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NEWS | April 29, 2022

Opinion | NATO’s Credibility Is on the Line with its Cyber Defense Pledge. That’s a Bad Idea.


President Joe Biden has issued grave warnings that Russia might launch a cyberattack against the United States in retaliation for the punishing sanctions levied after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. He’s advised American companies to "accelerate efforts to lock their digital doors," and many officials expect an attack against critical U.S. infrastructure to be inevitable.



One way Biden and other Western leaders are attempting to deter potential Russian cyber retaliation during the Ukraine crisis is through NATO’s Article 5 collective defense pledge — that an attack on one is an attack against all. That’s because since the 2014 NATO summit in Wales (which, coincidentally, took place following another Russia-Ukraine crisis), the alliance has affirmed that Article 5 extends to cyberspace. In other words, a cyberattack against any NATO member could conceivably represent an attack against the entire alliance. The pledge is the embodiment of the allies’ security guarantee to each other and the beating heart of NATO.



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