Strategy, Threat intelligence

Canada feeling heat to join anti-cyber warfare force

June 22, 2010

When it comes to living next to what former prime minister Pierre Trudeau once called “the Big Elephant,” some things never change. During the Cold War, the United States frequently pressured Canada to join its southern neighbor's nuclear deterrent plans; today, the same type of persuasion is being applied to get Canada to join an international anti-cyber warfare organization.

In June, William Lynn, U.S. deputy secretary of defense, was in Ottawa to gain support for the proposed plan.

Speaking to a group convened by the Canadian Conference of Defense Associations Institute, Lynn alluded to earlier cross-border alliances.

“The Cold War concept of ‘shared warning' in air defense can be applied to cyber,” he said. “The reality is that we cannot defend our networks by ourselves. We need to develop a shared cyber doctrine that allows us to work fluidly with each other and with our other allies.”

Lynn told reporters that he has already presented the concept to government officials in Australia and Britain and was scheduled to meet with representatives of New Zealand's government.

A Canadian national cybersecurity strategy was announced as a government priority in February, and Public Safety Canada spokesperson David Charbonneau says: “We anticipate launching this strategy in the coming months.”

Regarding a U.S.-led international cybersecurity plan, he says: “The government works closely with its allies in the United States and other international partners to better understand the cyberthreat environment and to collectively mitigate cyberthreats as they are identified.”

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