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Australian Defence chief meets with UK Strategic Command to talk cyber cooperation

Australian Chief of the Defence Force General Angus Campbell has met with UK Defence Strategic Command Commander General Sir Jim Hockenhull to discuss a new cyber partnership and AUKUS opportunities.

user iconRobert Dougherty
Wed, 24 Jan 2024
Australian Defence chief meets with UK Strategic Command to talk cyber cooperation
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Both military officials met on 22 January to discuss how both countries can maximise the UK-Australia relationship to remain ahead of adversaries, a growing cyber partnership, opportunities provided by AUKUS, and sharing of experience.

“Engaging discussions with General Sir Jim Hockenhull, Commander UK Strategic Command in London,” GEN Campbell said via X (formerly Twitter).

“The AU-GB partnership is dynamic and enduring, underpinned by our history of cooperation across exercises, exchanges and operations, with an increasing focus on joint capabilities.”

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UK Strategic Command officials, including General Sir Jim Hockenhull, have met with Australian Defence senior officials such as Australian Vice Chief of Defence Force, Vice Admiral David Johnston and Defence Strategic Review Implementation Deputy Secretary Tom Hamilton in regular dialogue over the last three months.

“As the battlefield is constantly changing due to the emergence of new threats and technologies, the two generals (Campbell and Hockenhull) discussed in detail the cyber partnership between the UK and Australia, with General Sir Jim Hockenhull also speaking of Strategic Command’s ongoing efforts to harness digital lessons from the recent Australian Defence Strategic Review,” according to a UK Strategic Command statement published on 22 January.

“Having a strong digital defence will prove to be crucial over the coming years, especially with the advent of artificial intelligence and our adversaries’ interest in unconventional means of disruption, such as ransomware attacks.

“Another key point of discussion was how the conflicts of today can help us predict and prepare for tomorrow’s battles.

“Asymmetric warfare is commonly employed by many [of] our adversaries, with both the UK and Australia agreeing that innovation and engagement with future technology will be critical to defending the interests of Europe and the Pacific.

“The importance of Britain’s presence in the Indo-Pacific was also discussed, alongside the value of our partnership in containing emerging threats from both the European and Pacific theatre.”

Late last year, GEN Campbell used a speech to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute to flag the dangers Western democracies face from the use of artificial intelligence as a disinformation tool.

“We are more connected and have access to more information than any other time in history – and also more disinformation,” GEN Campbell said on 14 September to an ASPI conference audience, as reported by The Guardian.

“We rightly pride ourselves on being an open, diverse, and liberal society – in other words, exposed.

“Healthy and functioning societies such as ours depend upon a well-informed and engaged citizenry. Unfortunately, it is often said, we are increasingly living in a post-truth world where perceptions and emotions often trump facts.”

GEN Campbell observed that Russia’s Cold War disinformation campaigns were aimed at the US and its allies at the time and that same “inheritance” is being used now as a weapon to influence the West. Campbell cited the Brexit referendum and the 2016 US election as key examples of Russian influence campaigns.

“While the overarching intent of the Soviet and Russian disinformation campaigns were the same, what sets them apart is the Russian Federation’s use of novel technologies to enhance the scale, speed, and spread of their efforts.

“By feeding and amplifying untruths and fake news on social media via the use of bots, troll farms, and fake online personas, the Russians attacked American and British democracy, highlighting distrust, sowing discord, and undermining faith in key institutions,” GEN Campbell said.


This article was originally published on Cyber Daily’s sister brand, Defence Connect.

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