UK government announces the home of the National Cyber Force

The permanent location of the National Cyber Force campus has been revealed, and the joint MoD and GCHQ partnership is helping to keep the UK safe as the new home of offensive cyber operations.

The National Cyber Force (NCF) was revealed by the Prime Minister as part of the Integrated Review in November 2020.

Samlesbury is to become the permanent site of the NCF, which will strengthen the North-West region’s status as the cyber hub of Britain. The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) already have an office in Manchester, which is Europe’s quickest developing tech cluster, with more than 15% of Manchester’s population employed by the digital, creative and technology sector.

Ensuring the UK’s safety

The National Cyber Force brings people together from intelligence, cyber and security agency GCHQ, the MoD, the Secret Intelligence Service and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, all under one integrated authority for the first time.

Offensive cyber operations entail activity that can disrupt hostile state activities, terrorists and criminals that pose a threat to Britain’s national security – from thwarting terror plots to overseeing military operations.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace commented: “The National Cyber Force located in Samlesbury will embrace exciting new offensive cyber technologies and provide thousands of highly skilled jobs and expertise to the North West.

“I am hugely proud and enthusiastic to see this happen; not only will it provide a catalyst for investment, but also see our levelling up agenda bring economic stimulus and tangible benefits to this region.”

Offensive cyber operations

Offensive cyber capacities present Britain with a variety of flexible, scalable measures that will assist with the protection of the UK and our partners around the globe.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss added: “The National Cyber Force will help confront aggressive behaviour from malign actors and demonstrate that Britain is investing in next-generation defence capability to protect our people and help our friends counter cyber threats. It sends a powerful message to our allies and adversaries alike.”

Britain is currently leading offensive cyber operations, with GCHQ at the forefront of the expansion and utilisation of these cyber methods. For example, in 2018, the Director of GCHQ disclosed how it had degraded ISIS propaganda networks through cyber operations.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay concluded: “The National Cyber Force is at the cutting edge of our country’s defence.

“Basing the campus at Samlesbury in Lancashire will bring high skilled and well-paid jobs to the area, building on our drive to move key public sector roles outside of London.

“It underlines this government’s important levelling up agenda and our commitment to spread opportunity across the country.”

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