Defence secretary puts £22m into cyber centres to ‘put the Army at the forefront of information warfare’

Written by Sam Trendall on 24 May 2019 in News
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Facilities will provide round-the-clock info on digital threats

Credit: Victoria Jones/PA Archive/PA Images

Defence secretary Penny Mordaunt has announced that the government is to invest £22m in establishing a network of Army cyber operations centres.

The centres will be designed to provide the Army with round-the-clock “information and analysis”, as well as enabling defence chiefs to “dispel misinformation and give the UK Armed Forces and our allies the upper hand on emerging digital threats”, the government said. The facilities will support overseas military and humanitarian operations, as well as protecting digital communications in the UK.

Cyber experts at the centre will work with data from various sources, including the intelligence services and open-source data. The government believes the facilities will put “the Army at the forefront of information warfare”.


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Mordaunt (pictured above) said: “We know all about the dangers. Whether the attacks come from Russia, China or North Korea. Whether they come from hacktivists, criminals or extremists. Whether its malware or fake news, cyber can bring down our national infrastructure and undermine our democracy.”

She added: “It’s time to pay more than lip service to cyber. We must convince our adversaries their advances simply aren’t worth the cost. Cyber enemies think they can act with impunity. We must show them they can’t. That we are ready to respond at a time and place of our choosing in any domain, not just the virtual world. We need coherent cyber offence as well as defence.”

How many centres will be established and where has yet to be confirmed, but construction is scheduled to begin next year, ahead of an operational launch “in the early 2020s”. 

Major general Tom Copinger-Symes, general officer Commanding Force Troops Command, said: “These new cyber centres will allow the Army and defence to transform the way we use data, at speed, so that we can compete with our adversaries in a way fit for the 21st century. Combining artificial intelligence with our military analysts will help us better understand threats and exploit opportunities, in turn enabling us to get the truth out much more rapidly, quashing the noise of disinformation from our enemies.”

 

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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