Belgian Defence's new Cyber Command unit starts operation

The Belgian ministry of Defence sector has founded a Cyber Command unit. Its goal is to strengthen and develop the Belgian army's capacity in cyberspace. The creation of such a unit is part of Defence Minister Ludivine Dedonder's STAR plan.

The new Cyber Command should, among other things, support the missions of the General Intelligence and Security Service (ADIV-SGRS), guarantee the development of cyber capabilities and initiate cyber technology innovation. The aim is to grow into a full-fledged fifth component within the army. The command was created within ADIV-SGRS because of its intelligence gathering component.

Major General Michel Van Strythem is in charge of the new command. He points out several challenges for the next three to four years. A first challenge is preventive in nature, such as protecting classified information and creating awareness among the military. "We have to teach our soldiers to camouflage themselves in cyberspace," the major-general told some journalists.

In addition, their own networks should also be actively monitored. After all, future high-tech systems for the Belgian army - such as the new F-35 fighter planes, the MQ-9B drones, mine-fighting vessels, vehicles and frigates - will be integrated the operational network. Furthermore, Defence also wants to gather intelligence through cyberspace to get a better picture of possible threats. Finally, Defence must also be able to neutralise an attack through an "intrusive capability".

To achieve all this, Defence will bet on various partnerships, with research, industry and education.

The creation of the command was proposed as early as when Minister Dedonder took office in late 2020, after NATO recognised cyberspace as an operational domain, alongside air, land, sea and space.



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