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UK Government commits to National Cyber Force, AI agency


The UK Government has confirmed that the National Cyber Force is finally up and running, while a new agency dedicated to using AI could soon help keep Britain safe. 

Both announcements were shared as part of the UK Government’s massive increase in defence spending, which will see an extra £16.5 billion ploughed into the Ministry of Defence over the next four years. Reports suggest that this is the largest increase in defence spending since the Cold War. 

The two biggest announcements for the data centre sector was the formation of the long-awaited National Cyber Force, as well as the still-rather-secret Artificial Intelligence Agency. 

National Cyber Force

The National Cyber Force is arguably the one with the biggest impact on the industry, as it is the UK’s new agency for dealing with online threats. Those threats include hacking attempts against national infrastructure, the spread of fake news, and any interference in elections. The agency will also be tasked with offensive cyber-operations, as well as defensive. 

Plans for the new agency were revealed in the press back in 2018, but it’s gone through constant delays ever since. Now the Government has confirmed that the unit is up and running and will receive a healthy budget to ensure that it can help the UK stay safe during these tumultuous times. 

The National Cyber Force is jointly managed by the Ministry of Defence and GCHQ, and has thus far received praise for its creation. 

Thales, a French multinational company that designs and builds electrical systems and provides services for the aerospace, defence, transportation and security markets, welcomed the Government’s announcement. 

Gareth Williams, vice president of Secure Communications & Information Systems at Thales UK, commented, “As boundaries continue to blur between peacetime and warfare and civil and military objectives, we absolutely must accelerate our investment in initiatives like the National Cyber Force. This will allow the UK to prepare and respond to the rapidly changing nature of low intensity conflict, which fuses diplomatic, economic, cyber and kinetic actions. As such this is a significant and positive step forward for the country’s critical cybersecurity capabilities and demonstrates the Prime Minister’s commitment to protecting the UK from hostile states and terror groups.

“Additionally, this specialist unit will help to solidify the major operating theatres of the military – land, sea, air and cyber – and bring the UK more in line with the US’ Cyber Command. A dedicated military cyber command will position our defence forces to protect us against both operational and espionage cyberattacks, through a more coordinated ability to conduct defensive and offensive cyber actions. The UK’s new operational command will enable it to enact strategic and tactical missions and respond to those responsible for attacks against the UK’s national interest.”

Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet, echoed the warm welcome, noted, “The cyber realm is undoubtedly the most important emerging domain of warfare – alongside the traditional ones of land, sea and air, is space – and the rules of engagement between countries are ill defined and are being exploited.

“This investment is therefore vital to ensure that the UK is prepared to face the threats and attacks that are emerging on the world stage. A new, dedicated National Cyber Force to defend against hostile action in cyber space will increase our cyber resilience as a country and complement the existing efforts of the NCSC and GCHQ to protect UK citizens online.”

Artificial Intelligence Agency

The second agency that will impact the data centre market is the Artificial Intelligence Agency, which is said to concentrate on the use of AI for defence purposes. Little is actually known about this agency or what it intends to do, but we can already imagine that it will leverage AI for reducing casualties during warfare.

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