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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

09 Jan 13. Government must boost efforts on cyber security. The Government must be more vigorous in its approach to cyber security, says the Defence Committee in its report published. The report notes that cyber threats can evolve with almost unimaginable speed and serious consequences for the nation’s security.
Chair of the Committee, Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP, said “There is a consensus that cyberspace is a complex and rapidly changing environment. It was therefore important for us to consider the implications for UK defence and security. It is our view that cyber security is a sufficiently urgent, significant and complex activity to warrant increased ministerial attention. The Government needs to put in place – as it has not yet done – mechanisms, people, education, skills, thinking and policies which take into account both the opportunities and the vulnerabilities which cyberspace presents.”
Evidence received by the Committee suggested that in the event of a sustained cyber attack the ability of the Armed Forces to operate effectively could be fatally compromised due to their dependence on information and communication technology. The Committee probed MoD witnesses about its backup systems in these circumstances.
The Chair said “We have asked the Government to set out details of the contingency plans it has in place should such an attack occur. If it has none, it should say so – and urgently create some.”
The Committee was impressed by aspects of the co-operation and joint working between the MoD and private sector contractors. It welcomed the Government’s commitment to foster a vibrant and innovative cyber security sector in the UK including a distinct role for the MoD to deliver military capabilities both to confront high-end threats and to provide a potential offensive capability.
Chair of the Committee, Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP, said “The opportunity created by cyber tools and techniques to enhance the military capabilities of our Armed Forces is clear. We want to see the MoD explore this thoroughly. For this reason, we support the use of National Cyber Security Programme funding to develop these capabilities, but also wish to be assured that the MoD will maintain its investment in existing defence intelligence services which provide a vital UK cross-government capability.”
DRANDA Comment: The Report contains some useful detail on the MoD’s cyber security policy but work on developing cyber capabilities appears protracted since the Defence Cyber Operations Group is not due to be fully operational until 2015. ‘Defence and Cyber-Security’ is published as HC 106 for £15:50.

Jan 13. Foreign Affairs Committee: European Union. The Foreign Affairs Committee is to hold an evidence session in public on The Future of the European Union: UK Government Policy on Wed 6 Feb 13 at 14.30hrs, in a venue to be decided. The Foreign Secretary is the main witness and he is likely to be accompanied by Senior Officials.
Comment: This evidence session has been postponed twice: from Tue 8 Jan 13 and then from Thu 29 Jan 13. The Committee wishes to examine the Foreign Secretary after the Prime Minister has given his anticipated European Union policy speech. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/03, 14 Jan 13)

08 Jan 13. Andrew Beckett, Head of Cassidian Cyber Security Consulting Services has worked at the highest level in cyber security for both the PMs office, the Royal Family and the United Nations. He has a wealth of experience in cyber.
He commented, “We welcome the report which highlights the need to address the issue of effective, rapid and orchestrated cyber defences. However the report stops short of calling for greater pressure to be placed on the international community to create a common response policy to events in cyberspace, which is of paramount importance when cyber attacks do not recognise national boundaries. There is no current legislation to facilitate the prosecution of cyber crime. If an attacker si

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