UK military may recruit wheezy, alcoholic keyboard warriors

They don’t need to travel or fight, so chief of defence staff is happy to relax medical rules

Hacker with face obscured, wearing a hoodie,  works in front of a bank of monitors. photo by Shutterstock
At last! A valid use of a 'hacker in a hoodie' stereotype stock image

The United Kingdom’s military should relax its medical requirements to help it enlist more skilled cyber-operatives.

So said Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, who is chief of defence staff, in a valedictory address delivered on Tuesday at think tank "Policy Exchange".

Peach's remarks touched on the changing nature of the UK’s defence forces and lauded the nation’s cyber-operatives.

“Some of the people in British military uniform are the best cyber operators in the world,” he said, adding that “I am not just saying that … that is said to us when we take place in international exercises.”

“We are getting some of this right.”

But he said to keep advancing the nation’s online defence capabilities “We need to do things that some people in this room might find uncomfortable.”

“I am quite relaxed about having a cyber force who don’t deploy overseas,” he said, adding I am quite relaxed about medical conditions being relaxed because they are not deploying overseas.”

As detailed here, asthma, epilepsy, eczema and alcohol or drug dependency are currently barriers to enlistment in the British Army. Peach didn’t detail which conditions he’d be willing to permit among recruits, but said relaxing the rules makes sense because cyber-operatives won’t be asked to travel to warzones or exert themselves.

“Their work is here," he said in remarks starting at about the 13:00 mark in the video below.

Youtube Video

Peach also said that keyboard warriors need to be better-integrated into the military and recognised properly for their efforts. He also lauded the role of the Ministry of Defence’s intelligence-gathering corps, asserting that they do as well, or better, than other intelligence agencies in part thanks to their cyber-skills. ®




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