The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is to recruit hundreds of cyber specialists to help defend the UK’s national security and be able to launch strikes to enhance the UK’s range of military capabilities.
According to defence secretary Philip Hammond, the MoD will “recruit hundreds of computer experts as cyber reservists to help defend the UK’s national security” as part of a new Joint Cyber Reserve. This will see “reservists” working alongside regular forces to protect critical computer networks and safeguard vital data.
Notably, this force will include a “strike capability” to enhance the UK’s range of military capabilities. Hammond said: “The cyber reserves will be an essential part of ensuring we defend our national security in cyberspace. This is an exciting opportunity for internet experts in industry to put their skills to good use for the nation, protecting our vital computer systems and capabilities.”
The recruitment drive will commence in October and target three sectors: regular personnel leaving the Armed Forces; current and former reservists with the necessary skills; and individuals with no previous military experience, but with the technical knowledge, skills, experience and aptitude to work in this highly-specialised area.
Amar Singh, chair of ISACA UK security advisory group, who has previously backed the appointment of former military personnel into cyber and information assurance positions, told IT Security Guru that he welcomed this news, and called it “very positive”.
He said: “The elite people will be snapped up quickly while the non-technical will follow, but this still remains a major issue.”
Ross Brewer, vice president and managing director for international markets at LogRhythm, said: “The fact that the government will now be able to carry out pre-emptive strikes on other countries doesn’t really come as much of a surprise. However, it is curious that Hammond has decided to be so brazen with this announcement.
“The government has been heavily lambasted in recent years for failing to do enough to protect its citizens from internet crime, whether state sponsored or otherwise, and I can only presume that this is an attempt to dispel this criticism and finally show some teeth.”
“The real issue, as I see it, is being able to find enough computer experts to build an effective force, with a distinct shortage of security personnel within the private sector, this could be a very real problem. The MoD therefore will likely need to have a robust training plan in place to train those they hire for the cyber defence force, and will then need to offer a good enough package to keep those security professionals from moving to the private sector.”