NATO-Industry Forum

NATO-Industry Forum 2021


The NATO-Industry Forum 2021 is co-organised by Allied Command Transformation and the International Staff, Defence Investment Division and will be hosted by Italy, in Rome, 17-18 November 2021.

The NATO-Industry Forum is a “Big Tent” event for open dialogue with industry for purposes of innovation and capability development within NATO. It is an excellent opportunity for attendees to understand NATO’s strategic priorities and discuss how industry can contribute to meeting the security challenges of today and the future.

This year the NATO-Industry Forum will take place in the context of allied nations deliberating over the Alliance’s new Strategic Concept, which will shape the direction of travel for NATO over the next decade.

Registration is now open! Click here to find out more about NIF21 and to start the registration process.

In preparation for NATO-Industry Forum 21, Allied Command Transformation and the International Staff, Defence Investment Division hosted two NIF Linked webinars.

NIF Linked 1 (20 May 2021) covered:

  • The NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept; the Alliance’s ‘North Star’ and organising principle for warfare development for the next 20 years as well as a future vision and operating state for innovation and engagement between industry and NATO.
  • Best practices for delivering mission-driven capabilities and the associated challenges in a NATO context.
  • Agile and innovative acquisition practices and their applicability to NATO whilst explaining the acquisition constraints that NATO faces.

Learn more about the key takeaways from NIF Linked 1

  • NATO should establish long-term, multi-stakeholder, cohesive and empowered teams including both industry and the warfighter focused on meeting mission needs and delivering timely outcomes.
  • The importance of agility as a long-term risk mitigation strategy. NATO should use system-of-systems design approaches and emphasize the need for modular and interoperable capabilities in order to reduce risk by ensuring that capabilities can be replaced and maintained efficiently.
  • NATO should focus on the importance of representing different stakeholder interests and could help set the conditions for success by encouraging industry participation during exercises in precompetitive periods through cost sharing agreements.

NIF Linked 2 (9 September 2021) explored:

  • The exploitation of Emerging Disruptive Technologies by Allies in support of data driven decision-making.
  • Flexibility, Adaptability and Agility of Data Mobility and the immediate, and long-term, impacts of data mobility on warfighting.
  • Innovating for Multi-Domain Operations and potential solutions that could lead to Multi-Domain Operations superiority.

Learn more about the key takeaways from NIF Linked 2

  • There needs to be a common understanding on the significant implications EDTs have and will have on the way the Alliance operates.
  • NATO needs the ability to understand, adopt and leverage these technologies in order to maintain a technological edge and undertake its core mission of deterrence and defence.
  • Challenges such as the questions of prioritization, of the best path to adoption and what role can NATO play to help drive adoption with the help of industry.
  • Whilst NATO recognises the importance of Big Data it needs to address regulatory and security issues as a priority for Big Data to be a real asset in decision making for the Alliance.
  • NATO should be aware of what technology developments are out there and broaden its horizon by not only focusing on its own internal processes and assets in order to tackle uncertainties.
  • Cross-cultural information sharing and learning between NATO, Academia and the Industry is of foremost importance.

The NATO-Industry Forum will build on this fascinating and incredibly relevant series of discussions when senior NATO and industry leadership meet in person for the first time since 2019.

NATO-Industry Forum 2019

nif2019-300x250.pngHosted by the United States of America, the NATO-Industry Forum 2019 took place in Washington D.C. on 13 and 14 November and was one of the events celebrating NATO’s 70th anniversary.

Less than a month before the Leader’s Summit in London, this edition of the NATO-Industry Forum focused on Enhancing Decision Making. NATO, partner nations, international organizations and industry reflected on their decision-making mechanisms to leverage innovative solutions. Participants strategized on how to harness emerging and disruptive technologies to adapt their decision-making mechanisms, processes and procedures, allowing NATO to draw its own conclusions on solutions to further strengthen its deterrence and defense posture. The discussions focused on interoperability, innovation and technology, NATO’s engagement with industry, and aimed to identify changes required to adapt and project the Alliance into the future.

On Day 1, participants engaged in round-table discussions centered on the following topics:

  1. Tasking, Collection, Processing, Exploitation, Dissemination of information
  2. Leveraging Big Data and analytics
  3. Operational Awareness and Anticipation
  4. Support to Human Decision Making

A short summary of the main discussion points can be found here.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg opened day two with a keynote speech.

Day two included three plenary sessions, in which leaders from defense as well as non-traditional defense companies engaged in the debate, analyzing the emerging technologies and trends, their adoption in the context of the current information landscape, sometimes saturated with unreliable data, and their impact for NATO decision making (the agenda can be found here).

The discussions provided insight that accelerating decision-making shall be a NATO strategic priority, and is core to NATO’s deterrence, as well as to acquisition reform, capability development, countering disinformation, public narrative and diplomacy.

NIF19 was preceded by a novel event involving young and innovative companies and entrepreneurs, organized by ACT – the Young Disruptors Day (YDD).
Top-level young professionals from NATO and partner Nations gathered to challenge traditional strategic thinking, provide alternative solutions on innovation and technological advancement, ad suggest how NATO can strengthen its partnerships with industry. Selected companies provided a demo of how their tools support Data Preparation, Business Analytics Tools, Data Communication and Integrity, and Visualization.

The discussions focused on how AI, Big Data, Quantum Computing and other Disruptive Technologies can be used by NATO to incorporate Modelling and Simulation (M&S), use synthetic language processing, and develop a common framework for effective data preparation and advanced analytics. This is essential to enable a common operational picture and provide leaders with an accurate and tailored depiction of today’s complex environment.
More details of the main discussion points can be found here.