The NATO Allied Command Transformation and NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA) launched a new independent research project on Oct. 17 with the RAND Corp. to examine how to streamline the alliance’s cyber capability development and acquisition process, NCIA said Oct. 18

NATO said the project aims to define the challenges NATO faces as it adjusts its cyber acquisition processes and to make recommendations on how to address them.

The NATO-RAND project will include activities required to develop a report on the “Improvement of NATO Cyber Capability Fielding Process.” This includes analyzing current NATO cyber capability development policy; processes and practices and proposing short and long-term actions with a goal of permanent innovation; continuous engagement with industry and academia; and rapid identification of new requirements and acquisition of solutions, NCIA said.

“In an environment where technological advances move at pace, it is critical that NATO is able to field capabilities which are current and flexible. We are confident our research will identify options to help NATO meet this challenge–both now and in the future,” Hans Pung, president of RAND Europe, said in a statement.

“Through our work at ACT, we have already concluded we need a revised acquisition process that delegates authority, manages risk as opposed to eliminating it, and rewards quick delivery. This cyber acquisition study—unprecedented in scope—is a critical step toward achieving those aims, and I am pleased that RAND will lead it,” Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Lofgren, Deputy Chief of Staff for Capability Development at NATO’s Allied Command Transformation (ACT), added. 

Koen Gijsbers, the general manager of NCIA, explained that quick growth in commercial innovation with military applications in the cyber domain combined with the gravity and faster evolving nature of cyber threats are all driving the need to re-think how NATO acquires cyber capabilities.

“We very much look forward not only to the results of the study, but also to implementing recommendations to make our cyber acquisition process faster, more innovative, and more flexible so we can fully tap the innovative capacity of large and small companies and academia across the Alliance in support of NATO cyber defense,” he said in a statement

The final report is expected in January 2017.