NATO ENERGY SECURITY Center of Excellence

Execution of the Table Top Exercise Coherent Resilience 2022 CEPS

The Table Top Exercise (TTX) Coherent Resilience 2022 Central Europe Pipeline System (CORE 22-CEPS), organized by the NATO ENSEC COE, the CEPS Programme Office (CEPS PO) and the US Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), is currently being held in France. The CEPS host nations, each of which manages the network on their own national level, and partner US organizations with expertise on cybersecurity and protection of critical infrastructures are involved in the TTX as participants, alongside the planning organizations. Colonel Darius Užkuraitis, director of the ENSEC COE and officer directing the TTX, is thrilled to say that this is the first CORE exercise that the ENSEC COE organizes as a result of a NATO request.

The CORE 22-CEPS TTX focuses on the resilience of the CEPS in the face of cyberattacks and cyber threats. The aim is for the participants to assess the CEPS ability to mitigate the impact of a cyber-incident while managing to maintain continuity of operations in delivering volumes of fuel to military and non-military customers. The scenario covers 3 different stages going from peacetime to crisis and finally wartime. The participants have been divided into 3 groups to discuss the potential threats and solutions in each of the 3 stages from different perspectives: OT/IT technology solutions, Operational activity mitigations, and management and policy implications. According to Dr. Daniel Nussbaum, chair of the Energy Academic Group of the NPS and chief of the Evaluation Team of the TTX, organizing an exercise on a multinational basis, as it is the case for this TTX requested by NATO, allows gathering a large expertise across the many skills represented within CEPS.  That is, the participants of the TTX are highly qualified.

Indeed, beyond the typical actors of a TTX including evaluators and a training audience, the CEPS authorities managed to join CEPS expertise with cybersecurity expertise in focused discussions over several days to increase awareness on the cyber threat on military logistics system and the necessity to codify a sustainable CEPS cybersecurity strategy and policies. Mr. Marc Thoreson, Programme Manager of the CEPS and officer conducting the TTX, considers that the CEPS must continue to sustain its operational readiness and meet its mission requirements while continuously improving organizational cyber hygiene and leveraging all available cybersecurity capability to mitigate and respond to the ever-increasing cyber threat.

The exercise planning started in November 2021, with several planning conferences taking place at the CEPS PO facilities in France.

This TTX is part of the CORE exercises series that started in 2014. These exercises focus on the resilience of energy infrastructure and energy supply in a range of regions, countries and systems. The previous TTX were based on scenarios happening in the Baltic States, Ukraine and the Black Sea as well as the Caucasus region. The US NPS has been a strategic ally of the NATO ENSEC COE, supporting the organization of such exercises for the last 5 years. CORE 22-CEPS is the first TTX that is co-sponsored by two organizations related to NATO, the NATO ENSEC COE and the CEPS PO.