Statement by the Euro-Atlantic Security Leadership Group: Support for Dialogue Among Governments to Address Cyber Threats to Nuclear Facilities, Strategic Warning and Nuclear Command and Control

For the past three years, Des Browne, Wolfgang Ischinger, Igor Ivanov, Sam Nunn, and their respective organizations—the European Leadership Network (ELN), the Munich Security Conference (MSC), the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), and the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI)—have been working with former and current officials and experts from a group of Euro-Atlantic states and the European Union to test ideas and develop proposals for improving security in areas of existential common interest.  The Euro-Atlantic Security Leadership Group (EASLG) operates as an independent and informal initiative, with participants who reflect the diversity of the Euro-Atlantic region from the United States, Canada, Russia, and fifteen European countries.

We have crossed over to a new nuclear era in which cyber capabilities transform the nuclear risks.  Cyber threats make more likely the risk of human error and accidents, miscalculations, or blunders.  These risks are compounded by the potential for cyberattacks from state or non-state actors that can lead to the theft of nuclear materials or sabotage to a nuclear facility, false warning of a missile attack, or the intrusion into nuclear command and control systems.

The aftermath of a cyberattack could be catastrophic, involving a Fukushima-like disaster or use of a nuclear weapon, potentially impacting every nation in the Euro-Atlantic space. 

Reducing and managing cyber nuclear risks is an existential common interest for all nations in the Euro-Atlantic region.  Governments have a shared responsibility to work together to mitigate these risks.

Nations in the Euro-Atlantic region should engage in discussions for reaching at least informal understandings on cyber dangers related to nuclear facilities, strategic warning systems, and nuclear command and control.  These dangers should be urgently addressed to prevent the potentially catastrophic consequences of a cyber attack on a nuclear facility or war by mistake.

As a first priority, nations could work to develop clear “rules of the road” in the nuclear cyber world and explore mechanisms to develop and implement measures that reduce these risks. 

The nations in the Euro-Atlantic region are confronting a range of significant issues today.  But none should distract from urgently pursuing practical steps now that can reduce real and potentially catastrophic dangers.


Signatories to the Joint Statement by the Euro-Atlantic Security Leadership Group

Support for Dialogue Among Governments to Address Cyber Threats to Nuclear Facilities, Strategic Warning, and Nuclear Command and Control


Des Browne

Vice Chair, Nuclear Threat Initiative; Chair of the Board of Trustees and Directors of the European Leadership Network; and former Secretary of State for Defence, United Kingdom

Ambassador (Botschafter) Professor Wolfgang Ischinger

Chairman (Vorsitzender), Munich Security Conference Foundation, Germany

Igor Ivanov

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Russia

Sam Nunn

Co-Chair, Nuclear Threat Initiative; and former U.S. Senator, United States


Ambassador Brooke Anderson

Former Chief of Staff, National Security Council, United States

Steve Andreasen

National Security Consultant, Nuclear Threat Initiative; and former Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control, National Security Council, United States

Joel Bell

Chairman, Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership, Canada

Robert Berls

Senior Advisor for Russia and Eurasia, Nuclear Threat Initiative; and former Special Assistant for Russia/NIS Programs to the Secretary of Energy, United States

Philip Mark Breedlove

General (Ret), United States Air Force; former Commander, U.S. European Command, and 17th Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO Allied, United States

William J. Burns

President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, United States

Ambassador Richard Burt

Chairman Global Zero USA, United States

E. Buzhinskiy

Chairman of PIR Center Executive Board; Vice-President of RIAC; and Lt-General (Ret), Russia

General (Ret) Vincenzo Camporini

Vice President Istituto Affari Internazionali, Italy

Hikmet Çetin

Former Foreign Minister, Turkey

James F. Collins

(Amb. Retired) Senior Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, United States

Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola

Former Chief of Defence; former Chairman of NATO's Military Committee; former Minister of Defence, Italy

Ambassador Rolf Ekéus

Diplomat and Chairman Emeritus of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Sweden

Sir Christopher Harper

KBE, United Kingdom

James L. Jones

General (Ret), USMC; President, Jones Group International, United States

Roderich Kiesewetter

Member of Bundestag, Germany

Bert Koenders

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands

Łukasz Kulesa

Research Director and Head of the Warsaw Office, European Leadership Network, Poland

Imants Lieģis

Former Minister of Defence, Latvia

O. Faruk Loğoğlu

Former Ambassador to the United States and Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey

Hon. Andrea Manciulli

Head of Italy's Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Italy

Ernest J. Moniz

Co-Chair and CEO, Nuclear Threat Initiative; and former U.S. Secretary of Energy, United States

Ferdinando Nelli Feroci

President, Istituto Affari Internazionali, Italy

Professor Roland Paris

University Research Chair in International Security and Governance, University of Ottawa, Canada

Paul Quilès

Former Defence Minister; and Chairman of IDN (Initiatives for Nuclear Disarmament), France

Bruno Racine

Chairman, Fondation pour la recherche stratégique, France

Ambassador Māris Riekstiņš

Former Foreign Minister, Latvia

Joan Rohlfing

President and Chief Operating Officer, Nuclear Threat Initiative, United States

Sir John Scarlett

Chief Secret Intelligence Service 2004-2009, United Kingdom

General Igor Petrovich Smeshko

Former Head of the Security Service (SBU) (2003-2005), Ukraine

Stefano Stefanini

Former Italian Permanent Representative to NATO; ELN Executive Board; Atlantic Council Nonresident Senior Fellow; and Project Associates Brussels Director, Italy

Adam Thomson

Director, European Leadership Network, United Kingdom

Nathalie Tocci

Director Istituto Affari Internazionali; and Special Advisor HRVP Federica Mogherini, Italy

General (Ret) Dr. Erich Vad

Lecturer at the Universities of Munich and Salzburg, Germany

William Wallace

Rt Hon Lord Wallace of Saltaire, United Kingdom

Isabelle Williams

Senior Advisory Global Nuclear Policy Program, Nuclear Threat Initiative, United Kingdom 

Marcin Zaborowski

Former Executive Director, Polish Institute of International Affairs (2010-2015), Poland

February 16, 2018

Support for Dialogue Among Governments to Address Cyber Threats to Nuclear Facilities, Strategic Warning and Nuclear Command and Control