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MoD strategies call for public sector collaboration


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Public sector agencies have been urged to understand the issues facing the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in its approach to technology and innovation.

The element of possible collaboration with public sector partners is included in the MoD’s two newly published documents, Defence Technology Framework and Defence Innovation Priorities.

The former calls on them to understand the underpinning science and technology capability in which the ministry is investing, to identify the potential opportunities for partnership, burden sharing and economies of scale.

The latter includes a similar call for understanding and to work with the MoD to find solutions that could be applicable to wider public sector needs.

The Defence Technology Framework sets out an assessment of the technology areas with the greatest potential to transform military capabilities. It covers seven ‘families’ of tech, including AI, machine learning and data science to support human decision making, provide autonomous platforms and streamline administration.

The other tech families are: advanced materials such as nanotechnology and 3D printing; autonomous systems and robotics; power, energy storage, conversion and transmission; sensors; advanced electronics and computing; and effector technologies.

Pressing problems

The Defence Innovation Priorities identifies where collaboration with the civil sector can help with the most pressing problems in the sector.

It outlines five priority areas for collaboration with the civil sector: integrating information and physical activity across all domains; delivering agile command and control; operating and delivering effects in contested domains; building skills, knowledge and experience among people; and simulating future battlespace complexity.

Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Tim Fraser said: “Both the Framework and Priorities will not only guide the approaches of our major industry suppliers, but of SMEs, entrepreneurs and academia and our public sector partners and international allies.

“They give us a clear strategic roadmap and will shape our investment in the future.”

The MoD has made a series of recent investments aimed at harnessing the potential of the UK’s scientific and industrial base, including through the £160 million Transformation Fund and £100 million from the Defence Innovation Fund. It spend £19 billion with 16,000 UK suppliers last year.

Image from iStock, Tamara Murray

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