Brian Sims

Permanent location of National Cyber Force campus announced

THE UK Government’s new National Cyber Force will be located in Samlesbury in the North West, bringing highly skilled jobs to Lancashire, the Defence Secretary has confirmed.

The National Cyber Force was announced by the Prime Minister as part of the Integrated Review in November 2020. The joint Ministry of Defence and GCHQ partnership is helping to keep the country safe as the new home of offensive cyber operations.

As stated, the permanent site of the National Cyber Force will be established in Samlesbury, duly cementing the North West region’s position as the ‘cyber centre of the UK’. GCHQ already operates an office in Manchester and the city is Europe’s fastest-growing major tech cluster, with more than 15% of Manchester’s population employed by businesses operating within the digital, creative and technology sector.

The National Cyber Force draws together personnel from intelligence, cyber and security agency GCHQ, the Ministry of Defence, the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory under one unified command for the very first time.

Offensive cyber operations are those which can disrupt hostile state activities, terrorists and criminals threatening the UK’s national security and range from countering terror plots through to conducting military operations.

Legal, ethical and proportionate operation

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace commened: “The National Cyber Force located in Samlesbury will embrace exciting new offensive cyber technologies and provide thousands of highly skilled jobs and expertise to the North West. I’m hugely proud and enthusiastic to see this happen. Not only will it provide a catalyst for investment, but also see our levelling up agenda bring economic stimulus and tangible benefits to this region.”

Working in partnership with law enforcement and international partners, the National Cyber Force operates in a legal, ethical and prop0rtionate way to help defend the nation and counter the full range of national security threats.

Offensive cyber capabilities offer the UK a range of flexible and scalable measures that will help protect the UK and its partners around the globe.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss added: “The National Cyber Force will help confront aggressive behaviour from malign actors. It demonstrates that Britain is investing in next generation defence capability to protect our people and help our friends counter cyber threats. It sends a powerful message to our allies and adversaries alike.”

Cyber operations

The UK has been a world-leader on offensive cyber operations, with GCHQ pioneering the use and development of these cyber techniques. In 2016, the (then) Defence Secretary confirmed the UK was conducting cyber operations against Daesh and, in 2018, the director of GCHQ revealed how the organisation had degraded ISIS propaganda networks through cyber operations.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay said: “The National Cyber Force is at the cutting edge of our country’s defence. Basing the campus at Samlesbury in Lancashire will bring high-skilled and well-paid jobs to the area, building on our drive to move key public sector roles outside of London.”

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