Britain prepared to use air strikes or send in troops as retaliation against future cyber attack

Britain could launch military retaliation such as air strikes against a future cyber attack, the Defence Secretary has suggested.

Sir Michael Fallon warned potential attackers that a strike on UK systems “could invite a response from any domain – air, land, sea or cyberspace”.

The Defence Secretary said the UK’s ability to carry out its own cyber attacks against Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (Isil), also known as Daesh, had saved lives during the battle for Mosul in Iraq and the capability was also being used in the fight for Raqqa in Syria.

Meanwhile the head of the US Army said governments are relying too much on overstretched elite special forces such as the SAS and Delta Force to try to win conflicts.

Gen Mark Milley said it was a myth that special forces “can do it all” and they were being asked to conduct missions they were not designed for.

He spoke at a conference in London as the head of the Chief of the General Staff said the British Army was now at its smallest since the time of Oliver Cromwell.

British and American special forces have spent more than 15 years engaged in high intensity operations around the world since the 9/11 attacks.

The deployment of special forces became a favoured military tactic of Barack Obama and then Donald Trump as the US presidents tried to minimise their overseas military footprint.

Britain has also used special forces extensively in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria in recent years.

Gen Milley, Chief of Staff of the US Army, told the Royal United Services Institute’s land warfare conference: “I’m a proud special forces soldier. Special forces are great, but they are special for a reason.

“They have special missions, special training and they are usually used for a special purpose and that purpose is not to win wars.

“Green Berets, SAS, SBS, Delta Force, Seal Team 6 – All the special forces in the world do not fight and win wars. Neither do armies, or air forces, or navies. Nations fight and win wars. They go to war as a nation and our forces … combined armed operations and joint operations win wars.

“There is a great tendency to place over reliance on and over stretch our special forces and ask of them things that they are not designed or capable of doing.”

Gen Milley also said it was a myth that wars could be won quickly or that armies could be built up quickly.

Speaking at the same conference, Gen Sir Nick Carter, the head of the British Army said reductions in troops meant generals needed to find ways to make up for a loss of numbers.

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Source: The Telegraph