The EU places great importance on cyber resilience and capacity building. Internally, the Union has built a robust legal acquis in relation to the resilience of critical infrastructures, the cornerstone of which rests upon the 2016 Network and Information Security (NIS) Directive and the 2013 and 2019 Cybersecurity Acts. This legal meshwork seeks to integrate cybersecurity into all elements of the supply chain and introduce soft law mechanisms like the EU cybersecurity certification scheme. In doing so, it harmonises national cybersecurity capabilities, cross-border collaboration and the supervision of critical sectors across the EU.
In the coming months, the Commission intends to add upon the existing cyber-acquis by introducing an array of new initiatives, such as the updated NIS Directive (the so-called NIS2), a proposal on a Critical Entities Resilience (CER) Directive, and a plan to launch a network of Security Operations Centres across the Union. The aim is to create a Union-wide ‘cybersecurity shield’ that will facilitate the detection of cyberattacks and provide an impetus for proactive action.
This internal buildup of capabilities is supplemented by the development of a specialised ‘cyber diplomacy toolbox’ that allows the Union and its Member States to address cyber incidents through various joint policies, from cooperation and stabilisation measures to restrictive measures and attribution.
The March 2021 Interim National Security Strategic Guidance
states that “[the US] will make cybersecurity a top priority, strengthening our capability, readiness, and resilience in cyberspace.” Following the recommendations
of the 2020 Solarium Commission, the US government has adopted the concept of ‘layered resilience’ and is gradually rolling out a comprehensive arsenal of resilience measures across a variety of domains.
The US has been active in engaging in strategically-minded capacity building with partners; US capacity building in Africa with organisations such as the African Union and SADC, for instance, have been largely motivated by Washington’s wish to promote an open, secure, and democratic model for Internet governance across the African continent.
In relation to cyber defence, there have been several joint operations and military exercises, both bilaterally (e.g. between the US Cyber Command and the Montenegrin military) and under the auspices of NATO. Recent regional engagement efforts such as the dialogues in the context of the tripartite AUKUS coalition and the Structured Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (the eponymous Quad) also heavily feature references to collaborative cyber-capacity building. In multilateral fora, the US has also welcomed the inclusion of confidence-building measures in the GGE reports and noted that, in order for CBMs to be useful, they need to be implemented at minimum on a bilateral basis and preferably on a multilateral and eventually an international basis.
In recent years, Albania has significantly expanded its capacity-building activities, modernising both the relevant institutional apparatus and the diplomatic outreach accompanying it. Since 2017, ALCIRT, Albania’s national CSIRT, has been given an expanded mandate and merged with the National Authority for Electronic Certification and Cyber Security (AKCESK). AKCESK is responsible for preparing strategic documents relating to cybersecurity, drafting legislation, collaborating with relevant stakeholders (international organisations, civil society organisations, the private sector) and providing training. [x
] Through AKCESK, Albania has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with several regional national CERTs (Kosovo, North Macedonia, Romania) and is currently negotiating similar MoUs with Serbia, Montenegro, Cyprus, and Slovenia. [x
] AKCESK also frequently collaborates with the Council of Europe in relation to incident response and awareness training. [x
] As a member of NATO, Albania signed the MoU with the NATO Cyber Incident Response Centre (NCIRC) on enhancing cyber defence in 2013 [x
] and has participated in numerous NATO-led training initiatives, including the flagship Cyber Coalition exercise. Meanwhile, increased emphasis has been placed on the protection of critical infrastructure, with a 2015 government paper stating that future actions will be focused on “the protection and resilience capacity of critical infrastructure” and on “encouraging operators that own them to implement a full security architecture (including risk management and emergencies)”. [x
] In 2020, Albania adopted its first-ever cybersecurity regulation for the electricity sector, which establishes incident reporting and assessment criteria for electricity operators. [x
] This was reportedly only the first of many planned initiatives intended to reduce the country’s cyber vulnerabilities and increase trust in digital services.