Defense commissioner calls for broad debate on cyber attacks

defense commissioner calls for broad debate on cyber attacks

The german parliament’s defense commissioner, hans-peter bartels, considers a broad debate on future reactions of the german armed forces to cyber attacks necessary.

Experts outside military leadership and politics should also be involved in this, bartels told the deutsche presse-agentur. Rough knowledge had to be built up. "You have to know what you’re talking about," bartels demanded. Still, he said, much is unclear.

Cyber attacks on states and important parts of the infrastructure are considered a considerable danger and can come from enemy states, state-supported hacker gangs or organized crime. Lack of clarity about authorship can complicate responses, such as disrupting hostile IT systems. The bundeswehr is currently building up its own capabilities in the so-called cyber and information space (CIR) in order to be able to respond to dangers.

"This is still worth a debate, if possible also involving people who are not experts because they can say cyber without any accidents, but who need a deeper understanding of the things that are technically possible," the defense commissioner said.

Retaliation is probably not the only response to cyber attacks. "We must see that we organize a debate as knowledgeable as possible. The defense ministry can play a role in this, but so can scientists or writers who develop scenarios."

According to bartels, the modernization of the bundeswehr and the procurement of missing equipment are moving in the right direction. For the armed forces, however, it is a double burden at the moment to manage foreign missions and to be able to meet the increased demands of NATO’s national defense.

"This is being reinstated, but the material is still missing. I can only reiterate what the last annual reports have also always addressed. The giant gulps are still there," said bartels. But: "there is light to be seen, and that is also not the accommodating train, but the improvement of the situation."So money is spent on new projects. "But the soldiers suffer from the fact that they now have to shoulder a double burden with the same level of equipment that was already too little for the old situation, when there were only foreign deployments. Today it’s about foreign operations plus collective defense."

Bartels also spoke out in favor of better monitoring the success of foreign deployments of the german armed forces. "What we don’t have so far is an evaluation, for example, of the afghanistan mission at the national level or at the nato level."

There was also a need for a fundamental debate on security policy every four years, which would have to be conducted "regularly and systematically" and not along the lines of individual decisions on foreign deployments. "It would be good if the federal parliament could have a rough discussion on the super security of the federal republic of germany once in the election period. Perhaps on the basis of a women’s book to be submitted every four years," he said. Every government should prepare such a book of women.

But the debate in germany is being conducted differently than in the uk or the u.S.A. "The basic difference is: we think in terms of structures that are supposed to avoid military being used at all. The anglo-saxons and our french friends think in terms of missions for which they need capabilities."


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