Documents to download

                    “Some industrial age capabilities will increasingly have to meet their sunset to create

                                            the space for capabilities needed for sunrise”,

                             Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, September 2020

In September 2020 the MOD launched its Integrated Operating Concept (IOC), a new strategic vision for defence which recognises that the world has entered an “era of persistent competition” and that the character of warfare has changed.

The overriding messages of the IOC, namely multi-domain integration and persistent engagement, subsequently underpin the thinking behind, and the conclusions of, the Integrated Review and the Defence Command Paper, which were both published in March 2021.

As part of this new approach, embracing new and emerging technologies is seen as a priority. The MOD intends to invest £6.6 billion over the next four years in defence research and development with specific focus given to emerging technologies in artificial intelligence, AI-enabled autonomous systems, cyber, space and directed energy weapons. Higher risk research and innovation is recognised as essential for modernisation.

Both the Integrated Review and the Defence Command Paper also acknowledge, however, that embracing new “sunrise” technologies should not come entirely at the expense of more traditional warfighting capabilities.

Among other proposals:

  • A new National Cyber Force has been established. A new cyber security strategy will be published in 2021 that will retain the UK’s competitive edge in this sphere and establish the UK as a responsible, democratic, cyber power.
  • Artificial intelligence is a key enabler of military capability, across the whole of defence. AI has been incorporated in a number of key programmes, including the Future Combat Air System, and is the focus of several innovative funding programmes through the Defence and Security Accelerator. An AI defence strategy will be published in 2021 and a new Centre for Artificial Intelligence will be established.
  • Over the next decade, the MOD will invest £1.4 billion in space-related capabilities. A new Space Command will be established in 2021, along with a new National Space Operations Centre and a new Space Academy. An integrated space strategy will also be published in 2021 which will bring military and civilian space policy together for the first time.

Documents to download

Related posts