South Korea begins cyber military drills with US and Five Eyes

By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Jul. 17, 2023 7:35PM GMT+9

The South Korean military is moving ahead with its efforts to strengthen partnerships with its ally nations in cyber defense, participating in virtual training led by the United States.

South Korea’s Cyber Operations Command announced its participation in the U.S. led multinational cyber drill called “Cyber Flag” on Monday. According to a press release, the virtual training, which takes place from July 17 to July 28, will focus on enhancing international defense against cyber threats and boosting abilities in analyzing and integrating information. The participating nations include Singapore and the members of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

This is the second time South Korea has taken part in Cyber Flag training. In October of last year, 18 military officials participated in the annual international cyber exercise hosted by the U.S. Cyber Command for the first time. The U.S. military has held the multinational drill since 2011 to bolster cooperation with its allied countries. The Readable reached out to the U.S. Cyber Command to request comment on the details of this year’s training but did not receive an immediate response.

The South Korean military will be taking part in the Cyber Flag exercise on an annual basis. In the press release, the country’s Cyber Command explained that they reached an understanding with their U.S. counterpart on regularizing their participation during the 8th South Korean and U.S. Cyber Cooperation Working Group (CCWG), which was held last May.

“We are expecting to enhance our joint operational abilities through the Cyber Flag exercise,” said a spokesperson of the Ministry of National Defense to The Readable. “During the 8th South Korean and U.S. CCWG, we built consensus on the military’s regular participation in Cyber Flag. We are currently in the process of discussing details such as the date and frequency.” The U.S. Cyber Command did not immediately respond to The Readable’s request for comment on South Korea’s regular enrollment.

The South Korean government has strived to secure international cooperation in the cyber domain, particularly with its U.S. counterpart. In August of last year, the South Korean Defense Minister, Lee Jong-sup, met with General Paul Nakasone, the head of the U.S. Cyber Command, and agreed to strengthen security ties, such as regularizing joint training and exchanging information to effectively counter emerging threats.

The cover image of this article was designed by Areum Hwang.

Kuksung Nam is a journalist for The Readable. She has extensively traversed the globe to cover the latest stories on the cyber threat landscape and has been producing in-depth stories on security and privacy by engaging with industry giants, foreign government officials and experts. Before joining The Readable, Kuksung reported on politics for one of South Korea’s top-five local newspapers, The Kyeongin Ilbo. Her journalistic skills and reportage earned her the coveted Journalists Association of Korea award in 2021 for her essay detailing exclusive stories about the misconduct of a former government official. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in French from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, a testament to her linguistic capabilities.