The investment will go towards improving satellite communications and cyber security technology
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) will invest 3 billion euros (£2.6bn) in upgrading its satellites and cyber defences over the next three years in order to respond to the new generation of hackers and cyber threats.
According to a senior official from the NATO Communications and Information Agency, €1.5 billion will be put aside for expanding satellite communications to better support deployed forces.
In addition, €800 million will be invested in the computer systems that control air and missile defences, €290 million will go towards cyber security technology and €180 million for advanced software.
The proposals also include €71 million to be used to improve the protection of NATO’s 32 main locations from cyber attacks.
NATO will open the bidding process for the contracts in April, after presenting the needs of its Security Investment Programme at a conference in Ottawa where it will hope to gain approval from the 28 member governments.
As NATO rules prohibit the use of Russian or Chinese suppliers, partly because “there cannot be content that does not come from NATO nations”, Western defence companies such as Airbus Group and Lockheed Martin will be the ones fighting for the contracts.
The proposed investment is a clear sign of recognition from NATO regarding the current threat landscape which has seen cyber criminals making increasing use of sophisticated technologies to target business and governments.
Nation state attackers in particular have become a recent focus recently after the Russian government allegedly manipulated last year’s US presidential election through multiple cyber attacks.
Many people in the security world have pointed the finger at the Russian government for meddling in the elections, prompting GCHQ to warn the UK’s political parties of potential Russian cyber threats.
British Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon also outlined how he believes Russian hackers are targeting critical Western infrastructure in a cyber battle that business and government are currently losing.