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Sep 8, 2023


By Betsie Chacko

Amidst today’s evolving cybersecurity challenges, Albania’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) took a bold step towards fortifying its cyber defenses by partnering with the Defense Security Cooperation University’s Institute for Security Governance (ISG) during a recent weeklong cyber advising engagement with Albania’s MoD and other key government organizations responsible for ensuring cyber resilience of the nation’s networks and data. The engagement is the second in a two-year series of non-resident cyber capacity-building advising missions with Albania’s MoD. ISG’s cyber strategy development workshop enabled MoD and other key government officials to clarify their mutual understanding of national and defense cyber strategies and to plan for strategy implementation and resourcing.  The workshop led to a greater understanding of how civilian ministry and MoD cyber organizations can better communicate and collaborate in protecting Albania’s cyber infrastructure. 

Personnel from the General Staff J5, MoD, Military Cyber Unit (MCU), National Authority for Electronic Certification and Cyber Security (AKCESK), and the National Agency for Information Society (AKSHI) participated in the four-day cyber strategy development workshop.  ISG experts guided exercises and discussions that led participants to develop new insights and identified concrete steps that could be taken to improve Albania’s cybersecurity posture.  Participants took cyber operations best practices and principles and applied them to Albania’s strategies, security priorities, and context. The workshop emphasized the development of action plans for priority lines of effort that identify goals and objectives as well as specific tasks to guide current and future actions and decision-making at the ministerial level. These lines of effort will shape and inform decisions related to cyber budgeting, acquisition, workforce, and operations.       

ISG will continue to conduct engagements with the Albanian MoD over the next several years on cyber strategy and policy and to assist in developing the cyber workforce. Albania will welcome a Ministry of Defense Advisor (MoDA) who will directly support the MCU with advice and assistance as it grows and develops its cyber capabilities. The MoDA will reside in Albania for two years and contribute to ISG’s non-resident advising and education efforts. Albania is demonstrating a strong commitment to developing their cybersecurity capabilities and contributing to NATO, European Union, and United States efforts to reinforce the norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace.  

ISG Cyber Lead Mr. David Radcliffe notes “Albania is an important partner of the United States, and we continue to be impressed with the energy and enthusiasm our colleagues in Albania are devoting to improving their cyberspace capabilities. We look forward to continuing to work side-by-side with our Albanian friends on cyber institutional capacity building.”