Robert Hannigan on the Creation of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre

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A lecture by Robert Hannigan CMG, Distinguished Fellow, RUSI and former Director, GCHQ, on the creation of the National Cyber Security Centre and future cyber security challenges. 

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In 2016, Robert established the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). The NCSC acts as a bridge between industry and government, providing a unified source of advice, guidance and support on cyber security, including the management of cyber security incidents. During its first two years, the NCSC’s cyber security front line helped to support 1,167 cyber incidents. The majority of those attacks against the UK were attributed to hostile nation states.

This lecture and discussion will formally launch Robert’s personal written account of the UK’s approach to cyber security and how the NCSC was created. Published by RUSI, the report draws out the thinking, principles and key policy, operational and political issues, which might be applicable or useful elsewhere. In this lecture, Robert will also offer his reflections on future cyber-related challenges.

Speaker Biography

Robert Hannigan CMG is a Distinguished Fellow of RUSI. He is European Executive Chairman of BlueVoyant, the cyber security services company, and a Senior Adviser to McKinsey & Co.

He was Director of GCHQ, the UK’s largest intelligence and security agency, from 2014-17, and a member of the National Security Council.

Robert established the National Cyber Security Centre in 2016, having been responsible for the UK’s first cyber strategy in 2009. He was also responsible for directing, with military colleagues, the National Offensive Cyber Programme. He is a leading authority on cyber security, cyber conflict and the application of technology in national security. He writes and speaks regularly on cyber issues.

Robert spent 20 years in UK Government service, including as Prime Minister’s Security Adviser at No10 from 2007-10. He was responsible in the Cabinet Office for the Single Intelligence Account (covering MI5, GCHQ and SIS/MI6), chaired ‘COBR’ through numerous crises and was a longstanding member of the Joint Intelligence Committee, which he chaired in 2011-12. He came to London from Belfast, where he was Tony Blair’s senior official on the Northern Ireland peace process, responsible for negotiations with political parties, paramilitaries and with the Irish and US Governments.

He caused international controversy as Director of GCHQ in 2014 by criticising Silicon Valley companies in the Financial Times, but he has also spoken at MIT in defence of strong encryption and US technology leadership. He has a particular interest in Bletchley Park, where he is a Trustee, and the history of technology, computing and cryptology. He was a member of the UK Government’s Defence Innovation Advisory Panel.

Robert is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center, a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology and Honorary Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford. He is one of the few non-US nationals to have been awarded the US Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Medal.

Drinks reception from 1730 to 1815.

This event is open to all RUSI members. To become a member, please click here.

For details on registration please contact Annalinda Riley, at or call +44 (0)20 7747 2600.


Continuing Professional Development

This event has been certified for CPD purposes by the CPD Certification Service.

To obtain a CPD Certificate of Attendance please register with RUSI at the end of the event attended, and a certificate will be dispatched within 28 days. If an attendee fails to register with RUSI then it will not be possible to issue a certificate.

For more information please contact Jack Haines,

To attend this event, please register online using the "Register Now" button above. If you have any queries, please contact Annalinda Riley, at or call +44 (0)20 7747 2600

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