By Alyssa Menard, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
Dec. 21, 2012

NEWPORT, R.I. -- The U.S. Naval War College (NWC) International Law Department (ILD) held its first bi-annual International Law of Cyber Operations course in Oberammergau, Germany, Dec. 10-14.
The course examined the NATO policy and doctrine regarding cyber defense, the law governing cyber warfare by the U.S., and the laws that apply once a state has become involved in armed conflicts.

The seminar was comprised of presentations and exercises by noted academic professors -- to include NWC professors Michael Schmitt, Heintschel von Heinegg and ILD Navy Reserve Cmdr. Chris Fleming -- that focused directly on legal aspects of cyber operations today.

“An effective defense against cyber-attacks by individual NATO countries, as well as the alliance as a whole, depends on a common understanding of the range of responses that are legally permissible,” said Schmitt.

“Such an understanding not only permits case-by-case responses to cyber-attack, but more generally allows for robust advanced planning for defending against harmful cyber campaigns."

Forty-eight students from 18 nations attended.

One of those student was Oliver Aretz, a legal assistant to NATO's Airborne Warning and Control Force.

"The seminar did a great job of initially giving all the participants a common level of understanding about cyber technology,” said Aretz. “It did an even better job of explaining how the legal principles of the law of armed conflict fit into the cyber realm.”

The course, directed toward military and civilian legal advisors to the armed forces, intelligence community lawyers, and other civilian attorneys in government dealing with cyber issues, was piloted in collaboration with the NATO School and the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence.

Edited and posted by Dan Marciniak
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