|Ministry of Defence Corsham|
|Near Corsham, Wiltshire in England|
|Type||Military communications centre|
|Owner||Ministry of Defence|
|Controlled by||Defence Digital|
The War Office bought a section of the Pockeridge estate to provide space for Basil Hill Barracks in 1936. The barracks were used by 15 Company Royal Army Ordnance Corps as the administrative headquarters for a Central Ammunitions Depot serving the south of England, known as CAD Corsham or CAD Monkton Farleigh. The depot closed in 1964, although the site was retained by the Royal Army Ordnance Corps and was still used as the headquarters of their Territorial Army section in the 1980s.
The site had two significant older buildings. Pockeridge House, to the east of the site, has origins in the 18th century, with additions including coach houses, stables and a walled garden; it was used as the Officer’s Mess. Sandhurst Block is a substantial two-storey office building which was built in 1938, reputedly in the style of a monastery to disguise the site's use.
From 1998, Corsham was the headquarters of the newly created Defence Communication Services Agency, taking over from the Navy, Army and RAF which had dealt with their own communications. The site was then sometimes called DCSA Corsham. In 2007 the DCSA was subsumed into Information Systems & Services (ISS) within Defence Equipment and Support.
In 2019 Information Systems & Services and a number of organisations were brought together as Defence Digital, with an annual budget of over £2 billion and about 2,400 staff including military, civil servants and contractors, led by the Ministry of Defence chief information officer Charles Forte.
Located on the former Basil Hill Barracks site, MOD Corsham is the product of a £690 million development project that was completed at the end of 2011. The site is home to the Ministry of Defence's Global Operations Security Control Centre (GOSCC), the Joint Security Co-ordination Centre (JSyCC), and Defence Digital.
Corsham New Environment Programme
The Corsham New Environment Programme was initiated in 2001, to modernise the three sites around MoD Corsham with 118 old buildings and 350 acres (140 ha) of underground facilities. The programme was approved in 2004, business case approved in 2006, and a 25 year £690 million Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract placed in 2008 with the Inteq Consortium, a joint-venture between John Laing and Interserve. Two sites, RAF Rudloe Manor north and Copenacre, were sold and the more efficient new site required 370 fewer operational staff.
Construction began in 2010 and the first staff moved in in 2011. The new Global Operations and Security Control Centre (GOSCC) building was built over the capped large Queen Mary vent to the underground facilities below. New accommodation for 180 service personnel and a sports hall were also built. Remediation works were carried out to the underground facilities.
The programme was part of the Defence Equipment and Support 'PACE' (Performance, Agility, Confidence and Efficiency) business improvement programme to consolidate many of its staff within the Bristol and Bath area around its major MoD Abbey Wood site.
In addition to GOSCC, JSyCC and JFC DD, MOD Corsham is home to several other MoD units, among them 11th Signal Brigade's 10th Signal Regiment including its reserve unit 81 Signal Squadron; and 233 (Global Communication Networks) Signal Squadron (now part of the re-activated 13th Signal Regiment (United Kingdom). The United Kingdom National Distribution Agency (UKNDA) and Electronic Messaging Service (email and secure dial-up) are also on the site. The site served as the headquarters of the British Army's 2nd (National Communications) Signal Brigade which was disbanded in 2012.
In April 2016, a new Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) "to protect the MOD's cyberspace from malicious actors" was announced at MOD Corsham, with a budget of over £40 million. The Operations Centre was to work alongside the planned civilian National Cyber Security Centre.
Airbus Defence and Space (previously Paradigm Secure Communications) have a base a few hundred metres north of the site to support the Skynet 5 private finance initiative satellite operations contract, in partnership with Defence Digital. The Corsham Computer Centre, a Royal Navy submarine support unit, is a few hundred metres northeast of MoD Corsham.
A number of the underground facilities under MOD Corsham are scheduled monuments relating to Cold War history, parts of the Central Government War Headquarters (CGWHQ). Additionally a number of underground murals painted by Olga Lehmann are grade II* listed. East to west they are:
- Tunnel Quarry
- Slope Shaft (Emergency Exit) A
- Kitchen, Canteen, Laundry, Dining and Washroom Areas
- Prime Minister's Rooms and Operations Rooms
- Radio Studio
- GPO Telephone Exchange
- Lamson Terminus Room and associated Fan Room
- Quarry Operations Centre (QOC) Murals
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Defence Digital brought together and replaced a number of organisations, including Information Systems and Services (ISS) in 2019.
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- Historic England. "MoD CORSHAM: Tunnel Quarry (Grade Scheduled Monument) (1409857)". National Heritage List for England.
- Historic England. "MoD CORSHAM: Slope Shaft (Emergency Exit) A (Grade Scheduled Monument) (1409125)". National Heritage List for England.
- Historic England. "MoD CORSHAM: Kitchen, Canteen, Laundry, Dining and Washroom Areas (Grade Scheduled Monument) (1409120)". National Heritage List for England.
- Historic England. "MoD CORSHAM: Prime Minister's Rooms and Operations Rooms (Grade Scheduled Monument) (1409131)". National Heritage List for England.
- Historic England. "MoD CORSHAM: Radio Studio (Grade Scheduled Monument) (1409123)". National Heritage List for England.
- Historic England. "MoD CORSHAM: GPO Telephone Exchange (Grade Scheduled Monument) (1409129)". National Heritage List for England.
- Historic England. "MoD CORSHAM: Lamson Terminus Room and associated Fan Room (Grade Scheduled Monument) (1409121)". National Heritage List for England.
- Historic England. "MoD CORSHAM: Quarry Operations Centre (QOC) Murals (Grade II*) (1409132)". National Heritage List for England.