Any organization that executes an operation or business function reliant on timely and accurate information, data, networks or communications systems operates in cyberspace. However, many of them never test their reactions to cyber-attacks to verify if they could operate properly during hostile circumstances. While organizations can exercise many different scenarios, there is a growing need to focus on assessing the effects of potential cyber-attacks on critical systems and data. Training how to mitigate their possible impact on the operation or mission is the next step.

With that in mind, the Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) hosted its initial cyber workshop between 6 and 17 November.

The event focused on the tools available to exercise cyber training objectives. It tested three currently used governmental and commercial cyber effects simulation products against a replicated JFTC training environment. The experiment showed the complexity of employing these solutions in a multi-warfare domain training environment such as the one at JFTC, and at the same time indicated opportunities it may bring.

Several future workshops will further these tools’ effectiveness as well as develop the exercise constructs to employ these capabilities. To be truly efficient in training response to cyber threats, this part of NATO exercises will progress in a “crawl, walk, run” fashion. This will allow training audiences to step their way from smaller “table top” type tests to complex multi-tier exercises in which operating in cyberspace will be commonplace.

 To fully integrate cyber into training, exercise planners must understand the types of threats the training audience would face in a day-to-day situation and then develop injects that will utilize those methods during the exercise. As complex as it may turn out while working with multiple nations, this will ultimately provide realistic aspects to an otherwise artificial exercise environment.


Story by Mr. Rick Newell, Joint Force Training Centre