EDA’s Cyber Ranges Federation project, in which 11 Member States will federate their national cyber ranges and improve their respective Cyber Defence training capabilities, reached an important milestone with the completion of its first development phase (‘Spiral one’). With several EU Member States developing their own national cyber ranges, this project aims at developing a system to interconnect and federate them into a highly effective European network that benefits from the strengths of each participant.
The objective is to develop a more sophisticated and powerful platform enabling exercise and training planners to design more realistic scenarios relying on existing and interconnected capabilities. At the same time, it will allow users to improve their Cyber Defence skills by relying on an extremely effective environment. In addition to training and exercise support, the federated capability will also be beneficial for other activities such as research, modelling, simulation and testing. The sharing of knowledge and best practices is another objective of the project.
The Cyber Ranges Federation will be supported by a web-based Cyber Defence Training and Exercise Coordination Platform (CD TEXP), an EDA product currently in a test phase, whose capabilities will be extended to support the project. The EDA also provides expertise and support in Cyber Defence and other areas.
The first phase of the project, led by The Netherlands, was focused on developing formal requirements and a draft high level technical architecture to interconnect national cyber ranges. The requirements were produced leveraging knowledge and experience from all participant Member States, including military and academia representatives. NATO was involved in the first phase as an observer. In light of the 2016 EU-NATO Joint Declaration, additional ways for cooperation and coordination with NATO’s own capabilities will also be investigated by the project team in the next phase.
Second phase launched on 5 September
The second phase of the project (‘Spiral two’), led by Finland, kicked off on 5 September 2018 at a meeting in Helsinki (picture above). It will mainly focus on taking up the afore-mentioned requirements and implement them. The outcome will include the creation of a Community of Interest in which Cyber Defence training and exercise specialists will collaborate and improve the pooling & sharing of resources in this highly demanding domain.
Earlier this year, six Member States signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) confirming their intent to contribute with their respective cyber range assets to the project; other Member States are expected to join the MoU before end of 2018.
The success of military operations, including EU-led operations, is increasingly dependent on the availability of, and access to, cyberspace. The EU Cyber Security Strategy 2013 recognizes Cyber Defence as one of the strategic priorities of the EU and Heads of State and Governments decided in December 2013 that Cyber Defence should be one of four key areas for capability development. An essential element of EU cyber defence capability is highly skilled and well-trained personnel. Enhancing awareness and education of technicians, operators and decision-makers is urgent. Cyber ranges to support training and exercises are both essential and scarce. In the 2014 Capability Development Plan, the scarceness of cyber range facilities in support of Training and Exercises was recognized as an important capability gap that urgently needs resolution. The now established project serves to close this capability gap. Pooling & Sharing projects are an integral means for closing capability gaps in the cyber domain.