National Cyber Force appoints new commander

By Tim Aldred

17 Oct 2023

Tim Neal Hopes

The government's National Cyber Force (NCF), to be based in Samlesbury from 2025, has appointed air vice-marshal Tim Nea-Hopes as commander.

He is the second person to hold the role since the organisation's launch in 2020. His predecessor, James Babbage, has taken up post as director general threats (economic and organised crime) at the National Crime Agency.

Most recently, Tim served as director cyber, intelligence and information integration within Strategic Command and will be the first member of the armed forces to hold the position.

As well as delivering cyber operations to keep the country safe, Tim will be responsible for overseeing the NCF’s continued growth as part of the UK’s broader national cyber enterprise, including the opening of NCF’s headquarters in Samlesbury in two years' time.

Tim will also continue scaling NCF’s integration with other parts of Government, partners, and a growing number of international allies.

Established in 2020, the NCF is a partnership between defence and intelligence which carries out cyber operations daily to protect against threats to the UK, further the UK’s foreign policy, support military operations, and prevent serious crime. 

General Sir Jim Hockenhull, commander strategic command, said: “Tim’s experience in cyber and intelligence has repeatedly been proven throughout a distinguished military career, and most recently serving at the heart of Defence Intelligence. I am confident the NCF will benefit greatly from his knowledge, experience, and leadership.

“This is an important time for the NCF. The array of threats that we collectively face through cyberspace is becoming ever more complex and persistent, and the cyber and electromagnetic domain increasingly decisive.

"Tim will also oversee the move of the NCF headquarters to Samlesbury – an exciting time for the young organisation and its people. Establishing NCF in the North West will open up a great number of fulfilling and interesting roles and careers to a whole range of talent in the region."

Tim Neal-Hopes added: “The last two decades of my life have been invested in supporting the evolution of the UK’s cyber power, and so I am immensely proud to take on the role of commander. The NCF has a clear vision to be a vital tool of the UK’s statecraft, delivering increasing impact for the nation and exemplifying globally the responsible projection of cyber power.

“Nearly four years on from its creation, NCF’s impact has been felt across all facets of the UK’s national security, from supporting and protecting military operations, to countering state threats and disrupting criminal activity.

“It is a privilege to be working with such diverse and talented people. NCF’s blend of skills and expertise in its workforce is an absolute strength and unlike anywhere else because of its unique defence and intelligence partnership. I am committed to realising the vision for the NCF and building a force that truly represents the nation we serve.”

Enjoyed this? Read more from Tim Aldred

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