Torsten Bernstrom

Torsten Bernström

Vice President, Consulting Services

As NATO commemorates its 75th anniversary this month, it prompts reflection on its enduring principles and adaptability in response to evolving security landscapes.

Central to NATO's ethos is collective security, embodying the belief that unity fosters greater safety and strength. This principle is epitomized in NATO's Article 5, wherein member states pledge mutual assistance in the face of armed aggression. The recent inclusion of Finland and Sweden into the alliance spurs consideration on integrating new capabilities, not only in terms of military assets but also encompassing industry and civilian resources.

Throughout its history, NATO member nations have collaborated extensively, reaching beyond military realms to address broader security concerns such as economic resilience, energy security, and technological advancements. NATO Article 3 underscores the imperative of building resilience across national capabilities and fostering integration among alliance members, recognizing that the strength of the collective surpasses that of any individual entity.

In this blog, I elaborate on what I consider the most important elements of strengthening resilience in our societies, emphasizing the pivotal role played by industry, civilian organizations and the military to this effort.

NATO’s baseline requirements

Shaping a robust society necessitates attention to all facets, acknowledging the centrality of information technology in governance, energy provision, and essential services. NATO’s seven baseline requirements are what every NATO member must adhere to. This underscores the critical importance of secure IT infrastructure. The reason? None of these functions today can operate without IT governing the processes.

NATO Seven Baseline Requirements for National Resilience

In a collaborative endeavor, IT management experts contribute significantly to fortifying NATO's digital infrastructure, thereby ensuring uninterrupted service provision in critical sectors such as production and transportation, as well as the availability of essential supplies. Their presence across NATO countries enables the fortification of cybersecurity measures and the mitigation of current vulnerabilities in the cyber domain. Together with global partners, these professionals strive to bolster cybersecurity defenses, recognizing that collective efforts are essential in addressing potential weak links.

The importance of digital acceleration, cybersecurity and collaboration to the defense and intelligence industry is underscored by CGI’s own Voice of Our Clients research. Our findings highlight how defense and intelligence agency leaders across countries must embrace innovative models to work together to steer their organizations through ongoing change, including ever-increasing geopolitical events.

New technologies and collaborative networks are key to overcoming challenges

The challenges are many, but so are the possibilities derived from innovation in the industry sector. Long gone are the days where technical breakthroughs mainly came from large government industrial programs. Today dual use is in focus.

New technologies are now finding their way into typical military and civilian systems, both public and private sector. Looking ahead, the partnership between industry, and government and collaboration across national borders are the way forward.

In my conversations and work with clients, we discuss the opportunities to embrace and work toward NATO’s seven baseline requirements for resilience on a national level and within the alliance. The reasons are many, including:

  • NATO has a well-established structure for harvesting innovation in incubator hubs and programs that can be leveraged by NATO member nations.
  • Resilience in society is so much more than just protecting critical infrastructure. Through secure collaboration, we can analyze all dependencies large and small, physical or in the cyber domain, and work together to spot the vulnerabilities and fortify our defenses.
  • The NATO ecosystem provides access to talent, which is of the utmost importance. Diversity of talent across ages and experiences is key. Rotation between industry, government, and academia enriches societies within the alliance.

In November 2023, during the Industry Forum held in Stockholm, General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg underscored the indispensable role of industry in defense, highlighting the necessity for innovation and cutting-edge technologies. This sentiment echoes how we at CGI have a vision to foster a collaborative environment, resonating with NATO's commitment to collective defense.

As a longstanding partner to defense and intelligence agencies across the world, CGI is honored to provide our expertise and IT services in a manner that embodies the principle of "one for all – all for one" in safeguarding critical infrastructure. Contact me to explore how our experts can help your organization further fortify your national resilience.

About this author

Torsten Bernstrom

Torsten Bernström

Vice President, Consulting Services

Torsten Bernström has been part of IT services industry since the mid-1990s, serving in numerous business and project management roles for both the commercial and public sector industries. At CGI, he leads the defense and security team within Sweden, providing services to the armed forces, ...