NATO

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MADRID, Spain (Oct. 31, 2019) - The 2019 International Concept Development & Experimentation Conference concluded on Oct. 31 in Madrid, Spain.

Hosted this year by the Joint Center for Concept Development in Spain ("Centro Conjunto de Desarrollo de Conceptos"), and sponsored by NATO's Allied Command Transformation, the three-day conference promoted a collaborative approach to concept and capability development, and shared knowledge and experiences garnered from more than 30 countries' expertise. The audience for the conference included over 250 delegates from NATO countries. Other attendees comprised of NATO partner countries and partner organisations with distinctive innovation, academic and research backgrounds.

Through a variety of keynote speakers, plenary sessions, and workshops, conference attendees gained a diverse perspective on the current state of concept development and experimentation for the NATO Alliance.

Guest speakers during the conference included Belgium Brigadier General (retired) Phillip Van Impe, John Kao, Isabel Aguilera, Julien Bourrelle and Ramses Gallego. All shared unique perspectives on a range of topics including business innovation, diversity, cultural awareness, success from failure, disruptive technologies, and taking risk in experimentation.

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral John Tammen, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Policy at NATO Allied Command Transformation, provided remarks emphasizing the importance of Concept Development & Experimentation exchanges for the NATO Alliance.

"The operating environment is changing at a rapid rate and experimentation is more important than ever," said Rear Admiral Tammen. "Concept development opens up a lens to allow us to look at things differently and to focus more on the future of warfighting. At Allied Command Transformation, we provide warfare development for the Alliance and continue to refine the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept so that all Member Nations consider the battlespace 10, 20 and even 30 years down the road. The outcome of this conference will help feed the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept and improve on how we integrate new technology and processes."

Spanish Navy Admiral Francisco Javier Gonzalez-Huix Fernandez, Chief of Staff at the Spanish Joint Defence Staff, served as the opening keynote speaker for the conference.

"We need to always start with the end in mind," said Admiral Gonzalez-Huix. "As an Alliance, we must adapt quickly with technology development and learn how to innovate together. This conference provides a platform of opportunity to discuss and learn from each other, and allows us all to demonstrate our commitment and loyalty to our organisation."

The eight workshop topics included Future Leadership; Military Capabilities for the Grey Zone of Conflict (led by Centro Conjunto de Desarrollo de Conceptos); Human Security; Enabling Coherent Deterrence; Wargaming the Future; Military Uses of Artificial Intelligence, Automation and Robotics; Methods to Develop Artificial Intelligence in Education, Training Evaluation & Exercises; and Countering Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Handbook Refine Experiment.

Lieutenant Colonel Daniele Piperno, an Italian Air Force Officer assigned to NATO's Allied Command Transformation Operational Experimentation Branch and the Countering Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Handbook Refine Experiment Workshop lead, stresses the importance of workshops during these type of high-level conferences.

"It's all about the community of people who come to the conference every year that make this so beneficial," said Lieutenant Colonel Piperno. "Workshops, like mine, give people a chance to discuss ideas and concerns that may not otherwise be heard. Concept development requires conversation and constructive dialogue. We cannot create anything new or innovative without an exchange of thoughts. The International Concept Development and Experimentation Conference helps NATO Members and Partner Nations do that!"

Colonel Stephan Pillmeier, a German Air Force Officer and NATO's Allied Command Transformation Concept Development Branch Head, discusses the opportunities that this conference provides attendees.

"Ever since 2001, the International Concept Development and Experimentation Conference opens a unique opportunity for the international community to come together to discuss the most current issues related to concept development and experimentation in the process of capability development," said Colonel Pillmeier. "This year, all workshops served as platforms for collaboration and dialogue on critical topics impacting the future of warfare development in NATO."


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