The British government has classified cyber-crime and terrorism among the biggest threats to the country just before it announces major cuts in defence spending.
It is believed the focus on unconventional threats will help justify slashing orders for expensive military hardware.
The government is to announce swingeing cuts to all ministries, to reduce its record budget deficit.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said: “We have inherited a defence budget that is massively over-committed. It is over-committed by 10 million pounds every day for the next ten years. So even if the defence budget was held constant, we would still have to make some important reductions. But at the end of all that, we will still have the third or fourth biggest defence budget in the world; we will still be a global military power.”
The UK is planning to spend 570 million euros combating cyber-attacks by other countries on computer systems that could disrupt military, financial or transport networks.
Chemical or biological attacks by terrorist organisations like al Qaeda are also high on the list of perceived threats.
Defence might well be getting off more lightly than other government departments facing the axe, but many British soldiers in Afghanistan have already complained about a lack of adequate equipment.