The JEMAD calls for the collaboration of the industry and the academic sector to enhance capabilities to face threats in cyberspace

  • Sponsored by Grupo TRC, the event was attended by the JEMAD, Admiral General D. Teodoro López Calderón, who urged all the players involved to join forces to face the threats present in cyberspace.
  • Julián García Vargas, president of the FEINDEF Foundation, expressed the need to analyze cyberspace from a national, European and collaborative perspective with public and private organizations in order to provide answers to the problems caused by this fifth domain.

Madrid, March 31st, 2023. FEINDEF Foundation has organized the conference "Cyberdefense and cybersecurity in today's conflicts", with the aim of seeking answers, promoting and raising awareness on issues related to the Security and defence of the State in cyberspace.

Fifth domain from a national and European perspective

The president of the Foundation, Julián García Vargas, opened the event by claiming that organized attacks in cyberspace, "the fifth domain", do nothing but delimit the democratic plans of societies and nations. In this sense, he stated that in order to preserve security and defence in this environment it is necessary to "work together" between public and private entities for the development of today's and tomorrow's solutions "that allow us to anticipate any threat".

Equally, García Vargas, who has highlighted the need to analyze this context from a national, European and collaborative perspective with other organizations such as ENISA (European Union Agency for Cybersecurity) or Europol, has referred to this conference as an important scenario for "providing answers to the problems arising from this fifth domain".

Collaboration between industry and academic circles

For his part, the Chief of Defence Staff (JEMAD), General Admiral Teodoro López Calderón, said that conferences such as the one held today are 'opportune' because of the actual situation. "This digital era is one of the greatest transformations, but it is also a driver of new areas of confrontation such as cyberspace, outer space and cognitive space". This last universe, which is characterized by being global, dynamic and in constant evolution, "is not free of threats and risks, increasingly sophisticated, professional and dangerous". For this reason, the JEMAD has highlighted the importance of "equipping ourselves" with capabilities -both defensive and offensive- with which to face them, for which it is necessary to combine the efforts of all the actors involved and to have sufficient material and workforce resources, as well as the necessary virtual training.

The FEINDEF Foundation, and the exhibition itself, "show us that it is not possible to talk about military capabilities without talking about industry, and vice versa". The General Admiral is confident that Feindef 23 will showcase new programs -such as the latest armored vehicles or intelligent ammunition, among others-, and a wide range of cutting-edge cybernetic tools that contribute to improve the Armed Forces' scope of action, because "as important as warships, armored vehicles or aircraft, are also digital capabilities, data management and software".

Regarding Russia's war in Ukraine, Emilio Rico Ruiz, Security Advisor of TRC Group -the company sponsoring the conference-, analyzed the conflict from the perspective of telecommunications and software. In this regard, he stressed that despite the "shocking" and unequal balance of forces, Ukraine's resistance to the conflict and the cyber attacks received is due, in part, to the "will to defend its territory and the availability of sufficient technological capacity, which has allowed the sides to balance".

The conference also included the participation of Rear Admiral Javier Roca, Second Commander of the Joint Cyberspace Command, who explained the operations carried out in cyberspace during the war in Ukraine; and the Head of the Cybersecurity Department of the National Cryptologic Center (CCN), Javier Candau, who focused on current and future cyber threats and national security.

Perspectives, challenges and opportunities in the national security system.

The round table "Cybersecurity in the national security system", moderated by journalist Enrique Andrés Pretel, was led by the main state institutions in the field of security and served to analyze the prospects, challenges and opportunities for the future in the cyberspace field.

Given the context of the 250,000 attacks on critical infrastructures that took place last year, Marina Rodríguez, head of the Cybersecurity and Anti-Disinformation Unit of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), argued that the war in Ukraine "did not catch us unprepared", but brought with it greater social and state awareness. In this sense, he has advocated for constant training and education, as the lack of talent can become a "diabolical spiral".

Likewise, Álvaro de Lossada Torres-Quevedo, head of the Cybersecurity Coordination Office (OCC), which reports to the Ministry of the Interior, maintained that, although a good level of technology management has been achieved, "the level of illiteracy in cybersecurity is still very high". At the same time, he listed the fundamental characteristics on which the national cybersecurity system must be based: "detailed knowledge of critical infrastructures; coordinated regulation that provides us with an appropriate governance framework and enables us to apply effective compliance measures; and greater awareness of the risk of using certain technologies". All this will not be possible without the " joint responsibility of the public", he said.

Finally, the Deputy Director General of the National Cryptologic Center (CCN), Luis Jiménez Muñoz, analyzed the process of Spain's actions during the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, when the different working groups began to analyze the implications of this conflict on our country's cybersecurity. "The level of national coordination was very good and allowed to know from the beginning the strengths and weaknesses of our cyberspace", which was also possible thanks to the "spectacular" response of the public-private sector.

To conclude, the Spanish special mission Ambassador for cybersecurity, Nicolás Pascual de la Parte, summarized the two fundamental aspects in this area, which are none other than the dissemination of knowledge and the importance of public-private collaboration.

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FEINDEF will provide unprecedented levels of access to the new European defense market, reinforcing the implementation of initiatives in the fields of: collaborative research, capacity development, promotion of investment in the European defense supply chain and creation of the Single European Defense Market.