LONDON, U.K. – The leaders of various Alliance nations joined a consortium of public and private sector strategists to publically discuss the Alliance’s future in one of the most significant gatherings of international security leaders this year. Among the speakers, which also featured NATO’s Secretary General and NATO’s Deputy Secretary General, was a lone military leader: NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Andre Lanata.

General Lanata joined Chief Executive Officers from Improbable and Quside for a panel In the Blink of an Eye: Artificial Intelligence, Hypersonics, and Their Implications for Future Warfare. The discussion focused on emerging and disruptive technologies, the opportunities presented by new partnerships with industry and the need for NATO to keep its military edge.

“A new ecosystem has emerged with technological advancements and the tools are available to all. Our challenge is to harness the capabilities of these advancements in real time,” said General Lanata. “But the challenge isn’t just about technology. The technology is there for everyone. We need a new partnership between industry and government in high-tech ecosystems. And, in order to do so, data is key.”

The Command has developed an emerging and disruptive technologies roadmap to help guide Alliance work. The goal of the roadmap is to deliver the right capabilities to the warfighter. Allied Command Transformation organizes thirty-one common funded capabilities, the Capability Programme Plan for North Macedonia and an Electro Magnetic Spectrum Warfare Strategy. The Command leads experiments with autonomous Anti-submarine warfare and counter-unmanned autonomous systems.

With the commemoration of the Alliance’s 70th anniversary in April, this past year has served to honour NATO’s rich history and achievements, and stressed its mission’s ongoing importance. The Alliance is faced with a range of challenges. The advent of cyber warfare and hybrid warfare, the militarization of space and the use of artificial intelligence necessitate transformed policies, strategies, concepts, training, doctrine and capabilities. NATO cannot tackle current and future security challenges with yesterday’s skills, processes and technologies. Allied Command Transformation delivers warfare development for the Alliance. The Command gives structure and priority to capability development and uses a large network of partners, including nations, hi-tech companies, defence and security companies as well as Centres of Excellence in order to outthink, outpace and outperform potential adversaries.

Last year, as part of EXERCISE TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2018, Allied Command Transformation led experiments addressing the military applications of 3D printing, micro-drones and robotics. NATO needs to harness those technologies to keep a decisive military edge. As such, the Alliance and Allied Command Transformation see the rapid pace of technological change as an opportunity.