Disruptive dual-use technologies are at the heart of NATO’s new Strategic Concept | Atalayar

A key NATO line of action risks going almost unnoticed because it is not clearly visible and expressly in the Strategic Concept that the 30 heads of state and government of the member states of the alliance just adopted in Madrid.

But it is implicit in the text of the document that will guide transatlantic affairs over the next decade. This is an initiative to strengthen the commitment of the interest group for science, advanced industry and technology, a crucial means of maintaining superiority in the face of the Russian threat and the challenge of China.

To prevent such a measure from being lost between the 49 paragraphs of the document who determines the future path for NATO, its Secretary General, the Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg, explicitly mentioned his name at the press conference concluding the first day of the Summit of Heads of State and Government that took place in Madrid on 29th June.

PHOTO/NATO – The Defense Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) aims to create a community of research teams, test centers and start-ups focused on developing new dual-use technologies.

The NATO Council has officially endorsed the Defense Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA). Its raison d’être is to support the creation of a key community of public and private research teams, start-ups and research centers in the United States, Canada and European countries of the Alliance focused on developing emerging dual-technology organizations.

As expressed in the Strategic Concept, Allies are aware that so-called pervasive and disruptive technologies “entail both opportunities and risks”, that they “change” the nature of conflicts, that they are of growing strategic importance and that they are “key” in global competition between states. NATO therefore understands that “technological primacy is increasingly affecting success on the battlefield”.

PHOTO/Maxversace – Los Altos Cargos Civiles y Militares de la NATO saben que desde Finales del Siglo XX la Innovation ya no proviene del Sector de la Defense, por lo que DIANA y el Fondo de Innovation son los instruments para dar un gran salto cualitativo
PHOTO/Maxversace – NATO’s senior civilian and military leaders know that innovation has not come from the defense sector since the late 20th century. DIANA and the innovation fund are therefore the instruments that enable a leap forward.

Artificial intelligence, the first priority

Which new future technologies does Allianz want to implement? Seven were chosen first, and now there are ten, the first of which is artificial intelligence. Senior NATO officials are concerned about Beijing’s heavy investment in this new area of ​​technology. Not surprisingly, this area is high on the Alliance’s list of priorities.

Next come quantum technologies, big data and advanced computing, Hypersonic technology, bioengineering and improvement of human capabilities, diverse space applications, new propulsion systems, new sources of energy, innovative materials and manufacturing processes as well as vehicles and systems of autonomous land, sea and air forces.

What needs to be achieved is set out in paragraph 24 of the evolving roadmap for the future of NATO. It is about nothing more than “encouraging innovation and increasing investment in emerging and disruptive technologies to maintain our interoperability and military advantage.” It aims to test, evaluate and validate new technologies that address critical defense challenges and contribute to the Alliance’s deterrence component.

PHOTO/US Army - La nueva hoja de ruta de la Alianza claims to accelerate the organization's digital transformation, adapt its structure of mandos to the information age and improve its cyber defense, speech and infrastructure capacities
PHOTO/US Army – The Alliance’s new roadmap aims to accelerate the organization’s digital transformation, adapt its command structure to the information age, and enhance its cyber defence, network and infrastructure capabilities.

One of DIANA’s goals is to create and oversee an innovation ecosystem consisting of approximately 50 test centers to help emerging companies meet the Alliance’s technology needs through competitive funding programs. Specifically, NATO’s new roadmap aims to “accelerate our digital transformation, adapt our command structure to the information age, and enhance our cyber defence, network and infrastructure capabilities.”

NATO Deputy Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, Dutchman David van Weel, is aware that “innovation no longer comes from the defense sector as it did up to the end of the 20th century”. It comes from areas “where we are no longer present, so we have to reconnect”. The aim is to strengthen transatlantic cooperation in the field of critical technologies and to advance the “Science in the Service of Peace and Security” program, which was launched in 1958 and redefined in 2013.

PHOTO/NASA - NATO has a special interest in 10 advanced technologies.  La Primera es la Inteligencia Artificial, seguida por las tecnologías cuánticas, las hypersónicas, the Big Data, las nuevas fuentes de energía, los novedosos sistemas de propulsion
PHOTO/NASA – NATO is particularly interested in ten advanced technologies. The first is artificial intelligence, followed by quantum technologies, hypersonic technologies, big data, new energy sources, new propulsion systems

DIANA: one location in the UK and one in Canada

More than 20 allied nations have decided to pool their resources and invest about €1 billion over the next 15 years in a venture capital fund dedicated to innovation, with grants of up to €200,000. This group of countries created the NATO Innovation Fund, the instrument that will resource DIANA.

The aim of this multi-state fund is to ensure that NATO maintains its technological edge over third countries, particularly China and Russia. Approximately $70 million is invested each year in research into dual-use technologies with the potential for direct application in defense and security systems, equipment or products.

PHOTO/NATO – El Fondo Innovación y la iniciativa DIANA no figuran de manera explicita en el Concepto Estratégico, pero están incluidos de forma implicita en el documento que va a guiar el transatlántico during the next decade
PHOTO/NATO – The Innovation Fund and the DIANA Initiative are not explicitly mentioned in the Strategic Concept but are implicit in the document that will guide transatlantic developments over the next decade.

DIANA will have two locations, one in Europe and one in North America. London was chosen as the location for the European site at Imperial College, which applied jointly with the Estonian capital of Tallinn, which has an advanced international center for artificial intelligence and cybernetics. NATO officials expect the London center to become operational later this year, reaching initial operational capability (IOC) in 2023 and full operational capability (TOC) in 2025. Canada was chosen to position the center across the Atlantic.

DIANA and the innovation fund that underpins it didn’t appear out of nowhere at the Madrid summit, it did nine months ago. Meeting in Brussels in October 2021, NATO Defense Ministers agreed to “strengthen the Alliance by promoting and protecting transatlantic innovation” and made the first links to the Technology Accelerator and Innovation Fund, now part of the Strategic Concept.

PHOTO/JPons - The NATO meeting in Madrid included an exhibition of technologies from companies such as Escribano E&M, Indra, Telefónica and the National Police Mostrado on pioneering projects in the fight against intruding drones
PHOTO/JPons – The NATO summit in Madrid was the occasion for a technological exhibition where companies such as Escribano E&M, Indra, Telefónica and the National Police presented their cutting-edge projects in the fight against intruding drones.

The European Union is also aware of the technological challenge. With the Strategic Compass adopted in mid-March, an initiative similar to that launched by NATO just over a month ago was launched. Within the European Defense Agency (EDA), Brussels has created the Center for Defense Innovation (HEDI), which also aims to accelerate, test, evaluate and validate new, advanced and dual-use technologies.

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