Cyber Wargames

NATO is running its annual cyber wargame, Locked Shields, hosted in Tallinn, Estonia. The wargame centers on cyberattack exercises that test teams have to fend off under time pressure. The players include

cyber defenders from different NATO bodies and member countries with specializations such as communications, digital forensics, legal expertise, and recovering systems damaged from an attack[.]


This year’s exercise will focus on the “interdependencies between national IT systems….”

These are extremely useful, but especially in view of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, an additional element should be added, or an additional set of games developed, hopefully by the time of next year’s games. There must be a military element, or separate wargames set up that include the military, in order to emphasize and exercise the close integration of cyber and modern military systems.

That tight intertwining puts a premium on exercising the timing of a cyber attack with a military attack and the criticality of protecting the defending military’s cyber systems from being disrupted or knocked off line, as well as getting any of the defenders’ off-line cyber systems back on line. All of that must be achieved without serious disruption of the defenders’ ability to detect, respond to, and defeat the military attack. That’s the time pressure that matters.

One thought on “Cyber Wargames

  1. The US Soccer Olympic Development Program had a saying:
    * At speed
    * Under pressure
    * From an opponent
    * In a game
    Anybody can look good in a practice setting – how do you do when it’s real?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *