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In 2014 NATO’s Centre of Excellence-Defence Against Terrorism (COE-DAT) launched the inaugural course on “Critical Infrastructure Protection Against Terrorist Attacks.” As this course garnered increased attendance and interest, the core lecturer team felt the need to update the course in critical infrastructure (CI) taking into account the shift from an emphasis on “protection” of CI assets to “security and resiliency.” What was lacking in the fields of academe, emergency management, and the industry practitioner community was a handbook that leveraged the collective subject matter expertise of the core lecturer team, a handbook that could serve to educate government leaders, state and private-sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, academicians, and policymakers in NATO and partner countries. Enabling NATO’s Collective Defense: Critical Infrastructure Security and Resiliency is the culmination of such an effort, the first major collaborative research project under a Memorandum of Understanding between the US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute (SSI), and NATO COE-DAT.

The research project began in October 2020 with a series of four workshops hosted by SSI. The draft chapters for the book were completed in late January 2022. Little did the research team envision the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February this year. The Russian occupation of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, successive missile attacks against Ukraine’s electric generation and distribution facilities, rail transport, and cyberattacks against almost every sector of the country’s critical infrastructure have been on world display. Russian use of its gas supplies as a means of economic warfare against Europe—designed to undermine NATO unity and support for Ukraine—is another timely example of why adversaries, nation-states, and terrorists alike target critical infrastructure. Hence, the need for public-private sector partnerships to secure that infrastructure and build the resiliency to sustain it when attacked. Ukraine also highlights the need for NATO allies to understand where vulnerabilities exist in host nation infrastructure that will undermine collective defense and give more urgency to redressing and mitigating those fissures.



Publication Date



Centre of Excellence-Defense Against Terrorism, SSI & USAWC Press


Carlisle, PA


critical infrastructure, CIP, CISR, CBRNE, cyber threats, weaponizing critical infrastructure, security risk assessment, crisis management


Defense and Security Studies | International Relations | Terrorism Studies

Enabling NATO’s Collective Defense: Critical Infrastructure Security and Resiliency (NATO COE-DAT Handbook 1)