NATO began its annual CMX crisis management exercise on Monday. The exercise, which will continue until Friday, is designed to practice NATO crisis management procedures at all levels of strategic policy and involves both civilian and military staffs in allied capitals, NATO general headquarters and its two strategic military command centres.
This will be the 18th CMX exercise to be carried since they began in 1992. As on previous occasions, it will be an internal command centre exercise during which no real forces will be deployed. As is to be expected for this type of exercise, any geopolitical scenario and events that may be generated are entirely fictitious, although they are based on plausible events from the current status quo.
This year, the so-called “Cyber Coalition-12” exercise will also take place alongside the CMX. Its purpose is to test NATO’s techniques and capabilities for cybernetic operations defence.
The two exercises, the CMX-12 and the “Cyber Coalition-12”, share the same fictitious scenario that reproduces an escalated threat based on chemical, biological and radiological attacks, including large-scale cybernetic aggression that would supposedly affect NATO and critical national infrastructures. Tackling this scenario requires Allied political leadership under advice received from military authorities within NATO and the technical cybernetic defence forces regarding the possible measures to be adopted in response to asymmetrical threats.
The International Secretariat of NATO, the NATO International Staff and its two Strategic Command Centres (Allied Command Operations, based at SHAPE, Belgium, and Allied Command Transformation, based in Norfolk, USA) will carry out the CMX-12 exercise in a joint fashion.
Besides the 28 member states of NATO, both Finland and Sweden will also take part in the exercise given that certain events in the fictitious scenario take place near their territories. Representatives from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will observe the most important aspects of CMX-12 and representatives from the European External Action Service (EEAS) will actively contribute in its completion.
In turn, the annual “Cyber Coalition-12” exercise will test the efficiency and effectiveness of collaboration within cybernetic defence capabilities and procedures. Together with the Allied countries, Austria, Finland and Switzerland will be fully involved this year and Australia, Ireland and Sweden will attend as observers, as well as the European Union Cybernetic Defence team.
The Spanish involvement in the CMX-12 exercise will serve to activate, implement and assess the National Crisis Management System within the scope of NATO, testing the national preventive systems and the mechanisms for consultation leading to the taking of decisions both domestically and internationally.
Leadership over the Spanish involvement in the planning, execution and assessment of the CMX-12 falls on the Chief of the Defence Staff (Spanish acronym: JEMAD), by delegation from the Minister for Defence. The Presidency of the Government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism and the Ministry of the Presidency will be involved in the exercise.