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The crucial phase begins for the 'Spanish Blue Team' during 'Locked Shields 2023'.

Retamares, Madrid
April 18, 2023
  • The Joint Cyberspace Command manages to coordinate efforts in the public-private sphere to resolve the tasks set out in this exercise.

The central phase of the 'Locked Shields 2023' exercise has begun, where the Spanish team led by the Joint Cyberspace Command (MCCE) will have to prove its full capabilities and show whether it has managed to overcome the shortcomings found after its participation in the 2022 edition.

In this mission, the JCCM is not alone; it has other partners, some from the civilian world, who are proving indispensable in tackling the threats posed by such a complex scenario as this exercise.

Bastioning a network requires multiple joint and coordinated efforts. It is the automatic and constant protection of any vulnerabilities that may be detected, from an incorrect script to the need to update certain software. In this line, the Command leads the coordination of all the elements that guarantee the development of this procedure. By means of a multi-stage monitoring process (detection stages and subsequent analysis stages), the vulnerabilities that a network may have are monitored and evaluated so that they can be solved as soon as possible.

This type of technical process is reflected in the physical protection of the critical infrastructure operating with networked computer systems, i.e. the entire infrastructure around us. Such is the importance of command and support.

These cells, called 'reporting', report and warn of those processes that can be updated. Because the scenario is initiated through poorly implemented operational systems, participants are forced to perform a huge updating task under constant cyber-attack, complicating their work and contributing to the development of tactics, techniques and procedures applicable not only to an LS exercise, but also in reality and day-to-day life. This advantage of cyber defence raises the possibility of creating scenarios that are very close to reality.

This is where the work of cyber intelligence begins. As with classic intelligence, the search for information and its subsequent analysis and dissemination are the cornerstones of this procedure. Thanks to the efforts of the cyberintelligence teams, two important documents are produced in time. The first, the intelligence report itself, is sent directly to Tallinn for management and analysis, and the second, the situation report, allows the geo-political information of the scenario to be updated based on the information detected by reporting.

The 'Locked Shields' action is not only limited to the complex technical framework, the world of communication strategy plays a particularly relevant role due to the multi-domain character of the scenarios posed in contemporary conflicts. The need to protect one's own narrative and to uncover fake news is the order of the day and, in this line, the Strategic Communications team draws on everything that happens throughout the exercise and passes it through the communications sieve.

The Command is undoubtedly well prepared for its responsibilities in ensuring the dominance of networks by our Armed Forces, as well as ensuring the security of sensitive infrastructure or vulnerable networks. If we add to this effort the support of public-private partnerships, the Spanish Blue Team is well on its way.