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13th Signal Regiment: UK army launches first dedicated cyber warfare division

The British army is launching a 250-strong cyber warfare division in a bid to modernise the armed forces and better protect frontline operations.

Stationed in Blandford, Dorset, the new unit is the British army’s first dedicated cyber regiment. Known as the 13th Signal Regiment, it will be tasked with developing an Army Cyber Information Security Operations Centre, protecting sensitive military communications and developing “digital armour” around overseas personnel.

In a statement issued with the announcement, the defence secretary Ben Wallace (pictured) said: “This is a step-change in the modernisation of the UK Armed Forces for information warfare.

“Cyber-attacks are every bit as deadly as those faced on the physical battlefield, so we must prepare to defend ourselves from all those who would do us harm and 13th Signal Regiment is a vital addition to that defence.”

It’s not clear if the regiment will also be tasked with carrying out offensive cyber campaigns, but Brigadier John Collyer, Commander 1st (UK) Signal Brigade, said: “The re-formation of 13th Signal Regiment is an exciting step forward as the Royal Signals, Army and wider Defence rapidly drives up their potency and resilience in the information environment and cyber domain.

“The stakes are high and our success is increasingly and critically reliant on focusing our brightest men and women onto the opportunities and risks that underpin our operations – both home and away.”

The 13th Signal Regiment was first launched during World War 2 to pioneer the application of wireless radios. It was renamed in 1959 and deployed in Berlin during the Cold War, before it was disbanded in 1994.

Its re-formation comes after the government announced last year that it was preparing to unlock £22m to create a series of centres focused on cyber warfare operations.

Tom Copinger-Symes, general officer commanding Force Troops Command said at the time: “Combining artificial intelligence with our military analysts will help us better understand threats and exploit opportunities, in turn enabling us to get the truth out much more rapidly, quashing the noise of disinformation from our enemies.”