British reservists to be cyber security and intelligence specialists

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17914083_sSweeping reforms are being carried out to transform the British Army reserves force. They are being prepared as specialists in cyber security, chemical-biological warfare and intelligence, for future conflicts, reports The Independent.

The Territorial Army, whose size is being doubled from 15,000 to 30,000, will have a much more integrated role to counter the new threats presented by technology and WMDs in the hands of insurgents and rogue states. It will also be extensively engaged in gathering information under plans drawn up by the military.

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There is broad consensus among militaries in the West that cyber security has become a vital part of defense. The head of the Army, General Sir Peter Wall, stressed this when giving the keynote speech at the Land Warfare Conference at the Royal United Services Institute in London last week saying the threats presented by cyber space called for the armed forces to “think and act differently. Control of this domain and with it the ability to defend and attack in order to seize the initiative will be prerequisite for successful operations.”

However, Gen. Wall also acknowledged that “The education and personal qualities of our cyber warriors are likely to be a challenge in more linear military behaviour and we therefore need to consider how we recruit and retain experts in the field.”

Military planners point out that these skill-sets already exist among civilians who can bring them to the military, while also continuing with their professional careers. There are similar pools of knowledge in scientific and linguistic fields which can also be tapped in relation to WMDs and intelligence-gathering.