With cyber security among the topics to be discussed at the Warsaw Summit starting tomorrow, there is a clear effort by NATO members to address the growing threat of cyber attacks. However, given the growing number of major hacking incidents and fears over Russian aggression in cyberspace, the United States has been slow to support foreign allies in strengthening their cyber security even though some U.S. efforts are increasing.
Recent allegations against the Ukrainian security services raises questions about U.S. and NATO efforts to provide security aid to the Kiev government to effectively deter Russian aggression, even as it remains important to protect Ukraine’s eastern border. The charges come to light as the U.S. Congress debates whether to significantly increase funding levels for Ukraine’s forces in the National Defense Authorization Act and NATO member states meet at the NATO Warsaw Summit starting today where they will discuss Russian aggression against Ukraine.
As digital technologies rapidly grow and the use of the Internet expands, so do the risks that accompany it. Cyber security capacity building efforts thus have become a priority, not only for governments, but also for the private sector and civil society around the world.
Since September 11, the U.S. government has overseen a massive expansion in Pentagon-funded aid to foreign security forces, moving from $800 million in FY 2001 to more than $10.8 billion in FY 2015. However, a string of reports and articles over the past year have highlighted serious concerns with these efforts.
As the United States continues to expand its military cooperation with France for combat operations to address Islamic extremism in Africa, another area the United States may want to collaborate with France is building professional military forces in Africa. Unlike the United States, France has a much more robust and cohesive system for providing military education to Africa’s militaries in West and Central Africa and a wealth of experience in providing this education. However, there may be some challenges in working with France.
A recent report suggested that if the current cessation of hostilities breaks down, as it appears to be doing, the C.I.A. plans to provide “more-powerful” weapons to “moderate” Syrian rebels. But this wasn’t the only recent announcement of a shifting policy to train and equip the Syrian rebels. This month, the Pentagon began a new program to train and equip Syrian rebels to combat Islamic State militants, but it’s still unclear if the program will be able to overcome the past problems.