Defence in the media: Friday 5 October 2018

Top stories in today's defence-related coverage include the exposure of Russian cyber attacks, the new Army physical employment standards and social mobility at Sandhurst.

Russian cyber attacks

Yesterday the UK and its allies exposed a campaign by the Russian military intelligence service to target the worlds of politics, business, media and sport. The National Cyber Security Centre identified that a number of high-profile attacks conducted around the world can now be attributed to the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service.

Authorities in the Netherlands also announced that they intercepted an attempt by Russia to access the computer networks of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

There was widespread coverage on the front pages of The Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express and The Sun.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

I very much welcome the Dutch operation, which we were happy to support and which has identified Russia's malign April 2018 action against the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The UK stands solidly with our Dutch allies and friends.

Unfortunately, the case highlighted by the Dutch was not an isolated act. Earlier today, the British Government exposed a campaign of indiscriminate and reckless cyber attacks targeting political institutions, businesses, media and sport. We identified that these attacks were, in fact, the GRU. They served no legitimate national security interest. Instead they targeted people going about their daily lives; and international organisations, like the OPCW, whose work represents the global community's shared values.

All these cases are further examples of a pattern of reckless behaviour. It is the Russian state that bears the grave responsibility for actions of the GRU. We can no longer allow the GRU to act aggressively across the world with apparent impunity. We will not tolerate their aggressive behaviour and, together with our allies, we will expose and respond to their attempts to undermine international solidarity.

New army physical fitness tests

A writer for Men's Health was put through his paces when he tried the new test for the British Army's improved Physical Employment Standards (PES).

The magazine's video shows how the tests ensure that soldiers are mentally and physically ready to undertake demanding operations in challenging conditions.

For the first time ever, the Army has used the advice of sports scientists to ensure the tests prepare recruits for realistic scenarios, such as casualty extraction, repeated lift and carry and fire and manoeuvre.

You can read Men's Health's report and watch the tests in action on their website.

Social mobility at Sandhurst

The Sun visits the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst - the world's most famous military college - to find out how it is inviting a diverse range of recruits from across society.

Brigadier Bill Wright OBE, deputy commandant of Sandhurst, said:

Sandhurst is open, and the Army is absolutely open.

The paper met Rebecca Smith, who was unemployed and sleeping rough before finding a rewarding career with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Later a senior Army officer noticed her potential and encouraged her to study at Sandhurst.

Rebecca told The Sun:

For me and my background, getting to corporal and doing the job I was doing, I'd already exceeded my own expectations. For somebody to say there's more potential, I saw that as something I couldn't pass up.

Image of the day

Non-commissioned airmen and officers graduated together for the first time at RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire yesterday. The event marks the end of their training and their official entry into the Royal Air Force.