U.S. European Command participated in NATO’s annual Cyber Coalition exercise, which hosted 35 participant countries, the largest number to date, from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1.
Cyber Coalition 2023 expanded on lessons learned from previous exercises, emphasizing coordination and collaboration among EUCOM, participating Allies and partners under NATO’s oversight. The exercise's main focus was to simulate responses to cyber threats and enhance our cyber defense posture. This involved testing NATO's capability to request cyberspace operations resources and the capacity of exercise participants to deliver them.
“We use technical challenges to trigger the coordination and collaboration within and between our military and civilian cyberspace stakeholders,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Charles Elliott, Cyber Coalition exercise director. “The considerable number of participating Allies and partners increases the exercise complexity helping us to better identify capability gaps and comprehensively test new cyberspace operations procedures.”
The annual exercise was conducted from Tallinn, Estonia, a leading NATO Ally known for its extensive digitization efforts throughout its nation and functioned as the central command and control center. All participating countries participated in the training remotely. Exercise activities included training on the application of international law in cyberspace, validating cyberspace warfare development products and experimenting with new tools.
“Consistently working with our NATO Allies and partners to identify vulnerabilities on their government-operated networks aids in our own cyberspace preparedness through enhanced information-sharing relationships,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. James Cleet, USEUCOM deputy director of operations. “These exercises provide us a comprehensive opportunity to bolster collective cyberspace capabilities and are foundational to our overall security commitment to the NATO Alliance and global partners.”
Another key U.S. participant included the 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) providing exercise planning and execution support. Sixteenth Air Force was created to seize and maintain the initiative in the information environment, especially the cyber domain and regularly participates in global cyber and information warfare exercises to prepare for crisis and conflict.
"This fantastic opportunity allowed us to collaborate, share and effectively integrate cyber security capabilities. We successfully operated across four time zones, assessed each other's capabilities, and strengthened our great relationships with NATO allies and partners," said Candace Sanchez,16th Air Force senior joint cyber exercise planner.
The insights garnered from the Cyber Coalition 2023 exercise, including observations, in-depth analysis, and valuable feedback, play a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of future doctrine development, capability enhancements and informed decision-making processes.
U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) is responsible for U.S. military operations across Europe, portions of Asia and the Middle East, the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean. USEUCOM is comprised of more than 65,000 permanent military personnel supported by rotational forces and DoD civilians working closely with NATO Allies and partners. The command is one of two U.S. forward-deployed geographic combatant commands headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. For more information about USEUCOM, visit www.eucom.mil.