Estonia establishes cyber-command unit

The main task of the new command is to protect Estonia's cyber resources from attacks

A new cyber-command unit of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) became operational on Wednesday, uniting all the different authorities and departments within the competency of the Ministry of Defence. Mirroring larger NATO members, the new command will be tasked to combat cyber attacks that have been growing by as much as 20 percent a year. As well as defensive strategies, the unit will also develop offensive capabilities, though these won’t be deployed during peacetime. 

Operations of the new command will be scaled up until full operational capability is reached, expected for 2023. By then, some 300 people will be working under it. Some 60 new positions will be created, while the remainder of the staff will be drawn from EDF's existing resources. 

According to Minister of Defence Jüri Luik, Estonia's decision to introduce a cyber command specifically dedicated to identifying and fending off threats in cyberspace is only natural.

"Estonia is a cyber state, which also means there is a need to protect our systems both in the civilian and military fields... Every conventional war today always has a clear cyber dimension as well, which is why the establishment of a cyber command is a significant step toward ensuring Estonia's security," Luik said on Wednesday, adding that the new command will make the planning and organisation of Estonia's capacities in cyberspace more flexible and efficient

Commander of the EDF, Gen Riho Terras also stressed that the Defence Forces need to keep up with today's technology. "NATO has recognised the cyber field as a separate warfare environment, which is why several allies have already established cyber commands. Estonia's decision to implement a new command will give us new and better opportunities to continue at the cutting edge of this field," Terras said.

Almost 11 years on from the world’s first cyber war, Estonia is considered as one of the greatest global cyber security superpowers.

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