Written answers

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Department of Defence

Defence Forces Operations

Duncan Smith (Dublin Fingal, Labour)
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169. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the strength of the Defence Forces and Reserve Defence Forces CIS units; the established strength of each; his plans to enhance cybersecurity protections; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30704/20]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I am informed by the military authorities that the establishment figure for the Communications and Information Services Corps (CIS) of the Permanent Defence Force is 491 personnel and for the Reserve Defence Force is 101 personnel. For operational reasons, current strengths are not provided.

The National Cyber Security Centre, which is part of the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, is the primary authority responsible for cyber security in the State.

While the primary role of the Defence Forces with regard to Cyber Security relates to the defence and security of its own networks and systems, the Department of Defence and the Defence Forces are committed to participating, under the leadership of the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, in the delivery of measures to improve the Cyber Security of the State.

Department officials and members of the Defence Forces are actively involved in the implementation of the National Cyber Security Strategy which, in conjunction with the White Paper on Defence 2015, will continue to inform our engagement in this critical area. This includes work to develop an updated, detailed risk assessment of the current vulnerability of all Critical National Infrastructure and services to cyber-attacks and the provision of a member of the Defence Forces for secondment to the Cyber Security Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia.

In addition, the Department of Defence and the Defence Forces have a Memorandum of Understanding and a Service Level Agreement with the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications to provide support in the area of national cyber security.

While it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the specific cyber activities and the resourcing of same by the Defence Forces, for both security and operational reasons, I can inform the Deputy that the priority for the Defence Forces CIS is the protection of the Defence Forces Communications Network.

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