US to offer NATO its cyber capabilities

US to offer NATO its cyber capabilities
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The United States plans to announce in the coming days that it will offer its cyber capabilities to NATO amid concerns about Russia's use of its own cyber capabilities.

“We will formally announce that the United States is prepared to offer NATO its cyber capabilities if asked,” said Katie Wheelbarger, the principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for international security affairs, according to Reuters.

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Wheelbarger also said the U.S. offering its cyber capabilities "sends a message primarily aimed at Russia,” according to Reuters. U.S. intelligence agencies have said that Russia conducted cyber campaigns against digital U.S. voting systems ahead of the 2016 election and that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee that year.

Wheelbarger added that Britain has led the push for NATO to increase its cyber capabilities, according to Reuters. The news outlet noted that NATO recognizes cyber as a warfare domain but hasn't previously provided further details on what that entails. 

NATO said last year that it was working on a “special doctrine” for cyber operations and helping member states bolster their cyber defenses.

“NATO is currently on its way to come to a better understanding and develop its thinking [of] how cyber defense is better reflected in both policy planning and military planning,” NATO executive Merle Maigre said at the time.

The Associated Press on Wednesday reported that the U.S. recently released a new cybersecurity strategy mapping out a more hawkish use of its cyber capabilities.

“We will conduct cyberspace operations to collect intelligence and prepare military cyber capabilities to be used in the event of a crisis or conflict,” the new strategy states, per the AP.