Computer experts looking to join the military reserve force to help fight cyber terrorism will be allowed to avoid tough fitness testing, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said today.
Describing the cyber threats as a ‘new tool of warfare’, Hammond said the new recruits might be expected not only to ward off possible attacks on the UK, but also to help the UK to launch cyber-attacks on its enemies.
The announcement is a part of a newly unveiled plan of the Ministry of Defence to recruit extra 12,000 part-time soldier to bolster the armed forces.
Currently, soldiers hoping to join the Army have to lift a 40kg bag on to a 1.45m surface, carry two 20kg containers of water over a course of up 150ms and complete a 1.5-mile run in a strict time limit. However, the newly selected reservists might be excused on the basis of their exceptional computer skills.
"Part of the structure that we are talking about here relates to a new focus on reservist contributions to cyber defence,” Hammond said. “Alongside the traditional image of the reservist, we are looking for people who sit in front of a screen working perhaps for one of the big IT companies but who relish being able to deploy their skills in a more operational environment.”
The cyber reservists would be mostly deployed at UK locations only obliged to serve for limited periods of time.
The announcement follows the recent debate about general level of cyber security in the UK.