Gavin Williamson with US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis earlier this year. (Picture: PA)
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson will announce that Britain's new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, will host a joint drive between the UK and the US to get ahead of the adversaries on the cyber battlefield.
Speaking at the Trafalgar night dinner on board HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Defence Secretary will announce that the new Atlantic Future Forum will take place on Monday, bringing US and UK industry and military together in the face of changing warfare and the fight against growing cyber threats, both at home and abroad.
It follows recent accusations that Russia and its military intelligence unit, the GRU, had conducted a raft of cyber-attacks on targets around the world.
Further revelations showed that the UK is currently fighting off more than ten cyber-attacks a week.
Gavin Williamson is expected to say:
“Some believe it is not the place of our Armed Forces to operate outside deployed conflict zones many thousands of miles from the UK mainland.
“They are wrong. Against a threat seeking to subvert and destabilise the very fabric of our society such capabilities are critical.
“So I am convinced cyber, information warfare and intelligence must be fully integrated into our military power, that they are fundamental to a modernised defence and our warfighting successes, and that without them we put our nation’s security at perilous risk.
“That’s why our defence cyber forces are commanded by four-star military leadership.
“That’s why we are launching our new forum. And that’s why on Monday we’ll sign an accord to ensure our nations dominate the cyber commons.
“A future in which our military and national power is irrevocably diminished, a future in which our way of life is irretrievably endangered, cannot be contemplated.
“If we’re to ensure a darker future does not come to pass we must engage with this fight now with determination innovation relentless focus and when necessary with military ruthlessness.”
Britain has been leading the way in offensive cyber, using ground-breaking technology as part of the military’s arsenal and integrating it into all operations, including in the fight against Daesh in Syria and Iraq.
The Forum - a meeting of innovators and tech entrepreneurs from across government and industry, together with business leaders - will be an opportunity to explore the emerging trends and technologies that will dominate the world ahead and to cement the leading role that the UK and US will jointly play in shaping them.