Conference attendees at DSEI were told that harnessing technological advances, as well as skilled staff from the tech industry, is necessary to further defense goals, with British Army General Sir Patrick Sanders in a speech explaining that he wanted cyber operators to be valued equally with on the ground military personnel.
William Davies, Associate Analyst at GlobalData comments: “Cybersecurity advances face a number of problems in the UK, and as the military starts to take the domain more seriously it needs to improve recruitment and industry cooperation. The speeches across the weekend acknowledge the technological threats that Britain faces from adversaries, and that the country has been slow to develop its cyber capabilities.”
Significantly the speech also explained that there needs to be upskilling across the military, with a variety of troops learning cyber skills. The idea of increased industry involvement is not a new one, and the idea was mentioned by the UK defense secretary Ben Wallace as well as General Sanders in DSEI address, highlighting that the UK military does not expect to be able to develop new advanced technologies or develop enough skilled operatives independently of industry.
Davies continues, “The skills gap will likely be a continuing theme in the UK military in coming years, and the assertion from the General that cyber operators should have the same value as field operatives highlights the fact that organizations including the National Cyber Force (NCF) are critical to ongoing military strategy”
The development of military hacking capacity as part of the NCF in recent years, and the general establishment of cyber as a domain in defense are both part of a general pivot towards cyber security with its inclusion as a central part of numerous DSEI speeches cements its significance. The UK government is increasingly looking to keep industry informed about changes in its defense approach by providing information about technological changes and goals to improve industry integration into its defense strategy.