The NATO-Industry Forum addresses a recognised need for an elevated strategic dialogue between NATO and industry to ensure that the Alliance benefits from the best solutions to military requirements, within expected budget and time constraints, now and in the foreseeable future.
Co-organized for the third year by Allied Command Transformation and the Defence Investment Division of NATO Headquarters, the 2015 NATO-Industry Forum (NIF15) was held on October 20 in Lisbon. NIF15 boasted more than 300 participants with diverse backgrounds that included experts and representatives from Euro-Atlantic Industry, military and political organizations, the private equity sector and academia.
NIF15 was organized alongside Trident Juncture 2015 (TRJ15), which occurred in October and November and was NATO’s largest exercise since 2002 involving more than 35,000 troops. TRJ15 was the first time Industry was invited to participate in a NATO exercise, and this involvement facilitated direct dialogue between Industry and NATO’s military ground forces.
Portuguese Minister of Defence Mr. José Pedro Aguiar-Branco stressed the importance of the defense industry during his opening remarks when he said, "Defence-related projects and defence industries play an important role in defending our societies and our way of life, in encouraging scientific research and development, in creating highly qualified jobs, in creating revenues. It should be clear to everyone that defense economy is a positive part of the economy as whole."
NIF15 addressed ways Industry can stimulate national investments, improve support to NATO’s Capability Development and contribute to the Alliance Long-Term Adaptation. Forum discussions advocated for a stronger NATO-EU relationship, reaffirmed the importance of NATO’s interoperability and standardization, and restated a need to innovate as needed to address future security challenges.
NIF15 participants agreed that Industry as more than a commercial provider, enabler, or partner, but rather serves as a pillar of NATO’s credibility.
“NATO’s capacity will not be developed and built in isolation by those wearing uniforms, but together, through a sustained exchange and collaboration with Industry. That is why we must enhance our reciprocal relationships,” General Mercier during the conference.
General Mercier also said that to be attractive to industry, NATO must consider opportunities for Industry to experiment with new concepts and technologies and develop new business models that may challenge the status quo. This paradigm shift advocates for a NATO platform that gathers around innovative concepts and solutions by providing opportunities for interaction between industry, including in particular small businesses, NATO and nations.
In his closing remarks, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation General Denis Mercier said, "Part of the job was to identify our means to engage Industry. The good news is that we already have many tools in place in NATO to engage Industry. The challenge is now to leverage them up to their full potential."
A public full report of the forum will be available soon on this page.