in Postojna, Slovenia Jul 09, 2024
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Slovenia hosted the Adriatic Regional Cyber Cooperation Exercise in Postojna from June 24 to July 4, 2024, bringing together cyber professionals from neighboring nations and U.S. National Guard State Partnership Program counterparts in a bid to strengthen cyber security cooperation.

The exercise aimed to enhance the participants' ability to identify and address cyber threats, while also highlighting the value of the relationships developed among state partners and the benefits of threat information sharing to inform a multinational defense posture.

“Cyber security is a critical component of national security and defense of critical infrastructure, requiring a collective effort among like-minded nations to cooperate in the cyber domain, share actionable details regarding cyber threats and invest in cyber personnel,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John H. Phillips, director for U.S. European Command’s Cyber Directorate, who attended the final day of the exercise. “I commend our Slovenian counterparts for organizing this important engagement that strengthens our collaboration in the cyber environment to mitigate and defend threats.”

The event consisted of one week of cyber training, followed by one week of exercise execution. During execution, state partners formed teams to defend their respective networks from simulated cyber-attacks. Teams focused on identifying, assessing and recommending mitigations and response actions for each attack, and challenged participants to respond effectively and coordinate their efforts.

“Cyberspace as a newest operational domain presents new challenges to all of us. [The] Slovenian Armed Forces are training to be prepared for the defense in all of the domains, also in the cyber domain. To be able to protect it and to provide sovereignty in cyberspace we need to cooperate with our allies,” said Slovenian Armed Forces Col. Samo Flisek, chief of the General Staff’s Computer Information Systems and Cyber Defense Division. “Exercises like this one present great opportunity to share and gain new knowledge and get experience in providing cyber security for our communication and information systems.”

The State Partnership Program is a key component of the U.S.’ strategy to build relationships and promote cooperation with Allies and partners around the world. The program pairs National Guard units with the military forces of partner nations, allowing them to work together on a wide range of activities including training, exercises and humanitarian assistance.

Participating nations, and their U.S. National Guard state partners, included: Slovenia and Colorado, Kosovo and Iowa, Montenegro and Maine, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Maryland, Croatia and Minnesota, Albania and New Jersey. North Macedonia cyber professionals participated sans their Vermont National Guard counterparts.

The Adriatic Regional Cyber Cooperation Exercise is the follow-on event to successful Adriatic Thunder Exercise, which was held in Croatia in 2021 and included Kosovo and U.S. participation.

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