Federal cyber agency: planned start postponed

The establishment of the announced new federal cyber agency in the Leipzig / Halle area is proceeding slowly. Just under a year after the plans were announced, the facility was not even officially founded, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense said at the request of the German Press Agency. The company is scheduled to be established by the end of March this year. Defense expert of the FDP in the Bundestag, Saxony-Anhalt Marcus Faber, criticized the slow pace. The delays represented a problem facing the federal government in the implementation of digitization projects.

At the end of January 2019, Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) and then Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) announced that the new agency for innovations in cybersecurity would employ 100 people in the Leipzig / Halle area. In the facility, IT specialists are to conduct research on security issues in the Bundeswehr and the police. Specifically, it is about artificial intelligence, quantum technology and active cyber defense.

Leipzig / Halle Airport was announced as the future headquarters in the summer. Because the site there still needs to be prepared, the agency will temporarily move to the city center of Halle. But the budget committee of the Bundestag blocked the project.

Because of the better control options, some MPs wanted the cyber agency to be founded as an authority and not as a company, more precisely as a GmbH. Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) had argued that the cyber agency could not only pay according to the rules of the public service if it wanted to attract IT experts. In late autumn, concerns were resolved and the funds released. Now the agency can be a GmbH – but under conditions, such as additional inspection rights, it said.

According to the CDU member of the Bundestag Christoph Bernstiel, 242.5 million euros will be available by 2023. According to his earlier statements, the agency should start building in January.

Preparations to move into a quarter in Halle are currently ongoing, the Federal Ministry of Defense announced. The move to the airport can take place as soon as a building is available there that meets the requirements of the agency, said a ministry spokesman.

It is therefore still open when the agency will actually start work. The FDP member of the Bundestag Faber estimates that the schedule is delayed by another six months. In his view, the conflict of powers between the federal ministries of the interior and defense also prevents a faster start. Both houses are also responsible for security on the Internet, the delimitation is difficult, said Faber.

In practice, this means that there is a longer struggle over who should take on which role in the cyber agency and who should provide how much and which staff. "This is another example of how the federal government is delaying digitization," said the opposition politician. "Competences have to be bundled instead of distributed, only an independent ministry of digitization can help."


. (tagsToTranslate) Development (t) Federal Cyber ​​Agency (t) Ministry of the Interior (t) Ministry of Defense