Washington is ready to use its cyberwarfare capabilities to counter alleged Russian cyberattacks in Europe and elsewhere in the world if asked to do so by its NATO partners, Katie Wheelbarger, US deputy assistant defense secretary for international security affairs, told reporters while traveling to a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, AP reported.
She added, however, that while working to strengthen the capacity of its allies and partners, the US will maintain control over its personnel and capabilities.
During their summit in July, NATO members agreed on the use of their cyber capabilities to protect networks and respond to cyberattacks.
Although cautious about the use of offensive cyber capabilities, they still said that a computer-based attack on an ally would trigger NATO’s commitment to defend its members.
On Tuesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, without elaborating, that the defense ministers would have a working session later in the week to discuss how NATO members can cooperate to counter such threats.
Last year, Stoltenberg announced that NATO defense ministers had decided to set up a Cyber Operations Center to adapt to the changing security environment as part of an ongoing effort to modernize the alliance's command structure.