MoD pledges to ‘put science and technology at the core of our Armed Forces’

Written by Sam Trendall on 1 November 2017 in News
News

Department publishes new strategy document that looks to embed technology in both strategy and operations

 

The MoD wants its research function and its senior management to help make the strategy a reality  Credit: Jon Giddens, PA

The Ministry of Defence has published a report pledging to put science and technology (S&T) at the heart of its policy and its operations.

The department has released the Science and Technology Strategy 2017 document, which lays out its belief that “S&T must be mainstreamed into MoD’s strategic policy and decision-making”.  Moreover, science and tech “has a critical role to play in those policies and decisions”, the department said.

To this end, the MoD’s chief scientific adviser, Hugh Durrant-Whyte “will provide an independent technical challenge function” to the department. This will entail imploring the MoD to consider “innovative concepts… and emerging technologies which presents threats or opportunities”.

The MoD will also look to the S&T sector to help the department “be an intelligent customer” and make investments in science and tech which support its operations.

The government’s S&T function, and the wider scientific and technological community, can also help the ministry make the most of new technologies, according to the MoD.


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“Defence is relatively good at generating new ideas,” the department added. “It is, however, less good at implementing them in MoD’s operations and business processes. S&T cannot solve this alone, but it can play its role by, firstly, ensuring that every S&T project has a clear S&T offer for defence and a clear customer focus and, secondly, by identifying solutions to overcome organisational roadblocks so that they are removed, one-by-one, across defence.”

The key to rolling out its S&T strategy will be the department’s “core research portfolio”, the MoD said. Research will be conducted in areas such as autonomous vehicles, cybersecurity, and smart sensors.

Top-level management are also urged to play their part in making the strategy a success.

The MoD said: “Success for this strategy will be achieved when defence’s senior decision-makers routinely act on innovative S&T to shape policy, and acquire novel, battle-winning defence and security capabilities in more agile, innovative, cost-effective, and affordable ways.”

Defence minister Harriet Baldwin said that the focus on science and technology could also benefit UK businesses.

“This new strategy puts world-beating science and technology right at the core of our Armed Forces,” she said. “Investing millions into innovative ideas from dynamic British companies will help us defend the country in the face of intensifying threats and keep us ahead of the curve.” 

 

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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