The cyber force of hackers is due to be launched later in the spring, after many months of delays and turf wars between the Ministry of Defence and GCHQ, the Guardian newspaper reported.
The Guardian said that while the plan had in development for two years, sources said that after months of wrangling over the details, the specialist unit was close to being formally announced.
It is understood that the National Cyber Force will be a joint initiative between the Ministry of Defence and GCHQ, and insiders said it would consolidate some existing capabilities as well as develop new ones.
However, officials have not disclosed many other details, the newspaper reported, arguing that much of what the UK’s offensive hackers could do should remain classified.
Nor is the identity of its leader expected to be publicly disclosed, although previous speculation that it would be a woman is understood to be inaccurate.
Cyber security development
In June 2011 for example the UK Ministry of Defence created a joint force command unit, that integrated the MoD’s cyber warfare and military intelligence units.
A few months prior to that in May 2011, the British government also acknowledged it had begun work on a “toolbox” of offensive cyber-weapons to complement its existing defensive capabilities.
The current government has invested in expanding the UK’s cyber-security forces, including the foundation of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which operates under GCHQ but is based in London.
Between 2011 and 2016, the Government had allocated £860m to the National Cyber Security Programme, and for the five years from 2016 to 2021, the Government “has in recognition of the threat – significantly increased funding and allocated £1.9bn for the new National Cyber Security Strategy.”