Enhancing Security for NATO’s Undersea Infrastructure Amid Russian Threats

NATO official warns of vulnerabilities amid rising concerns over Russian threats while NATO enhances security measures using new technologies and artificial intelligence.


NATO’s Allied Maritime Command’s deputy commander, Vice Adm. Didier Maleterre, issued a warning in a statement to The Guardian, emphasizing that the security of nearly 1 billion people across Europe and North America is under threat due to Russian attempts to target the extensive vulnerabilities of underwater infrastructure, including wind farms, pipelines, and power cables. He highlighted that the network of underwater cables and pipes, upon which Europe’s power and communications depend, was not built to withstand ‘hybrid warfare.’

This statement arises amidst a series of suspicious incidents involving underwater infrastructure, with Russia being pointed out by Western officials. Maleterre highlighted that Russia has developed nuclear submarines capable of operating underwater, posing a significant threat to the Western economy, which relies heavily on its undersea infrastructure.

In response to these threats, NATO established the Critical Undersea Infrastructure Coordination Cell. This unit aims to enhance the sharing of information and best practices among NATO members and the private sector to safeguard critical infrastructures. The urgency of reinforcing these defenses was a major topic at the Digital Ocean Industry Symposium, where over 200 experts from various sectors convened to discuss the role of new technologies in maritime defense.

The symposium centered on how autonomous systems, satellites, and AI could reinforce NATO’s capacity to monitor and respond to threats. Field exercises such as REPMUS and Dynamic Messenger, led by NATO, integrated the latest technological advances from industry and academia to enhance readiness and interoperability.

In further efforts, NATO established the Maritime Centre for the Security of Critical Undersea Infrastructure within NATO’s Maritime Command (MARCOM) in the United Kingdom. The center is dedicated to increasing awareness and strengthening defenses against potential attacks on undersea communication and energy lines.