Defence Cyber Operations Group and the Ministry of Attack
In the world of Doublespeak, Government is always the greatest linguistic operative; and the defence of the realm a happy hunting ground. First and foremost is the Ministry of Defence, which should really be called the Ministry of Attack. Just look at recent history.
But now we have a new title for a new organization: Head of the Defence Cyber Security Group. The Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Nick Harvey, has announced that the post will be given to a high ranking military figure. This makes little sense to me. Our military tends to occupy foreign streets; it is the police who defend our own streets.
Perhaps we need to consider the speech Harvey gave last November. The new Group would “also be responsible for developing, testing and validating cyber techniques as a complement to traditional military capabilities.” In other words, with typical Doublespeak, this new Defence Cyber Operations Group is actually an Attack Group.
I’m not saying that the UK should not have offensive cyber capabilities; but I am saying it should not be so closely allied to the Ministry of Attack. That’s a bit worrying.
If, for example, we were able to switch off the lights for a window of opportunity, then this would provide decision makers with greater options.
Those lights could just as easily be our own. I would be far happier if the head of this new Defence Cyber Security Group were to be a leading security academic with a genuine understanding of cyber defence, than a high ranking military figure with offensive training – and I would like some guarantee that any offensive cyber capabilities will not be used against UK citizens without at least some form of judicial oversight.