Editorial

Chief of Defence Staff: UK is at cyberwar ‘every day’

Speaking at the Cliveden Literary Festival, country’s most senior military officer paints dark picture of national cybersecurity situation

Posted 30 September 2019 by

The Chief of the UK’s Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, warned yesterday that Britain is “at war every day” due to endless cyber attacks from Russia and other state actors.

Speaking at the Cliveden Literary Festival, the head of the country’s Armed Forces says it is no longer possible to draw a clear line between competition and conflict, thanks to technology.

“The character of warfare is evolving [and so] there’s a debate we need to have about what does the future of warfare look like”

War is increasingly waged online and in outer space, the General told delegates, adding, “The key bit that will give you the edge you need is the way in which information connects [it all] together so we are properly integrated at every level.

“Information is going to be at the core of so much that we do [and so] future warfare is going to be very much information-centric. 

As reported in The Daily Telegraph at the weekend, for General Carter, cybersecurity means, “The changing character of warfare has exposed the distinctions that don’t exist any longer between peace and war.”

“I feel I am now at war, but it’s not a war in the way we would have defined it in the past. And that is because great power competition and the battle of ideas with non-state actors is threatening us on a daily basis… The character of warfare is evolving [and so] there’s a debate we need to have about what does the future of warfare look like.”

Joined on stage by former US General and CIA Director David Petraeus, the pair noted that increased use of disinformation and deniable covert action by adversaries presented “difficulties” for states observing the rule of law and whose actions get judged in the “court of public opinion”.