Offensive Cyber, Ecology and the Competition for Security in Cyberspace: The United Kingdom’s Approach

The 2013 public announcement by the then Secretary of State for Defence, Phillip Hammond stating that the United Kingdom was creating an offensive cyber capability as part of its national cyber security strategy moved the debate on the use of offensive cyber into the public policy sphere. While this debate has continued, little detail has emerged as to how offensive cyber will be integrated as a tool into the United Kingdom’s cyber security strategy and more broadly its national security structure. The Strategic Cyber Security (SCS) model seeks to answer these questions by illustrating how offensive cyber capability has been operationalised as a critical component in the delivery of the United Kingdom’s cyber security strategy. Drawing upon elements of ecological theory the model demonstrates how different cyber security effects are generated to deliver an holistic response to achieving security in the increasingly competitive environment of cyberspace. Development of the model is based upon a series of elite interviews with senior military and civilian policy makers and key stakeholders within the United Kingdom’s cyber security and national security communities.

Graham Fairclough is a former soldier now attempting to become an academic in the field of cybersecurity. His research is focused on the operationalisation of national cyber security strategy, in particular the integration of offensive cyber capability and how cyber security incidents are understood by decision makers with limited cyber security knowledge. He advises NATO and the UK’s MOD on operational cyber security matters.

A light sandwich lunch is served at 12.50pm. All are welcome.