NATO's Strategic Warfare Development Command

NATO’s Growing Innovation Ecosystem

January 28, 2022

NATO’s Growing Innovation Ecosystem

The Allied Innovation Ecosystem builds velocity in North America

Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Philippe Lavigne made an official visit to Boston, Massachusetts on 25-26 January 2022 as part of his digital transformation initiative “Understand Better, Decide Faster, and Be Stronger Together.”

Boston is a hub of innovation and technology powered by its numerous colleges, universities, vast talent pool, and tech start-ups. General Lavigne met with partners from the Kessel Run Experimental Lab, Air Force Massachusetts Institute of Technology Artificial Intelligence Accelerator, and MIT.nano.

“All three organizations are pathfinders designed to incrementally implement a digital transformation, all empowered with the necessary levers and authorities to deliver digital solutions in parallel to the regular acquisition model,” said General Lavigne.

Kessel Run Lab

The tour kicked off on 25 January with a tour of the Kessel Run also known as Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Detachment 12. Kessel Run builds, tests, delivers, operates, and maintains cloud-based infrastructure and warfighting software applications.

Allied Command Transformation and Kessel Run together delivered JIGSAW, an air refuelling software application to Allied Air Command’s Air Operations Centres for operational use over a 3-year experiment.

This experimental model was quickly tested and deployed by Allied Commander Transformation due to its unique strategic location in Norfolk, Virginia proximity to US technology hubs and accelerators, and the excellent Franco-American relations between the two air forces.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Artificial Intelligence Accelerator & MIT.nano

On January 26, General Lavigne visited the US Department of the Air Force and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Artificial Intelligence Accelerator, a partnership designated to empower, employ, implement Artificial Intelligence in the Department of Defense, inform decision-making, and advance Artificial Intelligence for the public good. The Artificial Intelligence Accelerator aggregates 140 faculty, researchers, and students, affiliated with more than 20 different organizational units.

MIT.nano also welcomed General Lavigne to its 20,000-square-meter laboratory for nanoscience and nanotechnology. Located on Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s campus, the lab is open to researchers and external users from industry, academia, and government. General Lavigne discussed the future use of the facility and observed demonstrations of solar and thin-film technologies from MIT.nano toolsets.

NATO Allied Command Transformation’s Digital Transformation

Since 2003, NATO’s Allied Command Transformation has leveraged its unique location on US soil to promote interoperability and innovative initiatives with external stakeholders to transform the Alliance for the challenges of tomorrow. Emerging and disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum, autonomous, and Nano technologies offer both risk and reward for the Alliance. NATO is committed to digital transformation as it shapes the future battlespace toward NATO’s strengths. This concept of digital transformation across all domains, i.e., multi-domain operations, is key to NATO’s Warfighting Capstone Concept. Multi domain operations in harmony with digital transformation contend that NATO must think, organise, and act differently to stay ahead of complex warfare by exploiting technology, an ambition clearly implemented through the Warfare Development Agenda.

“We know there is much to be done, but knowing is half the battle,” said General Lavigne. “NATO’s strength is its interoperability and interconnectivity – we must start our digital transformation today if we are to maintain our strength tomorrow.”