The government will build a new digital warfare center capable of launching “offensive” cyber attacks against hostile powers such as Russia, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said.

The new £ 5bn National Cyber ​​Force headquarters will be built in the northwest – in Samlesbury, Lancashire – in the heart of the so-called ‘red wall’ of traditional Labor seats the Tories won in the 2019 general election.

The Sunday Telegraph said Boris Johnson is expected to quote him in his opening speech at the Conservative Party conference – which begins this weekend in Manchester – as an example of the government’s “leveling” agenda.

Mr Wallace compared the impact of the new center – which is expected to employ thousands of cyber experts and analysts by 2030 – to the GCHQ locations in Cheltenham in the 1950s.

GCHQ to lead new National Cyber ​​Force headquarters with Ministry of Defense (GCHQ / PA)

“Cheltenham was a small country town and look what it did. That’s what we mean by leveling up, ”he told The Telegraph.

Mr Wallace said the creation of the new center – which will be jointly managed by GCHQ – would put Britain “at the forefront” of countries capable of launching offensive cyber attacks.

“We will be one of the very, very few nations in the world with this scale,” he said.

The Defense Secretary said cyber had become “a new area of ​​battle” and that it was essential that Britain could operate there against potential adversaries.

“Some foreign states wage a cyber war against us every day. And we have the right under international law and among ourselves to defend ourselves. We will defend against cyber warfare if this war is dangerous, corrupt or damaging, ”he said.

“The offensive cybercriminal can do a variety of things, including attacking pedophiles and their networks, attacking terrorism and their networks, and of course attacking hostile states, if we choose to do so where they use devices. capabilities.

“It’s a new front, a new area of ​​battle. And that’s what we have to be able to do here.


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