Brits laying off spies to get more IT help in intelligence service


The Security Service is launching an unprecedented round of redundancies to improve the overall level of computer skills among its staff.

Despite an expanding budget, MI5 is laying off employees in order to hire new intelligence officers and support staff with better command of information technology and other “deployable” skills.

The redundancy programme has set tongues wagging in Whitehall, with civil servants in other departments joking about a “James Bond generation” of elderly spies being put out to pasture because they can’t use the internet and don't understand the world of Twitter or Facebook.

The plan was disclosed by Jonathan Evans, the director-general of MI5.

He told a Parliamentary committee that he is concerned that his agency’s overall IT skills are not up to scratch, leading him to get rid of some employees.

“I think some of the staff perhaps aren’t quite the ones that we will want for the future,” Mr Evans told the Intelligence and Security Committee.

As a result, a programme of “both voluntary and compulsory redundancies” is being introduced.

Whitehall officials said the MI5 redundancy programme was aimed at altering the skills profile of the organisation and increasing the number of its staff that can be deployed on active operations.


Redundancy is Brit speak for firings, terminations and layoffs. When you consider that enemy says that half its war effort is in the media sphere, intelligence agencies will need people who can operate there and thwart the enemy's ambitions. They need people who can intercept the enemy communications and act to thwart the enemy kinetic operations too.


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