James Bond in Lancashire: What we know about Government’s National Cyber Force plan for Samlesbury

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The news that the UK’s new National Cyber Force HQ will be centred in Lancashire is of real significance for the region.

But what exactly does it all mean with the digital warfare centre earmarked for Samlesbury?

We’ve taken a closer look at this great spy plan that has got everyone talking just as James Bond returned to cinemas in Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007 in No Time to Die.

Who is behind the project?

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The real-life James Bond could be getting some help from Lancashire soon...The real-life James Bond could be getting some help from Lancashire soon...
The real-life James Bond could be getting some help from Lancashire soon...

A powerful collaboration between the County Council, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, the Universities of Lancaster and Central Lancashire and also BAE Systems has helped bring the National Cyber Force project to the county. Lancashire MPs have been lobbying the Government since it was first announced back in March that the centre would be in the North West and their voices appear to have been heard.

Who will be based at Salmesbury?

It will be jointly run by GCHQ, the Ministry of Defence and MI6 and is expected to employ thousands of cyber experts by 2030 - think lots and lots of Qs…

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The project comes in at a cool £5billion, roughly the cost of the kit Bond goes through in every film, maybe...

What kind of work will be done behind closed doors?

This is top secret stuff. The digital warfare centre, which will be near to the BAE Systems site, will be capable of launching “offensive” cyber attacks against hostile powers such as Russia.

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Preston North and Wyre MP Ben Wallace, the Defence secretary, said: “Some foreign states are waging cyber warfare on us every single day. And we have a right under international law and among ourselves to defend ourselves. We will defend ourselves from cyber warfare if that warfare is dangerous, corrupting, or damaging.”

What does it mean for Lancashire?

Partners who have worked together to secure Samlesbury as the preferred location for the digital warfare centre say it is a "once in a generation opportunity" to establish Lancashire as a global centre of excellence for cyber security, bringing multi-million investment into the county.

Lancashire County Council leader, Coun Phillippa Williamson, said: “This is a real vote of confidence in Lancashire, which builds on our strengths as a market leader in tech and aerospace. This will not only create high-skilled jobs and significant investment opportunities, but will also establish the county as a global centre of excellence for cyber security.”

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