“We will further develop our partnership with industry and academia from all Allies
to keep pace with technological advances through innovation.”
Brussels Summit Declaration
The next NATO-Industry Forum 2021 will take place in the context of NATO 2030 and the Reflection Process, initiated by NATO Secretary General, to make sure the Alliance remains fit for purpose in the current and foreseeable security environment. This security environment is dynamic, ambiguous and uncertain, and shaped in particular by:
- the continuously changing character of warfare;
- an ever-growing pace of technological innovation, driven by the commercial sector;
- increased interdependence of instruments of power and domains of operation that increasingly demand agility and innovation;
- multiplication of strategically relevant actors, with complex connections; and,
- compression of time in relation to decision-making from operational to strategic.
To retain its military edge, the Alliance needs to rely on consistent, mission-driven capabilities, delivered and adapted at the speed of relevance. At the same time we witness an unprecedented growth and acceleration of technological development, especially in the digital domain. To face tomorrow's challenges, the Alliance needs to maintain its technological edge on international competitors.
Ahead of NATO-Industry Forum 2021, tentatively planned mid-2021 in Rome, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation and the International Staff/Defence Investment are organising a webinar - “NIF Linked” - on March 11th, 2021, and a call for papers for Industry at large.
Defence or non-traditional Defence, innovative, small or start-ups companies, the National Armament Directors, allied government agencies and experts are invited to submit papers to support NATO's endeavour to adapt defence capability development and acquisition to the challenges of the changing security environment, in particular along two lines of effort:
- capability development and acquisition processes driven by the imperative of agility and continuous integration of innovation;
- development of a mission-focused approach to capability development and acquisition, fueled by system-of-systems capability architecture and open standards, in order to enable consistent, mission-driven capability development across the Alliance.
NATO-Industry Forum 2019
Hosted by the United States of America, the NATO-Industry Forum 2019 took place in Washington D.C. on 13 and 14 November and was one of the events celebrating NATO’s 70th anniversary.
Less than a month before the Leader’s Summit in London, this edition of the NATO-Industry Forum focused on Enhancing Decision Making. NATO, partner nations, international organizations and industry reflected on their decision-making mechanisms to leverage innovative solutions. Participants strategized on how to harness emerging and disruptive technologies to adapt their decision-making mechanisms, processes and procedures, allowing NATO to draw its own conclusions on solutions to further strengthen its deterrence and defense posture. The discussions focused on interoperability, innovation and technology, NATO’s engagement with industry, and aimed to identify changes required to adapt and project the Alliance into the future.
On Day 1, participants engaged in round-table discussions centered on the following topics:
- Tasking, Collection, Processing, Exploitation, Dissemination of information
- Leveraging Big Data and analytics
- Operational Awareness and Anticipation
- Support to Human Decision Making
A short summary of the main discussion points can be found here.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg opened day two with a keynote speech.
Day two included three plenary sessions, in which leaders from defense as well as non-traditional defense companies engaged in the debate, analyzing the emerging technologies and trends, their adoption in the context of the current information landscape, sometimes saturated with unreliable data, and their impact for NATO decision making (the agenda can be found here).
The discussions provided insight that accelerating decision-making shall be a NATO strategic priority, and is core to NATO’s deterrence, as well as to acquisition reform, capability development, countering disinformation, public narrative and diplomacy.
NIF19 was preceded by a novel event involving young and innovative companies and entrepreneurs, organized by ACT – the Young Disruptors Day (YDD).
Top-level young professionals from NATO and partner Nations gathered to challenge traditional strategic thinking, provide alternative solutions on innovation and technological advancement, ad suggest how NATO can strengthen its partnerships with industry. Selected companies provided a demo of how their tools support Data Preparation, Business Analytics Tools, Data Communication and Integrity, and Visualization.
The discussions focused on how AI, Big Data, Quantum Computing and other Disruptive Technologies can be used by NATO to incorporate Modelling and Simulation (M&S), use synthetic language processing, and develop a common framework for effective data preparation and advanced analytics. This is essential to enable a common operational picture and provide leaders with an accurate and tailored depiction of today’s complex environment.
More details of the main discussion points can be found here.