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National Security Strategy - 2009 update published

National Security Strategy - 2009 update published

News Release issued by the Government News Network on 25 June 2009

Cyber Security

The Prime Minister today announced strong new measures to protect the UK and British citizens from the growing threats to our security in cyber space and take advantage of the opportunities of Digital Britain.

With over £50 billion spent online in the UK every year and 90% of our high street purchases made using electronic transactions, new technology is vital to our national prosperity. But with modern life increasingly dependent on computers and communications technology cyber space is a new area where hostile states, terrorists, and criminals can all threaten UK security interests.

The UK’s first Cyber Security Strategy being launched today will help the Government re-shape the way we respond to these challenges swiftly and effectively.

The Prime Minister said:

“Just as in the nineteenth century we had to secure the seas for our national safety and prosperity, and in the twentieth century we had to secure the air, in the twenty first century we also have to secure our position in cyber space in order to give people and businesses the confidence they need to operate safely there. That is why today I am announcing - alongside our updated National Security Strategy - the UK’s first strategy for cyber security”.

A dedicated Office of Cyber Security will drive forward a cross-Government programme of work and a new multi-agency Cyber Security Operations Centre in Cheltenham will provide the co-ordinated protection of the UK’s critical IT systems.

On top of our existing effort, additional new funding will enhance our ability to detect attacks, ensure Government and business have a shared picture of the risks, and provide better systems for sharing vital intelligence about threats and attacks securely.

Key priorities for implementing the strategy are:

- developing a cyber industrial strategy, with opportunities for high tech businesses in the UK;
- a cyber security skills strategy to plug skills gaps in Government and industry;
- making critical systems in the public and private sectors more resilient;
- providing better advice to business and citizens about the nature of the risks and the protection they should take;
- working with other countries to develop international law in this area;
- tackling the use of cyber space by criminals and terrorists in line with the Association of Chief Police Officers’ forthcoming strategy for law enforcement on cyber crime;
- mestablishing a new ethics advisory group to make sure Government activity on cyber security is consistent with personal freedoms to use cyber space;
- stepping up our emergency exercise planning for attacks and analysing cyber related threats in the Cyber Security Operations Centre.

This will mean better alignment of the considerable existing effort on cyber security across Government, which includes:

- the advice and support for all the critical businesses we all depend on (food, health, transport, energy etc) - provided by a dedicated team of experts based in the Security Service),
- the support for industry, public services and general internet users provided by GCHQ to protect not just against hackers, but also against organised fraudsters and other criminals, and against malicious software; and
- the Metropolitan Police’s e-crime unit, a dedicated team of cyber-investigators searching the internet for the traces of fraudsters and others, to bring them to justice.

Wider National Security Strategy

The first National Security Strategy re-thought national security for the modern age and focused on protecting citizens from the full range of risks that can cause harm. It showed that our understanding of national security challenges – and our responses to them – must move beyond concepts of the security of the state and focus as well on the security of people, addressing the many challenges of the global world.

The updated National Security Strategy:

- outlines what progress the Government has achieved against the commitments made the last year;
- sets out how we have continued to strengthen our approach through an updated national security framework; and
- assesses the challenges ahead, and outlines our response to them – from terrorism and instability in Afghanistan and Pakistan, to nuclear security, to energy security and climate change, to pandemics, to failing states and the challenges of strengthening global security through development.

As the first National Security Strategy demonstrated, instability anywhere in the world can affect our interests and ultimately our security more quickly and more fundamentally than ever before. The Government has taken decisive action to reduce the risk from terrorism, and our civil emergencies procedures have been tested by the outbreak of swine ‘flu.

There has been significant progress against the commitments made last year in the original National Security Strategy.

• the UK continues to play a leading role in tackling conflict, conflict prevention and stabilisation. Afghanistan and Pakistan remain critical to our security and our strategy for the region published in April sets out how we are improving security, and also in parallel - through joint military-civil working - helping to improve governance and development.

• we have increased our preparedness and resilience for managing a flu pandemic which has been put into action in our response to the current swine flu outbreak. This is just one part of our wider work to prepare for civil emergencies which included the publication last year of the UK’s first ever National Risk Register;

• the Government has strengthened work to tackle terrorism and in March we published the United Kingdom’s updated strategy for countering international terrorism - CONTEST which continues to lead the world in ensuring an effective and comprehensive response to terrorism;

• We have led action at home, within the EU and with international partners to tackle climate change and ensure agreement of an ambitious, effective and equitable global deal on climate change in Copenhagen in December.

The report contains the Government’s assessment of the implications of the global economic downturn on national security challenges. The slowdown has not fundamentally altered our assessment of the strategic security landscape. However, it clearly has the potential to exacerbate global poverty, one of the main drivers of global insecurity. Above all, what it has illustrated is the need for co-ordinated global action to address global problems. The Strategy shows how the UK has led the global response in many key areas over the past year, and sets out plans for a multilateral approach to tackling conflict, climate change, and energy security.

Commenting on the wider National Security Strategy update, the Prime Minister said:

“This strategy is a comprehensive framework for the way in which we deliver the highest duty of Government – the protection of our people. I pay tribute to all those in the Armed Forces, security services and elsewhere whose professionalism and dedication ensures our safety. I also pay tribute to all of those whose work helps to reduce conflict, and to those in local communities who work with us in partnership to strengthen our response to emergencies.

The strategy shows that we need new global rules for the new global age. That is why we have set out detailed and ambitious plans to work internationally to stop climate change making vulnerable regions more fragile still, to make sure we secure the world’s energy supplies safely into the long term, and to work to reduce conflict and poverty across the world.

Our strategy is also an open and transparent assessment of the challenges we face, and I encourage people to scrutinise what we are doing and join the debate about our security priorities for the future”.

Notes to Editors:

UK Office of Cyber Security
The Office of Cyber Security will provide strategic leadership for UK cyber security and coherence across Government. The OCS will establish and oversee a cross-government programme to address priority areas in pursuit of the UK’s strategic cyber security objectives.

UK Cyber Security Operations Centre
A Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) will bring together existing functions: to monitor the health of cyber space and co-ordinate incident response; to enable better understanding of attacks against UK networks and users; and to provide better advice and information about the risks to business and the public.

The National Security Forum

The Forum is chaired by Lord West and members have been drawn from the fields of diplomacy, counter-terrorism, the police, military, science, business, economics and law.

At their first meeting the Forum focussed on two main issues, the security implications of the economic downturn and national security implications of competition for energy supply.

The full membership is: Professor Michael Clarke CBE;Ex Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke CBE;Sir Ronnie Flanagan GBE;Professor Julia King CBE;Sir David Manning KCMG;Sir David Pepper KCMG;Sir Michael Rake;Professor Ziauddm Sardar;Professor Amartya Sen;General Sir Rupert Smith KCB, DSO, OBE, QGM;Dame Juliet Wheldon DCS, QC.

National Security Strategy update – http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/reports/national_security.aspx

Cyber Security Strategy – http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/reports/cyber_security.aspx

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