British troops go on the offensive on the digital battlefield


UK armed forces have put together a new division to address the growing threat of online propaganda and international cyber-crime.

More than 14,000 troops will create the division, with experts from electronic warfare and intelligence combining with soldiers from the 77th Brigade to form a new 6th Division to be based at Upavon in Wiltshire.

The new force will practice procedures such as blocking enemy networks and subverting communications systems. Troops will also operate on computers in partnership with GCHQ espionage specialists to tackle internet trolls, mount offensive cyber-strikes and take down propaganda.

This will be the first division specifically created to tread the fine line between standard and specialist warfare tactics.

Overseeing preparations for dealing with cyber-threats is commander field army, Lieutenant General Ivan Jones, who has served with the SAS and data intelligence.

“The character of warfare continues to change. The Army must remain adaptable and evolve as a fighting force,’ Lieutenant General Ivan Jones said, before underlining how one of the group’s goals is to “rebalance” the army’s formation to be able to cope with “constant competition.”

“The speed of change is moving at a remarkable rate and it will only get faster and more complex,” he added.

The newly-formed 6th Division will specialise in cyber-attacks, electronic warfare, data intelligence, IT operations and unconventional warfare tactics and operations. Within the 6th Division will be 1st Signal Brigade, 11th Signal Brigade, 1st Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Brigade, 77th Brigade and the Specialist Infantry Group.

Propaganda was a cause for concern for armed forces in June, when Russia began sending out apparently phoney material which showed British soldiers behaving inappropriately during exercises in Croatia.

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