The US and Estonia sign an agreement for collaborative research in cyber defence

The United States Army and the Estonian ministry of defence signed an agreement on 14 September that will enable the two countries to conduct future collaborative science and technology efforts in cyber defence.

The Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center – a component of Army Futures Command’s Combat Capabilities Development Command – and the Estonian ministry of defence will establish a multi-domain operations, cyber domain working group to identify opportunities for interoperability experimentation and demonstrations, the US Army said in a statement.

“The working group will provide a forum to exchange information on the research of defensive cyber capabilities for multi-domain operations and improved coalition interoperability. Specific collaborative activities identified by the working group may be carried out under future agreements involving projects, equipment and material, and information exchanges,” the Army noted.

“This historic agreement provides the opportunity for two nations with substantial defensive cyber capabilities to leverage their respective cyber experience to drive new research and development to reduce cyber threats across the spectrum of conflict,” the director of the C5ISR Center, Patrick J. O’Neill, said.

Improving the mutual defences of both countries

The effort – which falls under a 2016 U.S. Department of Defense Research, Development, Test and Evaluation memorandum of understanding – is the first of its kind between the US Army and the Estonian ministry of defence.

The Estonian ministry of defence in Tallinn. Photo by Ave Maria Mõistlik, shared under Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 EE licence.

“The Estonian ministry of defence is very pleased to establish formal cooperation with the US Army’s C5ISR Center, adding another partner with increased knowledge and capabilities. Our countries are close NATO allies who share fundamental values. Our collaboration in the cyber domain will advance our common security,” the director of the defence ministry’s cyber policy department, Andri Rebane, asserted, according to the US Army statement.

“We hope that the knowledge generated from this bilateral relationship will not only be useful for the US and Estonia but also our other allies. With that, I am pleased to sign the terms of reference to begin this important work,” Rebane added.

The complementary research will explore tactical and strategic challenges to enable standardisation, rationalisation and interoperability while improving the mutual defences of both countries, Robert Kimball, the C5ISR Center’s senior research scientist for cyber security, said.

A cyber country of excellence

“Estonia is a cyber country of excellence with a robust cyber defensive system in terms of technology and people. Given their deep expertise, I believe they will have substantial lessons to share, which will be enormously helpful in finding efficiencies in our science and technology efforts while understanding how best to defend against cyber warfare,” Kimball, who noted Estonia was home to the NATO Cyber Defense Center and Cyber Range, pointed out.

NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn.

The agreement is slated to last until 30 September 2023, at which point it may be extended.

The C5ISR Center is the Army’s applied research and advanced technology development centre for C5ISR capabilities. As the Army’s primary integrator of C5ISR technologies and systems, the centre develops and matures capabilities that support all six Army modernisation priorities, enabling information dominance and tactical overmatch for the joint warfighter.

The cover image is illustrative. Photo by Shutterstock.

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