|Communications and Information Services Corps|
|Irish: An Cór Seirbhísí Cumarsáide agus Eolais|
|Role||Installation, maintenance and operation of telecommunications and ICT systems|
|Size||Battalion (minus) strength|
|Part of||Defence Forces|
|Garrison/HQ||McKee Barracks, Dublin|
The Communications and Information Services Corps (CIS) (Irish: An Cór Seirbhísí Cumarsáide agus Eolais) – formerly the Army Corps of Signals – is one of the combat support corps of the Irish Defence Forces, the military of Ireland. It is responsible for the installation, maintenance and operation of communications and information systems for the command, control and administration of the Defence Forces, and the facilitation of accurate, real-time sharing of intelligence between the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps branches at home and overseas.
Formerly the Army Corps of Signals, the Communications and Information Services Corps is responsible for the development and operation of Information Technology and Telecommunications systems in support of Defence Forces tasks. It is also responsible for coordinating all communications – radio and line – and information systems, communications research and updating of communications in line with modern developments and operational requirements. The CIS Corps is tasked with utilising networking and information technologies in order to dramatically increase Defence Force operational effectiveness through the provision of timely and accurate information to the appropriate commander, along with the real time efficient sharing of information and intelligence with the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps, as well as with multinational partners involved in international peacekeeping and other actors as required.
This role includes the development and maintenance of a secure nationwide Defence Forces Telecommunications Network (DFTN), which can support both protected voice and data services, and the provision and maintenance of encrypted military communications equipment for use by Defence Forces personnel at home and abroad. CIS Corps units are dispersed throughout the DF giving Communications and IT support to each of the Army Brigades; Naval Service, Air Corps, Defence Forces Training Centre (DFTC) and Defence Forces Headquarters (DFHQ). The CIS Corps have Base Workshops where detailed maintenance, research and development is conducted.
The CIS Corps collar flash features the angel Gabriel, the messenger of God, behind a signal shield and the caption "Cór Comharthaíochta". This is the Irish translation for 'Signals Corps', while the translation for Communications and Information Services Corps is "An Cór Seirbhísí Cumarsáide agus Eolais".
Signals intelligence & cyber
The Communications and Information Services (CIS) Corps works with the Defence Forces intelligence branch, the Directorate of Military Intelligence (J2), with regard to signals intelligence (SIGINT), and houses a dedicated SIGINT element within the Corps. The DF CIS Corps has the ability to intercept and monitor communications, remotely collect data, and process it. Under Irish legislation, the Criminal Justice (Surveillance) Act 2009 and Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages (Regulation) Act 1993 provides the Defence Forces with the legal authority to conduct domestic intelligence operations involving espionage, electronic communications and stored electronic information in order to safeguard and maintain the security of the state.
The CIS Corps along with the Garda Síochána, the national police force, provide a significant domestic support role to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment in countering cyber-attacks, protecting critical national infrastructure and securing government communications. CIS is responsible for cyber security within the Defence Forces, and maintains a capability in that area for the purpose of protecting its own networks and users domestic and foreign. In 2016 the establishment of the Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT) in DFHQ CIS Company was revealed.
In July 2015, leaked email correspondence from Hacking Team – a private Italian spying and eavesdropping software company – reportedly showed members of the Irish CIS Corps in discussions with the company to purchase intrusion and surveillance "solutions" for the lawful interception of online communications, such as monitoring incoming and outgoing emails, browsing activity, Skype calls, remotely switching on webcams and microphones and remotely taking control of devices. A Defence Forces spokesperson said that for operational security reasons, it could not comment on specific elements of the activities of the CIS Corps, but confirmed that no goods or services were purchased from the company in question.
The CIS Corps deployed 'ethical hackers' to fight back against the Health Service Executive ransomware attack in mid-2021, and sent CIS personnel to hospitals and HSE offices in order to decrypt devices affected by the cyberattack onsite. Reservists were particularly useful to this effort due to their cybersecurity skills and experience gleaned from the private sector.
Soldiers join the Communications and Information Services Corps in one of the following apprenticeship trades;
- Communication Operative
- Electronic Engineering Technician
- Software Engineering Technician
- Information Technology Support Technician
- Communications & Information Services Technician
- Regimental Signaller
- Radio Instructor
- Telephone Maintenance Technician
- Data Communications Technician
- Microwave Systems Technician
- Network Administrator
All personnel do their basic military training.
There are 3 sections to the CIS School, providing training in the areas of operational procedures, technical proficiency and simulation.
Procedural and Operations Section (Proc/Ops);
- Communications Operative Course
- Detachment Commanders Course
- Aerial Riggers Course
- Regimental Signals Course
- CIS Standard NCO Course
- CIS Young Officers Course
- CIS Trainee Technician Scheme (TTS)
- Technical Training Advancement Courses
- Strategic Applications Training
- Digital Indoor Range Theatres (DIRT)
- Command and Staff Trainer
The DIRT range is a digital indoor shooting range in which trainees can be assessed on their marksmanship skills for the various small arms weapons used by the DF. It helps develop these proficiencies methodically without firing live ammunition on a regular basis. The €1 million facility is based at the Department of Defence properties at Kilworth Camp, County Cork.
Communications and Information Services Corps Units
- Defence Forces Headquarters CIS Company (DFHQ CIS Coy), McKee Barracks, Dublin
- Communications Division, Naval Service (Comms Div, NS), Halbouline, Cork
- Air Corps CIS Squadron, Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel, Dublin
- CIS Group (including CIS School, Base Signal Workshops, Base Technical Stores) Curragh Camp, Kildare
- 1 Field CIS Company (1 Fd CIS Coy), Collins Barracks, Cork
- 2 Field CIS Company (2 Fd CIS Coy), Cathal Brugha Barracks, Dublin
- 4 Field CIS Company (4 FD CIS COY), Custume Barracks, Athlone
- 31 Reserve Field CIS Company (31 RES FD CIS COY), Sarsfield Barracks, Limerick and Collins Barracks, Cork
- 54 Reserve Field CIS Company (54 RES FD CIS COY), Custume Barracks, Athlone and Military Post, Sligo
- 62 Reserve Field CIS Company (62 RES FD CIS COY), Cathal Brugha Barracks, Dublin
The Reserve Defence Forces (RDF) units have been integrated with the Permanent Defence Forces (PDF) units as part of the "single force concept".
- Signals intelligence by alliances, nations and industries
- National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)
- Directorate of Military Intelligence (J2)
- Army Ranger Wing (ARW)
- Garda Crime & Security Branch (CSB)
- Garda National Surveillance Unit (NSU)
- Centre for Cybersecurity & Cybercrime Investigation (UCD CCI)
- Royal Corps of Signals
- "Communications and Information Service Corps". Department of Defence. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
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- "Military 'can help stop cyber attacks'". The Irish Examiner. 20 February 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
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- Kennedy, John (3 July 2015). "Ireland gears up for cyber war – new strategy to protect critical infrastructure". Silicon Republic. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
- O'Brien, Tim (16 July 2013). "Shatter launches debate on future of the Defence Forces". The Irish Times. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
- "National Cyber Security Strategy 2015-2017" (PDF). Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 July 2015. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- "Defence Forces Review 2015" (PDF). Defence Forces Ireland. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
- MacGuill, Dan (9 July 2015). "Leaked emails show Irish Defence Forces held talks with controversial hacking company". thejournal.ie. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
- "Military chiefs: No software bought from hacker firm". Irish Independent. 10 July 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
- "Defence Forces emails leaked online - correspondence linked to controversial hacking company". RTÉ News. 9 July 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
- Lally, Conor (9 July 2015). "Defence Forces emails to security firm leaked". The Irish Times. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
- O'Connor, Niall (20 July 2021). "Defence Forces deployed 'ethical hackers' to fight back against massive HSE cyber attack". The Journal. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
- "Cyber Security in the Defence Forces". Defence Forces Public Relations Branch. 16 July 2021. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
- "The CIS School". Defence Forces Ireland. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
- "Army sets its sights on €1m digital firing range at Kilworth camp". The Irish Examiner. 11 August 2014. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
- Defence Forces Ireland - Army Corps - Communications and Information Services Corps
- Defence Forces Ireland - Air Corps - Communication & Information Services Squadron