"Article 4The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.
Article 5The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security .
Article 6 (1)For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:
- on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France (2), on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;
- on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer."
Just imagineIn the geopolitical reality we all live, it is natural to look to what is going on in the Ukrainian theatre. Maskirovka was a central and mandatory Soviet Opsplanning term and means deception in the very broadest sense: What is true, what is artificial and what is wrong? No one in their right mind would suggest that Russia has not kept this modus operandi alive - both in the "old" analog domain and in cyberspace.
Then imagine the possibilities based on the following quote: "Military Experts believe a campaign of "ambiguous warfare" including cyber attacks, propaganda campaigns and using local irregulars to destabilize a country, would be designed to be deniable and stay below the threshold of "armed attack" that would trigger NATO's Article 5 mutual defense agreement."
Now what if....Interesting ....... But let's say, of course just as a hypothesis, that Mr. Putin found it convenient and effective for his end state to destroy one ore more of these dams (Norwegian) and thereby disrupt power supply, destroy homes, take lives and create fear with the help of a few TU-95s. I suppose that someone would start muttering about use of NATO Article 5.
And then; let us use the same hypothesis, but this time the attack vector is not TU-95s, but cyber weapons and the end state is the same. Are we then above or below the threshold for use of Article 5? If below: Why and what's the difference?
What is the threshold for use of Article 5 when a member state is attacked in cyber? How will NATO do the attribution and how will NATO respond - with cyber capacities or with kinetic capacities?
I quote from Wales Summit Declaration, issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Wales: "A decision as to when a cyber attack would lead to the invocation of Article 5 would be taken by the North Atlantic Council on a case-by-case basis."
All well, but for your enemy the main effort is highly likely not when the cyber weapon is planted or how it is planted, as long as it has desired effect on the target when he wants it to. Yes; stockpiling is possible in cyber space. Live with it.
Finally: What if enemy cyber weaponizing has already taken place inside infrastructure belonging to alliance member states? How much time will the North Atlantic Council need to do a case-by-case based assessment then?
Remember; in cyber the attack can be over and the damage done before you detect that it ever happened. There will not be any sound of tanks or smell of diesel.
Mr NATO Secretary General; where is the threshold for invocation of Article 5 in cyberspace?
Recommended readingAdmiral Jim Stavridis (Ret.) Supreme Commander of NATO (2009-2013) Only These Three Steps Will Enable NATO to Stand Up to Putin
Loren Thompson Cyber Alliances: Collective Defense Becomes Central To Securing Networks, Data
Siberian pipeline sabotage: National Security Council´s Thomas C. Reed documented the operation in his book, At the Abyss: An Insider's History of the Cold War.
Wales Summit Declaration, issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Wales.
Thanks to these people: My mentor, my "little sister", my father, Frank The Tank - and those that know I thank them.
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