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Integrated Review: the UK’s future as a cyber power

Today, the UK government has published the conclusions of an Integrated Review conducted in 2020, a 100-page report which sets out a framework for the UK’s national security and international policy in the coming years.

In a statement to Parliament, Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out Britain’s three fundamental national interests: sovereignty, security and prosperity. As part of this strategic framework, he outlined the government's vision to secure the UK's status as a science and technology (S&T) superpower by 2030. The review recognises how crucial a role cyber security plays in this vision, and highlights the growing need to evolve national capabilities to keep citizens, businesses and critical infrastructure and technologies safe and secure.

To do so, the Integrated Review announces a full spectrum approach that will support the UK in creating a cyber ecosystem fit for the future, sustain its competitive edge in cyber, and fortify its position as a responsible cyber power.

This includes the establishment of a Cyber Corridor across the North of England, which promises to create and sustain thousands of jobs across the region. The government also announced that the National Cyber Force (NCF) – created last year to "transform the UK’s capacity to conduct targeted offensive cyber operations against terrorists, hostile states and criminal groups" – will be located along this corridor.

Commenting on this, Ollie Whitehouse, global CTO at NCC Group, said: "Since the establishment of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in 2016, the UK has made huge strides in developing its position as a global cyber power. Now, we have the opportunity to enhance this further as the government sets out its new cyber strategy.

"Cyber plays a prominent role in national security and economic prosperity alike. The review demonstrates a clear recognition of this from the UK government, and allows us to understand what's expected of the industry and how we can strive towards this mutual goal.

“We welcome a more confident, assertive and multi-faceted, yet coherent approach to cyber, driven by key bodies like the NCSC, the NCF and the new Ministerial small group for cyber decision-making. We support the ambition to promote UK leadership in new technologies, particularly as our reliance on digital infrastructure grows and our adversaries’ capabilities proliferate.

“Today's announcement that the NCF will be located within a new cyber corridor in the North, is particularly pleasing for NCC Group, as a Manchester-headquartered business dedicated to strengthening the regional cyber ecosystem as much as promoting cyber resilience and cyber norms globally.

"The details of the upcoming cyber strategy, along with the amount of future funding, could make or break this goal. As an industry, we are willing to take on greater role and responsibility in delivering on this cyber vision, and the government needs to take advantage of this. The UK must also collaborate with fellow cyber powers that share our values across the world to create an international alliance that is capable of defending against threat actors that intend to harm our societies.

“We look forward to the details of the forthcoming cyber strategy and what continued investment will be provided to support these lofty ambition and plans.”

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