National Cyber Force

The UK National Cyber Force (NCF) is an offensive (cyberwarfare) agency jointly operated by the Ministry of Defence, the Secret Intelligence Service, GCHQ, and DSTL avowed in November 2020[1] but assumed to have been in operation since April 2020[2].

National Offensive Cyber Programme

National Offensive Cyber Programme (NOCP), created in 2014[3] was a seven-year[4] joint partnership between the Ministry of Defence and GCHQ.

Mentioned in the 2016 Cyber Security Strategy:

"Through our National Offensive Cyber Programme (NOCP), we have a dedicated capability to act in cyberspace and we will commit the resources to develop and improve this capability."
"We will ensure that we have at our disposal appropriate offensive cyber capabilities that can be deployed at a time and place of our choosing, for both deterrence and operational purposes, in accordance with national and international law.
"To do this, we will: invest in our NOCP – the partnership between the Ministry of Defence and GCHQ that is harnessing the skills and talents of both organisations to deliver the tools, techniques and tradecraft required; develop our ability to use offensive cyber tools; and develop the ability of our Armed Forces to deploy offensive cyber capabilities as an integrated part of operations, thereby enhancing the overall impact we can achieve through military action."
  • Believed to be 500 officers, reported to be planned to increase to 2000, funded to £250 million.[5]

National Cyber Force

National Cyber Force (NCF) was mentioned in new reports that a "top female spy" had been been made its head[6]. A speech mentioning the National Cyber Force was made by the Defence Secretary in October 2019[7].

It is reported[8] to have a budget of £76m for its first year of operations.

It was announced[9] by the Prime Minister in March 2021 that it would in future be located in a "cyber-corridor" in the north-west of England, which was confirmed as Samlesbury in Lancashire in October 2021[10]. A new HQ, reported to cost £5 billion, is expected by 2030.[11]

"The Investigatory Powers Commissioner keeps under review the key statutory powers for the conduct of cyber operations, including the activities of the National Cyber Force."[12]

NCF's commander, James Babbage, was avowed in April 2023.[13]


See also