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Top civil servant to head cyber security center

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The GCHQ Center in Cheltenham from where Lindy Cameron will be taking her instructions

In an expected move the UK has appointed a new national cyber security chief.

Top civil servant Lindy Cameron becomes only the second person to hold the post since the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) was established in October 2016.

Cameron is currently the director general at the Northern Ireland Office which effectively makes her the second most important person in that department behind the Northern Ireland Secretary.

The NCSC provides cyber security advisory and support services to critical public and private sectors in the UK. Crucially it is ultimately controlled by the UK’s core signals intelligence organization, GCHQ.

Cameron will be replacing Ciaran Martin who also has a solid civil service background. Prior to becoming chief of the NCSC in 2016 Martin helped shape the framework of the Scottish independence referendum (2014) in his capacity as constitution director at the Cabinet Office.

For her part, Cameron has performed a series of sensitive and high-powered aid/reconstruction, security (and possibly intelligence) roles at the heart of government.

Most strikingly she was the deputy director of the Department for International Development (DFID) in Afghanistan between 2006 and 2007 and director of the provincial reconstruction team in Afghanistan’s Helmand province (where British military forces were concentrated) between 2009 and 2010.

Cameron is expected to assume her new post in September. Her appointment as head of the NCSC unfolds against the backdrop of heightened UK activity in the cyber warfare arena.

The Independent reported on January 10 that the UK was in the “final stages” of setting up a specialist “offensive” cyber warfare unit which is expected to proactively target terrorist organizations, hostile states and organized crime groups.


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