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Principal Engineer (Cyber Defence – Advanced Prinicples)

  • IMS
Brussels, Belgium
Application Deadline: August 18, 2024
  • IMS
Brussels, Belgium
Application Deadline: August 18, 2024


The NATO Digital Staff (NDS) is an integrated staff composed of members of the International Military Staff (IMS) and International Staff (IS) at the heart of NATO’s Digital Transformation. The staff maintains digital subject matter expertise for providing the highest quality advice, policy and leadership to ensure the Alliance’s technological edge, enable data-driven decision-making and release the potential of multi-domain operations. The NDS is responsible for the establishment,
maintenance and evolution of NATO as a digital, data-driven decision-making organisation where the power and potential of interoperable digital technologies and a data-centricity are fully exploited for the benefit of the Alliance. Led by the Director NDS, the Staff supports different NATO senior policy committees and in particular, the Military Committee (MC), the Digital Policy Committee(DPC) and the Cyber Defence Committee (CDC). It functionally operates under the co-ordinated executive management authority of the Director General of the IMS and the Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment.

The Cyber Defence (CD) Branch acts as the Staff lead for cyberspace operations, information assurance, cyber security and cyber defence. This includes: supporting the Military Committee in its governance roles for cyberspace as a domain of operations and for cryptography; supporting the NATO Digital Policy Board (NDPB) and its substructure in the expertise domains of Communications and Information Systems (CIS) Security, cyber defence as well as cryptography and the improvement of knowledge within these domains. 

The incumbent is the principal policy and technical advisor for cyber defence and advanced technologies to support three projects for the NATO 2030 Key Requirement Areas (KRA): security of the Digital Backbone, Zero Trust implementation planning, and Digital Transformation cyber security plan. The incumbent will develop Advanced Principles for Cyber Security and Cyber Defence of the Digital Backbone that are sub areas of the NATO Digital Backbone and pre-requisites to establish secure connectivity and interoperability for multi-domain operations. Advanced Cyber Security Principles will also be put forward to increase Resilience within and beyond the Readiness KRA. Furthermore, the incumbent will have to connect the efforts with Cyber Defence and Cyberspace Domain consideration towards the Military Thinking and Command KRA as well as the Enabling and Employment Capabilities KRA in terms of Cyberspace Operationalization and Joint Fires in a Multi Domain Operations context. In a holistic, coherent and interconnected approach, the incumbent will have to align as well as deconflict through these projects across the KRA. This holistic view will also provide coherence between the Digital Backbone, the NWCC and NATO cyber adaptation as requested per PO(2022)0189. 


The incumbent serves as the Cyber Defence advanced principles Policy and Technical Advisor augmenting the Branch capacity in support of the NATO 2030 requirements in the following NATO 2030 project areas: security of the Digital Backbone, Zero Trust implementation planning, and Digital Transformation cyber security plan. Each project is expected to require one year of dedicated work spread over the three years of this post. Main duties are as follows:

  • Coordinates the branch efforts in the development of policies, directives and guidance for the military and technical implementation of emerging Cyber Defence principles, controls, frameworks and paradigms in NATO communication and information systems and for Multi Domain Operations within the three project areas;

  • Advises the Branch Head on all matters related to Cyber Defence evolving principles, frameworks and technologies for the Digital Backbone and for integration into multi-domain operations;

  • Develops overarching security architectures for the Digital Backbone, incorporating Zero Trust security and other emerging technologies and frameworks as appropriate;

  • Develops policy and doctrine for Cyber Defence in Multi Domain Operations within the three project areas;

  • Provides input to programmes of work and projects, along with associated budgets for the branch to increase the defensive posture of NATO Cyber Defence within multi-domain operations and for the Digital Backbone;

  • Analyses emerging principles and technologies for both offensive and defensive cyberspace operations Military Thinking and Command, assesses their impact from an information assurance and cyber defence standpoint and identifies information assurance and cyber defence requirements for their implementation within the Digital Backbone to enhance NATO Resilience;

  • Analyses emerging technologies, assesses their impact on the Cyber Defence posture of NATO and identifies information assurance and cyber defence requirements, in terms of directives, guidance and products or standardisation, for their implementation within the Digital Backbone to enhance NATO Resilience;

  • Coordinates the development and maintenance of NATO-wide guidance on network security architectures and their implementation with commercial security technology or solutions for the Digital Backbone;

  • Represents the NDS when appropriate as the Cyber Defence advanced principles subject matter expert within NATO bodies;

  • Provides programme management functions and participates in the works of Integrated Project Teams as directed by the Branch Head for the accomplishment of NDS and CD target activities.



The incumbent must have:

  • Outstanding comprehensive and in-depth technical and conceptual knowledge of Cyber Defence and Cyberspace Operations, with particular emphasis on state-of-the art, evolving and emerging information assurance measures and controls, secure interconnections of networks, symmetric and asymmetric cryptographic systems and identity management in CIS;

  • 5 years of practical experience in the implementation and integration of information assurance and cyber defence measures in CIS;

  • 3 years of practical experience in cyberspace operations at the strategic and/or operational level;

  • Technical and in-depth knowledge of state-of-the art and evolving cybersecurity technologies and frameworks, to include, but not limited to, Zero Trust architectures and Data Centric Security;

  • Excellent drafting ability and communications skills;

  • Excellent negotiating skills for participation in multinational conferences and meetings within his/her area of responsibility;

  • Excellent presentation skills.


The incumbent must have:

  • A university degree at Master’s level in one of the following areas: Computer or (Tele) Communication Science, Information Management, Information Security, or a related field. Exceptionally, a degree on a lower level can be accepted if completed with 10 years’ experience in post related duties;

  • Have courses in the above-noted fields in his/her study curriculum or have followed additional courses on these subjects. He/She must possess comprehensive knowledge of the information assurance measures and controls, secure interconnections of networks, symmetric and asymmetric cryptographic systems and identity management in CIS.


  • Candidates must have an advanced level of spoken and written English. The working language in the IMS is English and therefore candidates will be required to pass a one-hour multiple-choice computer-based test in English at the required level as well as to demonstrate their abilities in the written test and interview.

Computer Literacy

  • Use of MS-Office applications in crucial to the effective and successful execution of daily duties. Advanced user experience with Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint and Access.



The incumbent should have:

  • 5 years’ experience in implementing the principles of computer and communications security, networking, and the vulnerabilities of modern operating systems and applications;

  • 3 years’ practical experience in the implementation and integration of cyber defence measures beyond traditional CIS;

  • 5 years’ practical experience in cyberspace operations at the strategic and/or operational level;

  • 5 years’ experience in planning and conducting military operations of which at least three years at the tactical level;

  • Academic experience in the research of future cyber defence technologies;

  • Familiar with the NATO Organisation, method of work and procedures;

  • Demonstrated ability to operate effectively in a highly complex organisational context;

  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work as a team leader within NATO.


The incumbent should have (depending on previous experience):

  • 5 years of experience in implementing the principles of computer and communications security, networking, and the vulnerabilities of modern operating systems and applications;

  • Formal Information Assurance qualifications (e.g. Certified Information Systems Security Professional, Certified Advanced Security Practitioner, Security, SANS Institute certifications);

  • NATO Staff Officers Orientation Course – NSO (M5-32);

  • Non-specified training that will allow the incumbent to remain current or gain new skills associated with existing or emerging requirements of the post (within the context of the job description) may be provided by NATO in accordance with the IMS Training Policy.


  • An elementary level of French.


The incumbent should be able to:

  • Present as a Subject Matter expert to multinational groups and seek, through keen sense of judgement and tact, the resolution of conflicts;

  • Display the capacity to develop the ability to chair multinational groups;

  • Effectively communicate verbally and in writing highly technical topics to a non-technical audience;

  • Respond to any mission and task in the most flexible and efficient manner;

  • Analyse complex problems and provide realistic solutions in a timely manner;

  • Deal with numerous problems simultaneously;


Candidates must demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Achievement: Creates own measures of excellence and improves performance;

  • Analytical Thinking: Sees multiple relationships;

  • Change Leadership: Expresses vision for a change;

  • Impact and Influence: Uses indirect influence;

  • Initiative: Is decisive in time-sensitive situations;

  • Organizational Awareness: Understands organisational politic;

  • Teamwork: Solicits inputs and encourages others.


  • With Staff members of the IMS, the IS, the Strategic Commands, and other NATO Civil and Military Bodies;

  • With National Representatives to NATO Committees and Working Groups;

  • With Staff members of national and international organisations, such as the European Union and the United Nations;

  • With representatives of industry and academia.


This post is fundamental for the operation and continuity of the NDS to accomplish its mission primarily in support of the NATO 2030 KRA Digital Backbone and Military Thinking and Command.


  • Security Clearance: NATO SECRET (if not currently held, the incumbent must be eligible for this level of clearance);

  • Work Environment: Multinational work environment and work with groups where members represent sovereign Nations.


Applications must be submitted by 18 August 2024 (23:59 Brussels time) using one of the following links, as applicable:

  • For NATO civilian staff members only: please apply via the internal recruitment portal (for more information, please contact your local Civilian HR Manager);

  • For all other applications:

Applications are automatically acknowledged within one working day after submission. In the absence of an acknowledgement, please make sure the submission process is completed, or, resubmit the application.


The successful candidate will fill this post as a Project Linked NATO International Civilian (PLN) with a three-year definite duration contract within the NATO 2030 Agenda. On expiry of this term, the PLN will be deleted or absorbed into the ceiling pending approval or, exceptionally, will be considered for extension. The above remains applicable also if the successful candidate is seconded from a national administration. Serving NATO international civilian personnel will be offered a contract in accordance with the NATO Civilian Personnel Regulations.

Appointment will be subject to the deliverance of the appropriate security clearance by the national authorities and approval of the medical file by the NATO Medical Adviser.

A written test will be held as part of the selection procedure.

Applicants who meet the necessary requirements and who prove to be competent for the post but who are not successful in this particular competition, may be considered for posts of a similar nature, albeit at a lower grade, which may become vacant in the near future.

NATO as an employer values diverse backgrounds and perspectives and is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse and talented workforce. NATO welcomes applications of nationals from all Member States and strongly encourages women to apply.

Building Integrity is a key element of NATO’s core tasks. As an employer, NATO values commitment to the principles of integrity, transparency and accountability in accordance with international norms and practices established for the defence and related security sector.

Selected candidates are expected to be role models of integrity, and to promote good governance through ongoing efforts in their work.

Due to the broad interest in NATO and the large number of potential candidates, telephone or e-mail enquiries cannot be dealt with.

The nature of this position may require the staff member at times to be called upon to travel for work and/or to work outside normal office hours.

The IMS at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, is committed to providing equality in working opportunities regardless of sex, race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age or sexual orientation.

The IMS is a non-smoking environment.
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