I propose to take Questions Nos. 6 and 11 together.
As outlined in the Government's White Paper on Defence 2015, the issue of cybersecurity has significant implications for governmental administration, industry, economic well-being and the security and safety of citizens. Cybersecurity is a standing item on the agenda of the Government task force on emergency planning, which I chair. The response to cyberthreats remains a whole-of-Government challenge, with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment taking the lead role, with inputs in the security domain from An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces. The Department of Defence and the Defence Forces are committed to participating, under the leadership of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, in the delivery of measures to improve the cybersecurity of the State.
The first national cybersecurity strategy, agreed by Government in 2015, set out a series of measures that would be taken to build the capability of the National Cyber Security Centre, NCSC, and to achieve a high level of security for computer networks and critical infrastructure in the State. The NCSC, which is located in the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, provides a range of cybersecurity services to owners of Government ICT infrastructure and critical national infrastructure. The centre is focused on developing capacity to protect Government information and communications networks, and on engaging with stakeholders on sharing information, securing systems and responding to incidents.
The NCSC is also home to the national computer security incident response team, CSIRT, which acts as a national point of contact involving entities within Ireland and as the point of contact for international discussions and collaboration on issues of cybersecurity. A revised national cybersecurity strategy is to be published by my colleague the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Deputy Richard Bruton, in the coming weeks that will address issues raised by the Deputy such as resourcing and preparedness. Officials from my Department and members of the Defence Forces have been actively involved in the development of this revised strategy which, in conjunction with the White Paper on Defence, will continue to inform our engagement in this critical area.
In addition, the Department of Defence and the Defence Forces have a service level agreement with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment to provide support in the area of national cybersecurity. The overall aim of this agreement is to improve the cybersecurity of the State through various types of assistance and support while also ensuring the operational requirements of the Defence Forces are prioritised.
As the Deputies will no doubt be aware, cybersecurity is a multifaceted challenge that is constantly evolving. The nature of the threat and the potential impact also varies considerably depending on the approach and objective of those with malicious intent. In that context, my Department implements a programme of continuous review of ICT security to keep up to date with current threat levels. Details of measures taken are not publicised for security reasons.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
While it would also be inappropriate for me to comment on the specific cyber activities and the resourcing of same by the Defence Forces, for both security and operational reasons, the priority for the Defence Forces communications and information services, CIS, corps is the protection of the Defence Forces communications network. Other activities undertaken by the CIS corps include the monitoring and handling of cyber incidents, the enhancement of Defence Forces cyber situational awareness, and the provision of cyber awareness training.