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British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond has called for the recruitment of hundreds of cyber warriors in the formation of the nation’s Cyber Reserve Force which will engage in both offensive as well as defensive operations.

Hammond said the UK will be increasing the budgets for cyber intelligence and surveillance capabilities, including forming a Joint Cyber Reserve apparatus, and recruiting will begin as soon as next month.

“Last year our cyber defenses blocked around 400,000 advanced malicious cyber threats against the government’s secure internet alone, so the threat is real,” Hammond told delegates at the annual Conservative party conference.

“But simply building cyber defenses is not enough: as in other domains of warfare, we also have to deter. Britain will build a dedicated capability to counterattack in cyberspace and if necessary to strike in cyberspace.”

Hammond noted that offensive cyber operations could include attacks designed to disable enemy communications, weapons and other critical military equipment.

“Our commanders can use cyber weapons alongside conventional weapons in future conflicts,” he told a reporter from publication the Mail over the weekend.

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