Dr Paul Keeley and Dstl’s role in cyber defence

October 18, 2021


Dr Paul Kealey leads over 700 scientists at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) who create cutting edge science for the UK’s defence and homeland security capability. The cyber and space security areas saw huge investment as reported in the 2021 Integrated Review (IR) and Paul explains how Dstl will ensure the money is used to its full potential to protect the nation.

“The value of government money is taken extremely seriously and means that it has to be used wisely and effectively. The funding is used to make sure the military has the resources it needs now and in the future to keep the UK safe.”

The importance of research in space and cyber

“There are many challenges within cyber and space where the UK is constantly being challenged in the cyber domain. It is not optional and it is necessary to be ahead of the cyber curve to protect the UK‘s commerce and finance, the multi-systems used in defence and security.

Similarly, in space, it is important to partake in space research, not just for a ‘safer spaces sake’, but it is a key enabler where it is used for timing the planks of the communication, earth monitoring (civil or military) and for navigation, so having a safe and secure set of space capabilities pedals the whole of the UK economy.”

Threats to the UK’s cyber infrastructure

“It’s a continuing problem for all parts of the industry and defence, from banks to hospitals and even your home computer, but it is actually the National Cyber Security Centre that lead on providing security on the national infrastructure.

Dstl’s role in defence ensures that the UK’s military equipment and military systems have that equal world-class level of security and are safeguarded ahead of any planned and potential threats.”

How data is used

“Data is used in a number of ways: firstly to support military commanders to help them make better decisions, for example data can help see what’s on the other side of the mountain and what’s going on in the battlefield. Data is used to understand what another army or adversary are doing, so Dstl experts will develop algorithms that can help provide intelligence, giving personnel the information they need and at pace wherever they are.

“Data is developed to ensure even better decisions are made in investment and where defence should invest its money, which capability area is a priority. Dstl supports across government, advising them what they should be investing in.”

Keeping ahead of the threat

“Intelligence is gathered as part of a cross-government effort, for example the UK’s Defence Intelligence organisation will lead on the intelligence signal.

Dstl works under the Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA) Dame Angela McLean where her science and technology strategy is followed and this looks at generation after next technologies that don’t just look ahead, but can predict and plan for the likelihood of future attacks.”

For more information, visit: www.gov.uk

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