Army Launches First-Ever Dedicated Cyber Regiment

The British Army has launched a new cyber regiment, designed to protect frontline operations from digital attack.

The unit, 13th Signal Regiment, is the Armed Forces' first dedicated cyber regiment aimed at protecting defence networks in the UK and overseas.

The new regiment was stood up earlier this week at Blandford.

"This is a step-change in the modernisation of the UK Armed Forces for information warfare," Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said.

"Cyber attacks are every bit as deadly as those faced on the physical battlefield, so we must prepare to defend ourselves from all those who would do us harm and 13th Signal Regiment is a vital addition to that defence."

The launch forms part of the Ministry of Defence's modernisation efforts to combat future threats.

Badges 13th Signal Regiment being handed out on 010620 CREDIT MOD.jpg
Fifteen different cap badges are represented in the first personnel intake of the new regiment (Picture: MOD).

What capability will the new regiment provide?

One of the ways 13th Signal Regiment will provide protection for personnel operating overseas will be to provide secure communications, allowing commanders and soldiers the ability to operate securely.

Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, said 13th Signal Regiment will be "matching cutting edge technology with cyber-fit soldiers to compete and win in the Information Age".

The regiment is part of the British Army within 1st (UK) Signal Brigade, under the command of 6th (UK) Division, responsible for conducting information manoeuvre and unconventional warfare in support of the whole British Armed Forces.

The specialist unit will provide the basis of the new Army Cyber Information Security Operations Centre.

Thirteenth Signal Regiment will work with the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force to provide secure networks to be used for all military communications.

They will also provide specialist technical support for a hub to test and implement next-generation information capabilities.

A group of 250 specialist service personnel with high-end technical skills will form 13th Signal Regiment.

The formation of the new regiment has brought together existing cyber capabilities from across the Army, with personnel from 15 different cap badges represented in the first intake, plus specialist Royal Navy and RAF personnel.

The regiment will also have a number of Cyber Protection Teams and technical staff who will secure the cyber domain for troops on military operations.

Members of 13th Signal Regiment receive their badge on 1 June 010620 CREDIT MOD.jpg
13th Signal Regiment was launched on 1 June at Blandford (Picture: MOD).

Colonel Jason Gunning, Corps Colonel, Royal Corps of Signals, said: "It's certainly the first time for a number of years that we've actually looked at expanding and expanding a new capability in this way and it's got Army-wide interest."

He added: "It's a really exciting prospect and a new capability coming in."

Origins of 13th Signal Regiment

During the Second World War, 13th Signal Regiment existed as 1st Specialist Wireless Group, helping to pioneer the use of high-frequency radios and wireless technology.

In 1959, it was renamed 13th (Radio) Signal Regiment and operated throughout the Cold War in Berlin, until it was disbanded in 1994.

"The re-formation of 13th Signal Regiment is an exciting step forward as the Royal Signals, Army and wider Defence rapidly drives up their potency and resilience in the information environment and cyber domain," Brigadier John Collyer, Commander 1st (UK) Signal Brigade, said.

"The stakes are high and our success is increasingly and critically reliant on focusing our brightest men and women onto the opportunities and risks that underpin our operations – both home and away."

Cover image: MOD.

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