NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with industry leaders in energy and communications infrastructure on Thursday (4 May 2023) to discuss NATO’s role in contributing to the security of critical undersea infrastructure and cooperation with industry. The Secretary General opened a roundtable discussion at NATO Headquarters between industry leaders and civilian and military experts across NATO. The talks focused on better understanding threats to critical undersea infrastructure and sharing best practices on cooperation and coordination.
NATO has been working on the protection of critical infrastructure for years. Following the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline last September, Allies have stepped up their military presence in the region. NATO has also recently created an undersea infrastructure coordination cell to map vulnerabilities, and coordinate efforts between NATO Allies, partners, and the private sector. A new NATO-EU taskforce on resilience and critical infrastructure protection has also been established.
“For NATO, protecting critical undersea infrastructure is essential to our security and defence because it is key to protecting the security and prosperity of our societies. Undersea cables carry an estimated 10 trillion dollars in transfers every day, two thirds of the world’s oil and gas is either extracted at sea or transported by sea, and around 95 % of global data flows are transmitted through undersea cables,” said the Secretary General. The Secretary General highlighted the importance of working with industry who build, operate and maintain this infrastructure in order to better enhance its security.