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The British Government is set to spend hundreds of millions of pounds recruiting an army of “cyber reserves”. From October, the Ministry of Defence will call on Britain’s top IT “geniuses” to use their skills to defend the UK. This initiative is a first for the country and has never been used in the traditional reserves. According to the Independent newspaper, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said hundreds of part-time specialists would be placed across the armed forces in order to protect the UK from online attacks and would even launch their own “strikes in cyber space”.
The MoD said, requirements for those recruited to the Joint Cyber Reserve Unit would “recognise the unique attributes of these individuals who might otherwise not be attracted to, or able to serve in the reserve forces”. Technical experts were just one area of expertise the Government hopes to attract to the new unit – servicemen and women leaving the regular armed forces will also be encouraged to retrain in cyber defence skills and current and former reservists will also be eligible to apply.
Mr. Hammond announced the new recruitment drive ahead of the start of his Conservative party’s annual conference in Manchester. He said: “In response to the growing cyber threat, we are developing a full-spectrum military cyber capability, including a strike capability, to enhance the UK’s range of military capabilities. “Increasingly, our defence budget is being invested in high-end capabilities such as cyber and intelligence and surveillance assets to ensure we can keep the country safe. The cyber reserves will be an essential part of ensuring we defend our national security in cyber space. This is an exciting opportunity for internet experts in industry to put their skills to good use for the nation, protecting our vital computer systems and capabilities.”
Anyone applying will be subject to security vetting, citizenship and residency requirements and a commitment to join for at least a year.