Under the stewardship of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Portuguese Ministry of National Defence and the European Defence Agency organised a research and technology conference addressing the impact of disruptive technologies on defence on April 20th, 2021.

General André Lanata, NATO's Supreme Allied Command Transformation, attended this event alongside high-level representatives from Ministries of Defence, defence research centres, industry and European institutions and NATO. The delegates discussed how emerging and disruptive technologies will impact defence capabilities, as well as how they can be rapidly integrated in Member States’ armed forces.

Disruptive technologies and their exponentially growing rate of impact on future military capabilities, are likely the most fertile ground to innovate. These technologies bring challenges, but also opportunities. The most important challenge is to set the conditions for their integration in our future capabilities while remaining interoperable. NATO’s Allied Command Transformation is poised to ensure coherence and interoperability, and seize the opportunity to use these disruptive technologies to Allies’ advantage.

General Lanata delivered a keynote address on the impact of Emerging and Disruptive Technologies on Defence. “In this new technological paradigm, it is imperative for the Alliance to embrace Innovation in order to reverse this dynamic and re-gain its strategic and military advantage by taking in the upper hand in the ability to leverage EDTs. The NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept, my command proposed recently and which has been recently approved by NATO Ministers of Defence, contributes to this endeavor” he said in his opening remarks.

While in Portugal, General Lanata visited the Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre in Monsanto. The Centre collects and analyses data, and processes the lessons NATO identifies in operations and exercises. General Lanata stressed the importance of Lessons Learned in the Alliance and how these contribute to help the Alliance moving forward to prepare the engagements of tomorrow.

The final part of General Lanata’s country visit to Portugal was a visit to the Maritime Geospatial, Meteorological and Oceanographic Centre of Excellence, where he reaffirmed Allied Command Transformation’s commitment to cooperate on the Centre’s various activities. Centres of Excellence are centrepieces for NATO’s expertise networks in their specific area. The overall quality of the products and services provided by NATO’s Centres of Excellence on Education and Training, Analysis and Lessons learned, Concept Development and experimentation, Strategic Communications, Doctrine Development and Standards – to name a few – provides the Alliance with expert advice on transformational issues.