For Oral Answer on : 27/01/2022
Question Number(s): 135 Question Reference(s): 3632/22
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Defence the role played by Defence Forces personnel in the preservation of Ireland’s cybersecurity; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Cyber security is an issue with very significant implications for governmental administration, for industry, for economic wellbeing and for the security and safety of citizens. It is a standing item on the agenda of the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning which I Chair where it is always a key topic of discussion.
The response to cyber threats is a whole-of-Government challenge, with the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications taking the lead role and with inputs in the security domain from An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces.
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, including incident response, cyber resilience and information provision. 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. This is being done in line with the Programme for Government commitment to implement the National Cyber Security Strategy, recognizing the potential and important role of the Defence Forces.
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 secondment of a member of the Defence Forces to the Cyber Security Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia. My Officials were also part of the steering group that developed a Baseline Cyber Security Standard for Government Departments and Agencies and they participate in the UK-Ireland Critical National Infrastructure Cyber Cooperation Working Group. My officials also actively participate on the Inter-Departmental Committee overseeing the overall implementation of the National Cyber Security Strategy.
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. The overall aim is to improve the cyber security of the State through various types of assistance and support while also ensuring the operational requirements of the Defence Forces are prioritised, including the ongoing sharing of information and analyses of risks.