Russia’s interference in U.S., European elections could be “act of war” – NATO commander.
General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, has said that Russian cyberattacks on NATO member states could be deemed an act of war and trigger the principle of the military alliance’s collective defense.
Bradshaw said reports of Russian interference in American and European elections and Russian international disinformation campaign could lead alliance leaders to broaden the definition of an “attack.”
The Times notes that NATO’s founding treaty states that “an armed attack against on or more [members] shall be considered an attack against them” and allow member states to take any action deemed necessary in self defense.
General Bradshaw said the relevant article — number five — would be implemented “when it’s declared to be.”
“It is a political decision, but it is not out of the question that aggression, blatant aggression, in a domain other than conventional warfare might be deemed to be Article Five,” he told the Times.
Article 5 was used for the first time after the 9/11 attacks in New York. NATO has also invoked collective defense in actions related to the Ukrainian and Syrian conflicts.
NATO was created to counter the risk of the Soviet Union, using large conventional forces, expanding to Western Europe.
Now, decades later, NATO’s focus has shifted to address hybrid warfare, including cyberattacks and hacking.
General Bradshaw said NATO has “declared cyber as a domain in warfare, alongside air, maritime, special forces and land.”
“It’s a growing area,” he said, speaking at an event held by the Council on Foreign Relations in January.
“It is hard to imagine any future conflict that doesn’t include a substantial cyber element.
“It’s certainly a big part of our potential threat from both Russia and from Islamist extremists.”
Bradshaw, who will become NATO commander later this month, said Russia posed a “hybrid threat” to NATO members.
“It’s not just the threat of overt military attack, but it’s a raft of other measures, including covert, paramilitary, and non-military activities, some of which will be coordinated by the intelligence arms of Russia,” General Bradshaw added.
“And we as NATO need to have our antenna tuned to the signs that this sort of hostile activity is going on.”
He accused the Kremlin of “showing a proclivity to disobey the rules of international relations” with its military incursion into Crimea and alleged backing for rebels in eastern Ukraine.
“We need to put in place thoroughly effective and convincing deterrence so that everybody knows where the red lines are,” General Bradshaw said.
Read the original article on Homeland Security Newswire.