Britain needs to boost its capabilities to carry out offensive cyber attacks, said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ahead of a national security review slated for later this week.
“Cyber power is revolutionising the way we live our lives and fight our wars, just as air power did 100 years ago,” said Johnson in a statement that was released by his office.
Johnson is scheduled to present a long-term review of national security strategy to parliament later this week on Tuesday, which could potential see a reduction in its armed forces..
“The review will set out the importance of cyber technology to our way of life – whether it’s defeating our enemies on the battlefield, making the internet a safer place or developing cutting-edge tech to improve people’s lives,” said Johnson’s office.
Incidentally, in 2019, Britain spent $59 billion, equivalent to 2.1% of its national income, on defense; the amount is more than any other large European country but significantly lower than the amount spent by the United States.
In recent years, Britain has invested heavily in aircraft carriers and continues to maintains nuclear weapons; since the end of the Cold War, it has reduced its ground forces.
According to British media reports, Tuesday review could see the number of army personnel drop by a further 12,500 to around 70,000.
On Saturday, the defence ministry said, talk of cuts “at this stage is speculation”.
“The National Cyber Force – including spies, defence officials and scientists – would have a permanent base in northern England as the government tries to boost regional development outside London”, said Johnson’s office.
The NCF mitigates threats from a wide range electronics including, foreign air defence systems and mobiles phones of those the government views as terrorists or serious criminals. It was created last year alongside a dedicated army regiment focused on cyber warfare.
In 2016, Britain set up the National Cyber Security Centre to advise the government and public on how to reduce the risks of cyber-attacks.