Cyber-security is now well on politicians’ agendas, whenever they talk about defence or crime, as several meetings just this week show.
The UK was the first ally to offer offensive cyber capability to NATO, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace observed during yesterday’s video conference of NATO defence ministers intended to focus on adaptation of the Alliance to counter modern threats. Other topics covered ranged from the Coronavirus pandemic to Russia’s strategic missile capabilities.
Additionally, he added that the work continues rapidly to progress NATO’s adapt & modernise agenda to meet the threats of an increasingly more unstable world, as agreed at the ‘London Leaders’ Meeting’ in Dec. 2019.
Ministers also discussed a new ‘deterrence & defence concept’ for NATO, which sets out a framework for the Alliance’s military activity responding to threats across land, air, sea & in the new domains of cyber & space.
Wallace also heaped praise on the the progress NATO has made in more adapting to today’s emerging challenges e.g. hybrid warfare & disruptive technologies.
The Defence Secretary did also confirm that the UK will continue to meet its 2% of GDP defence-spending commitment and the UK’s defence budget will grow by at least 0.5% over inflation in each year of this Government.
All Allies committed to meet the 2% target by 2024 at the Wales Summit in 2014, & defence spending by non-US Allies increased in real terms by 4.6% in 2019, which represents the 5th consecutive year of growth.
The day before the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, chaired a virtual ‘Five Eyes’ security summit which was attended by the Home Affairs, Interior & Security Ministers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK & the US.
Topics raised included the issue of cyber-criminals exploiting the Coronavirus pandemic through ransomware, malware & phishing attacks. Ministers agreed on the need to share intelligence on these kinds of scams, & also work closely to stop them.