Britain and the US will sign an accord to ensure the two nations dominate and out manoeuvre adversaries in the cyber battlefield, the Defence Secretary will announce.
Gavin Williamson is expected to reveal the agreement during a Trafalgar Night dinner onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth, which is currently anchored two miles from Manhattan in New York.
During his speech on Saturday, he will also reveal that the new Atlantic Future Forum will take place on Monday, bringing US and UK industry and military together amid the changing face of warfare, and fight against cyber threats.
“Some believe it is not the place for our armed forces to operate outside deployed conflict zones many thousands of miles from the UK mainland,” he will say.
“They are wrong. Against a threat seeking to subvert and destabilise the very fabric of our society such capabilities are critical.
“So I am convinced cyber, information warfare and intelligence must be fully integrated into our military power, that they are fundamental to a modernised defence and our war fighting successes, and that without them we put our nation’s security at perilous risk.”
He will say that this is why the accord, which will be signed on Monday, will serve as a commitment from the US and UK to work with a committee of firms in cyber and artificial intelligence.
The aim is to ensure the special relationship remains the world’s leading partnership for cyber security, defence and artificial intelligence in the face of changing threats, Williamson is expected to say.
“Aggressor nations still respect our hard-won military expertise on sea, land and air. But they can now use technology to do us harm in ways once thought impossible,” he will add.
“Already the UK is acting – combining our technical excellence, our professionalism, our war fighter ethos to design and increasingly use our offensive cyber capabilities.
“Capability that can counter and deter malign cyber attacks and that allows us to strike swiftly and strategically as Daesh have found to their cost with their evil propaganda machine wiped from the online battlespace.”
It comes as HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s biggest and most powerful warship, prepares to have her systems rigorously tested against the evolving cyber danger next year as part of Information Warrior 2019.
The Royal Navy-led exercise will simulate attempts to bring down networks and jam satellite communications to ensure the fleet remains able to combat these threats, and as hostile states become more technologically advanced.