This exclusive article dives into the strategies of the UK and the US to leverage disruptive technologies and retain a tactical edge against potential adversaries. Created ahead of this year’s Disruptive Technology for Defence Transformation, it looks at how both countries are leveraging new technologies to retain a competitive advantage against potential adversaries in future conflicts.
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United Kingdom: Modernising defence
While the UK defence will receive an additional £1.8 billion investment, the Modernising Defence Programme report, released in December 2018, sets out three broads aims:
- To invest in enhancing readiness and availability of a range of existing platforms
- To modernise and embrace new technologies to keep NATO’s technological edge over potential adversaries
- To change the way the MoD does business and runs defence
United States: Head in the cloud
The US on the other hand is focusing on cloud computing and its utilisation of big data and AI as laid out in its Cloud Strategy, as it is seen as a transformative technology and a crucial component of the DoD’s future global infrastructure. It is in this effort that the DoD is looking for an extensible and secure cloud environment that will replace today’s disjointed and stove-piped information systems.
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The release of the MDP coincided with the launch of the new Defence Transformation Fund (DTF), with £160 million budget earmarked for its first year, and likely to increase in the future. In March 2019, it was announced that £66 million of the fund had been committed to…
In recent years, US defence priorities have shifted focus to concentrate on long-term, strategic competition between nations including “near-peer” competitors. These, as the 2018 US National Defense Strategy (NDS) lays out, are what the US considers…
The Royal Navy is a leading example of technological development, as the service has been injected a total of £75 million destined for innovative projects. One, allocated £45 million, is the hi-tech accelerator NavyX, a joint project between industry and the military to transform the procurement process of Maritime UxV.
Ahead of this year’s Disruptive Technology for Defence Transformation, once more chaired by General Sir Richard Barrons, Defence IQ had the opportunity to discuss with Colonel Dan Cheesman, Chief Technology Officer, Royal Navy, a key speaker of this year's event.
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In this exclusive interview, Colonel Cheesman answers the following questions:
- The Unmanned Warrior, Commando Warrior and Information Warrior exercises all show the willingness and focus of the Royal Navy to operate unmanned systems, robotics and increase the efficiency of information-sharing. What have these exercises demonstrated in terms of integrating new technologies with existing systems in the Royal Navy?
- What measures are you taking in order to block any attempts by potential adversaries to hijack or to hack into the app through its operators?
- What main challenges need to be overcome in order to integrate a manned-unmanned autonomous capability for the Royal Navy?
- £45 million has been injected in the creation of hi-tech accelerator NavyX. What is its ultimate goal? What are its near, mid and long term plans to achieve it?
- How do you envision the collaboration between industry and military in order for the Royal Navy to harness cutting-edge equipment?
At this year’s Disruptive Technology for Defence Transformation, Colonel Dan Cheesman will deliver a presentation on the maritime autonomy accelerator and NavyX. You can find out more about his presentation here.
Read a preview of the interview below:
Defence IQ: The Unmanned Warrior, Commando Warrior and Information Warrior exercises all show the willingness and focus of the Royal Navy to operate unmanned systems, robotics and increase the efficiency of information-sharing. What have these exercises demonstrated in terms of integrating new technologies with existing systems in the Royal Navy?
Colonel Cheesman: We have taken an approach that is relatively unique, and that is to look at the total system from the outset. The software backend, the networks and the autonomous vehicles are all being designed as a whole. We look at it with the point that unless they interface with the warfighter, unless they are easily adoptable into the frontline, then...
Last year, the Disruptive Technology for Defence Transformation conference gathered more than 200 senior military leaders, government officials, tech and defence industry, research, War and Staff colleges and academia to discuss the significance of how Digital Age technology and method are fundamentally reshaping Defence and Security capability and operations.
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The senior panel speakers included personal interventions of the UK Vice Chief of Defence Staff and Commander Joint Forces Command and saw attendees come from across the globe from organisations such as Airbus Defence and Space, BAE Systems, Fujitsu, Thales, Viasat, IBM, DSTL, NATO and many more.
The Defence IQ team created this report containing the highlights of last year’s conference written by the Chairman himself, General Sir Richard Barrons, Former Commander Joint Forces Command (2013-2016), who will return this year to Chair this event once more.
Download this report to learn more about topics covered, such as:
- The importance of providing the UK Armed Forces with an edge over adversaries for wars in the Information Age through innovation, integration and information of commercial technologies by Sir Chris Deverell, Commander, UK Joint Forces Command
- Transformation the OODA loop and the impact of AI and Big Data by Dr. Thomas Killion, Chief Scientist, NATO
- The Croatian vision for capability transformation by General Mirko Šundov, Chief of Defence, Croatian Ministry of Defence
To find out more about this year’s event, download the agenda here.
The Australian Army's modernisation programme: Retaining information advantage in the future operating environment
One focus of the Australian Army’s massive modernisation programme is to leverage emerging technologies and disruptive innovations to enhance ISR capabilities across the joint force. Download this interview with Brigadier Ian Langford, Director General Future Land Warfare of the Australian Army and speaker at this year’s Disruptive Technology for Defence Transformation conference to learn more about:
- The Australian Army’s near, mid and long-term capability development vision to retain the information advantage in the future operating environment
- The technological enablers/disruptive innovation that will enable the Australian Army to maintain the competitive edge in hybrid warfare
- How the digitisation of current C3 systems will impact the ISR capabilities of the Australian Army
The incorporation of Artificial Intelligence into defence strategies has already begun to transform NATO’s ISR capabilities and shape both the requirements and solutions for new approaches in order to meet NATO capability needs - Defence IQ spoke exclusively to Dr. Thomas H. Killion, Chief Scientist, NATO to find out more!
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Ahead of his participation in the Disruptive Technology for Defence Transformation Conference, Defence IQ spoke exclusively to Dr. Thomas H. Killion, Chief Scientist, NATO about:
- Key areas where artificial intelligence and machine learning has already begun to enhance military decision-making and accelerate the acquisition of actionable intelligence
- Potential for these technologies to revolutionise the ISR space in the future
Defence IQ have created this Disruptive Technology for Defence Transformation Trends Report 2018 which outlines the key conclusions drawn from the inaugural conference as well as expert recommendations for future decision making.
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Built with expert insight from:
- General Sir Richard Barrons, Former Commander Joint Forces Command (2013-2016), British Army
- Colonel Dan Sullivan, Chief of Staff MCWL, Deputy Director, Future Directorate, US Marine Corps
- Captain Toshiyuki Iwanami, Executive Director Institute for Future Warfare Studies, Japan Maritime Self-Defence Staff
- Vice Admiral Duncan Potts, DG Joint Force Development & Defence Academy, UK MoD
- Commander Fredrik Borgmann, Department for Defence Policy and Long Term Planning, Royal Norwegian Ministry of Defence
- Rear Admiral Paul Bennett, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Capability), Royal Navy
- Rear Admiral Thomas Jugel, Director, Bundeswehr Office for Defence Planning
- Lieutenant General Jerry Harris, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans, Programs and Requirements, US Air Force
- And many more!
This article provides a snapshot of the US Army’s Robotic and Autonomous System's (RAS) Strategy and how it will come into play in the short, medium and long term in order to assist forces in defeating enemy organisations, controlling terrain and consolidating gains.
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The US Army Robotic and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Strategy demonstrates how the integration of new technologies will help ensure victory over increasingly capable enemies, aiming to commit time, talent, and resources now to position the US Army for victory in future conflicts.To overcome future challenges, the Army must seize technological opportunities for RAS development; execution will require leaders to be open to new ideas and encourage bottom-up learning from Soldiers and units in experimentation and warfighting assessment.
We surveyed* over 200 people within the technology community; from government and military employees to solution providers and academics to discover how emerging technology breakthroughs in areas such as artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and nanotechnology are transforming the civilian space and impacting the nature and likelihood of future conflict.
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*Survey conducted towards the end of 2017.
Addressing the challenges non-traditional partners and SMEs face when providing technologies for defence
In this exclusive article, written with insights from Stuart Young, Head of Cranfield University’s Centre for Defence Acquisition, we discuss the challenges of non-traditional tech providers working with the defence industry.
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Excerpt from the article
The introduction of new technologies has dramatically changed the way that armed forces work, both in combat and in business. As the defence sector aims to become more digitalised, automated and agile it is increasingly turning to non-traditional defence partners and SMEs to bridge the technology gap in defence supply. “There is a great desire on the part of customers to source technology from a much wider range of industries in order to constantly drive innovation and advancement in technology” said Stuart Young, Head of Cranfield University’s Centre for Defence Acquisition, UK when Defence IQ sat down with him ahead of the Disruptive Technology for Defence Transformation conference.
A key step in the movement towards encouraging SMEs and non-traditional partners to engage with the defence sector is the establishment of the UK Defence Solutions Centre (UKDSC) which aims to respond to the international need for innovative and bespoke world-class defence solutions. However, promoting partnerships between the defence industry and smaller organisations is challenging due to a number of different factors. Both sectors will need to adapt in order to form successful and lasting business relations.