View/Download Video of Senator Rosen’s Questions HERE
WASHINGTON, DC – During a hearing today of the Senate Armed Services Committee, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) spoke with General Tod D. Wolters, Commander of United States European Command, about defending against Russian cyber threats to Ukraine and NATO, including when a cyberattack may trigger NATO to invoke Article 5, the Alliance’s collective defense clause.
Senator Rosen has been a leader in calling for strengthening America’s cybersecurity in light of increased Russian cyber threats. This month, she has introduced bipartisan bills to bolster cybersecurity for hospitals and health centers and the Department of Veterans Affairs in order to protect Americans’ sensitive personal information. Earlier this month, Senator Rosen led a bipartisan group of 22 senators in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas asking for a briefing on what the Department is doing to protect the United States from possible Russian cyberattacks.
BELOW IS AN EXCERPT OF THE EXCHANGE:
ROSEN: Russia has launched malicious cyberattacks to target Ukraine’s infrastructure and government networks while also utilizing disinformation to falsely paint Ukraine as a “Nazi regime.”
General Wolters, I have a three-part question for you on Russian hybrid warfare threats.
First, have Russian cyberattacks compromised Ukrainian command and control?
Second, do we have adequate strategies for countering Russia’s information operations in eastern Ukraine?
And third, given that NATO in 2014 declared that a cyberattack could lead to the invocation of Article 5, in your view, what should be the threshold for a Russian cyberattack that could lead to invoking Article 5?
WOLTERS: Senator, the first question that has to do with Ukrainian [command and control], I think most of us have seen in the public domain that Ukrainian [command and control] is currently in place from a whole-of-government perspective on Ukraine’s part all the way down to the military.
So, I would contend that Russia has been very challenged in that area, and Ukraine has continued to be successful.
I think the strategic implications are profound, and I believe when we examine what has taken place up to this point, and write books about it in the future, we’ll look back and conclude and be comfortable with the fact that — from a U.S. perspective and NATO perspective — improved our tactics, techniques, and procedures as they contribute to a campaign in the area of offensive cyber and defensive cyber as well as the manipulation of how information comes out and how we can ensure that the truth still gets to the appropriate point.
I would just say that when it comes to what NATO does to declare an Article 5, as a military commander, what I’m responsible for is ensuring that we have all of the facts, and as you well know, Senator, we typically wind up in situations to where the next day after we quickly discover that we didn’t have all the facts.
What I would owe the North Atlantic Council and NATO so that they can make the appropriate decision is to give as many of those facts as I can and provide my best military advice to the North Atlantic Council that would be responsible for making that decision — all thirty nations — about whether to enact Article 5.
In situations like this, when it comes to cyber, it’s very difficult to get the facts, and you have to work hard to make sure that you get those, and that would be my responsibility at the time when that would occur.