The new centre is to defend the UK’s military networks and systems and coordinate cyber-defence operations
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said it plans to spend more than £40 million on a new Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) to defend the MoD’s network from attack.
The centre is expected to be based at the MoD’s Information Systems and Services (ISS) operation at its military base at Corsham in Wiltshire, which currently handles the military’s communications, according to defence secretary Michael Fallon.
Military spending boost
It is part of a wider boost in military spending announced in November, when the government announced it would spend £1.9bn by 2020 to develop cyber defensive and offensive capabilities.
The figure, which doubles the previous military budget, comes at a time when funding for other government operations is being sharply reduced.
Aside from its overall defensive capability, the CSOC is intended to coordinate existing defensive cyber activity and to facilitate the sharing of MoD cyber-security tasks across government departments and with allies and industry, Fallon said.
“Our increasing defence budget means that we can stay ahead of our adversaries in cyberspace while also investing in conventional capabilities,” he said.
The ISS underwent a £700 refurbishment in 2011 that helped overhaul the MoD’s cyber-security. The operation employs hundreds of military personnel, but the exact number is classified.
National Cyber Centre
As part of its military spending plan announced in November the government said it would also build a National Cyber Centre (NCC) at GCHQ. While the MoD centre is focused on protecting military assets, the NCC is aimed at protecting the country’s critical infrastructure from cyber-attacks from nation states and other attackers, Chancellor George Osborne said at the time.
The government’s cyber military spending isn’t limited to defence. In 2013 then-defence secretary Philip Hammond disclosed that the MoD and GCHQ had built a “full-spectrum military cyber capability” that included a strike capabilitiy.
A recent study authored by an MoD think tank identified IT as a key driver of change in coming decades.
“A novel approach to technology is… likely to provide opportunities to offset some sources of future tension,” the study concluded.
Last year the MoD invited technology firms to contribute to the development of its next-generation radio system, claiming Project MORPHEUS represents a chance to influence the future of secure communications.
MORPHEUS is to replace the current Bowman communications system, which dates back to 1989, and is intended to be used by the British Army, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force (RAF).
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