In addition to its other tasks, the Defence Cyber
Operations Group (DCOG) takes the lead in establishing links with
"key allies" on cyber.
In March 2009, in the course of an inquiry into Russia's relationship
with NATO, the Committee visited the NATO Co-operative Cyber-Defence
Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia. In our report, we noted
that the Centre did not receive core NATO funding, being funded
instead by the contributions of sponsoring nations, and we asked
the MoD to explain why the UK was not a sponsor.
In its response, the Government
stated that it believed the best way
of making use of its resources was to contribute to the work of
the Centre by assisting with specific workstreams, rather than
by attaching personnel permanently.
During oral evidence for this inquiry, we asked Francis Maude
MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office, who had recently visited
Estonia, and James Quinault, Director, Office of Cyber Security
and Information Assurance, Cabinet Office, why the UK was still
not a sponsor of the Centre. They replied that the Centre was
developing "know-how and research" rather than being
engaged in operations, which means that it is "not the place
from which cyber-defence of NATO would be commanded".
However, since the final oral evidence session, the
MoD told us that, as the role of the Centre expands under the
auspices of the NATO Cyber Defence Action Plan (CDAP), the MoD
has decided, from 2013, to send a national representative and
to pay the annual 20,000 subscription using funds from the Defence
Cyber Security Programme (DCSP). It is proposed that the UK would
initially make a two year commitment, with the intent to review
ongoing participation. Long term, the MoD will have to make a
decision on the continuation of funding once the DCSP ends.
Provision of a national representative will give
the UK a seat on the Steering Committee with the opportunity to
influence future work. This action will confirm UK commitment
both to the Centre and to broader NATO Cyber Defence activity
and, we understand, will be welcomed by close international partners,
particularly the United States.
The UK also participates in the NATO Incident Response
and Command Centre (a 'GOSCC' for Alliance operations) in Belgium,
and pursues cyber work in collaboration with a number of allies,
notably the United States and Australia, with whom a tri-lateral
memorandum of understanding has been agreed.
Cyber is also a strand of the UK-France defence co-operation agreements.
General Shaw told us that the UK found that "bilateral relationships
are where you can make progress. [...] In terms of creating unified
NATO policy, I think that is a very slow boat indeed. That policy
is coming along, like all NATO policy, at the speed of the slowest
We welcome the Government's decision
to play a more active role in the future work of the NATO Cyber-Defence
Centre of Excellence. We ask that the MoD keeps Parliament fully
apprised of future decisions regarding participation in this and
other international co-operative arrangements.
91 Ev 45 Back
Defence Committee, Tenth Report of Session 2008-09, Russia:
a new confrontation?, para 153 Back
Defence Committee, Sixth Special Report of Session 2008-09, Russia:
a new confrontation? Government response to the Committee's Tenth
Report of Session 2008-09 Back
Qq 231-2 Back
Q 43 Back
Q 43 Back