The CSS Blog Network

The Swedish Counter-Intelligence Report on Hostile Russian Activities in the Region in a Comparative Context

IBM Blade Center with two HS22 and twelve HS21 Blade servers installed. Courtesy Bob Mical/Flickr

This article was originally published by PISM on 24 March 2016.

The Swedish counter-intelligence service’s latest annual assessments highlight the growing interest of Russian intelligence in Sweden’s national security issues. Soon after the publication of the unclassified version of the report, a series of cyberattacks on Swedish media took place. The increase in hostile Russian intelligence activities has been seen as connected to a public debate about the prospects for closer relations between Sweden and NATO. The U.S. perception of the Russian threats presented by Sweden’s counter-intelligence services does not deviate from public assessments by other Scandinavian countries’ assessments. This might suggest that the increased Russian activities are part of some broader strategy concerning Northern Europe.

On 17 March 2016, the Swedish Security Service (Säkerhetspolisen, or SÄPO) published an unclassified version of its annual assessment of intelligence and terrorist threats. The chapter on Russian disinformation and psychological operations stirred public interest and was followed by a series of coordinated and massive cyberattacks (DDoS-style, or “distributed denial of service”) on a number of websites in Sweden. A DDoS attack on 19 March resulted in seven of the main Swedish newspapers’ internet portals being unavailable.

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The Paradox of EU Defence Policy

EU and NATO Flags

Polish, EU and NATO Flags, courtesy Pawel Kabanski/Flickr

This article was originally published by European Geostrategy on 9 March 2016.

There is a paradox at the heart of EU defence policy. On the one hand the strategic demand for a more active and effective EU defence policy has been growing in recent years, mainly due to the increasing number of complex security crises in Europe’s neighbourhood. On the other, political interest in member-state capitals in EU defence policy has been declining. If this strange dichotomy continues, it will demonstrate the increasing irrelevance of EU defence policy for international security, and will hamper the ambition of the EU global strategy to have a full-spectrum set of foreign policy instruments and more comprehensive foreign policies.

Growing strategic demand

It has become obvious to say that the EU faces a number of security crises in its broad neighbourhood. This is not to say that the EU does not have global security interests, it does, for example maritime security in East Asia. But its role in East Asian security is likely to remain mainly a non-military one. In contrast, the EU’s extended neighbourhood is currently very turbulent, and crises there are causing a number of internal security challenges, such as the refugee crisis and terrorist attacks. » More

The Return of Conventional War?

Kuwaiti tanks

Kuwaiti tanks. Photo: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/flickr.

What future scenarios should NATO be prepared once the final US-led troops have withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2014? Will a new array of threats reinforce the importance of ‘conventional’ military thinking and planning in the United States and Europe? These were among the questions raised at The Return of Conventional War?, a panel discussion hosted on 11 September by our parent organization, the Center for Security Studies (CSS).

In the following podcast, the guest panelists outline their respective positions on prospects for the return of conventional war and strategic planning. The CSS’ Martin Zapfe is convinced that after 13 years in Afghanistan and Iraq, Western militaries will increasingly turn to the more ‘conventional’ challenges posed by the likes of China and Russia. The Institute for Security Policy Kiel’s Joachim Krause sees no point, however, in thinking about conventional threats to security. Instead, the West should continue to focus upon the myriad threats and security challenges that actually exist today. » More

What Are Security Professionals Thinking?

From Monday the 19th to Friday the 23rd of March, our partners at the Security and Defense Agenda (SDA) organized Security Jam 2012. Over the course of these five days, thousands of experts, representatives of national governments and armed forces, international institutions, NGOs, think-tanks, industry, academia and members of the media took part in a massive online brainstorming session focused on finding real solutions to global security issues. The numbers speak for themselves: during the event, there were 17,000 logins from some 3,000 participants and 50 VIPs spanning 115 countries.

The SDA gave its partner institutions the opportunity to submit some short questions that were published as online polls during the event.  Especially considering the high profile of some of the participants, it is interesting to see what security professionals are thinking about some of the most pressing issues on the security agenda. Below we present the results of five of the most interesting polls. » More

What Did We Learn From Jamming? (Part 2)

Security Jam: Brainstorming Global Security

This is the second part of the ISN report on Security Jam 2012 presenting the most interesting ideas discussed in last four forums. You can find the first part here.

Facing the Cyber-Challenge

Cyberspace has permeated nearly all aspects of modern life and the security concerns that arise as a result have been the topic of the forum. It was no surprise that this forum had the most threads – 84 in total.

As Jammers pointed out, ‘cyberspace is so much to so many’ and there is general agreement that much needs to be done to achieve and maintain cyber safety.  Since we need to start from somewhere, however, the question remains:  Who should take the lead? The UN, EU, NATO, industry, NGOs or nations?  As one question arises, others follow:  At what level does a cyber-attack become so serious that we could feel justified in retaliating with cyber or other weapons, or in trying to hunt down the aggressor and subject him to some form of punishment or make him pay compensation for the harm which was done? » More

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