Five NATO nations March 14 formally launched the Multinational Cyber Defense Capability Development Project, supported by the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency as part of NATO’s Smart Defense initiative.

Under the project, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Romania will cooperate on the development of improved means of sharing technical information, shared awareness of threats and attacks, and advanced cyber defense sensors.

Ambassador Gabor Iklody, head of NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division, said: “NATO Cyber Defense Policy depends on such collaborative projects, because the only solution against the increasing cyber threat is a collaborative one. This is a very exciting project and an excellent example of the NATO Smart Defense Initiative.”

Canada is the lead nation for the project, the alliance said in a statement.

“Cyber is the area where the defense is vastly more complex and costly than the offence,” said Vice Adm. Robert Davidson, Military Representative of Canada to NATO. “This project is a game changer through which we can help each other to help ourselves.

The project is an important new step in the NCI Agency’s support to the development of national cyber defense capabilities and the improvement of the alliance’s overall cyber resilience. Through multinational cooperation, nations can develop advanced cyber capabilities in a collaborative cost effective manner.

Koen Gijsbers, NCI Agency general manager, said, “There are several benefits from a multinational approach to developing cyber defense capabilities: potential for cost savings through joint research, development, joint procurement for economies of scale, and a better end the result thanks to more diverse exposure. Finally, a capability developed in this way is ‘born interoperable,’ potentially saving significant investments in the long term.”

The flexible project offers the opportunity to accommodate additional work depending on national priorities. For example, he said, support to Rapid Reaction Teams, cyber defense training and education or exercise support packages can be created.