The UK government alluded yesterday that it might launch offensive cyber operations against Russia if the Kremlin attacks UK computer systems after an invasion of Ukraine.
“The Defence Command Paper published last year set out plans to establish, and grow to a significant size, the National Cyber Force, the UK’s offensive cyber-capability that will complement our defensive capability,” Ben Wallace, UK Secretary of State for Defence, said yesterday in a meeting of the UK Parliament’s House of Commons.
“That is a joint GCHQ and Defence agency that will be based in north-west England. It has already been established and is starting to grow,” he added.
“I cannot comment on the operations that it will undertake, but I am a soldier, and I was always taught that the best part of defence is offence,” Wallace said.
The UK official provided the comments to UK MP Jamie Stone, who said the UK should “expect a salvo of cyber-attacks” from Russian hackers if the UK sanctioned the Kremlin and asked Wallace what would the UK’s possible response to such attacks be.
Wallace is considered the architect of the National Cyber Force, in which the UK government plans to invest £5 billion ($6.8 billion) in the next few years.
Back in October 2021, when the huge investment into the National Cyber Force was announced, the UK official said “it would be a dereliction of duty” if the UK didn’t have offensive cyber capabilities at its disposal.
The new agency has not carried out any formal operations, but Wallace’s comments yesterday formally confirmed that the agency is now fully operational, although still in its early phases.
UK news outlet The Independent first reported Mr. Wallace’s comments. A video of the secretary’s statements is available below, courtesy of RT’s YouTube channel: