The NATO Industry Forum is the strategic-level event supporting NATO and industry engagement; this year’s theme was ‘Addressing the New Strategic Reality Together’. The Forum was built upon the decisions taken by Heads of State and Government, in particular those related to the Defence Production Action Plan, at the NATO Vilnius Summit in July 2023, and offered an opportunity to explore NATO’s vision for its future defence capabilities.
The NATO-Industry Forum brought together industry executives, senior NATO civilian and military commanders and national officials, as well as key leaders from other institutions. It included contributions from Military Representatives, officials from NATO and European institutions, Chief Executive Officers and Senior Executives from the defence and security industry, and other decision makers. The Forum hosted 800 participants and over 220 industry representatives with the intent to encourage open dialogue with industry for the purpose of innovation and capability development within NATO. It served as 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.
Through its collaborative relationships with industry and partners, the Alliance is able to improve its strength and efficiency. The NATO Industry Forum is where NATO’s political and military leaders engage top thinkers from industry on capabilities that contribute to deterrence and defence, crisis prevention and management and cooperative security.
NATO’s relationship with industry has become more important than ever since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year. Many Allies have significantly depleted their stocks in order to support Ukraine, which will continue to need large quantities of high-quality capabilities to defend itself. In his keynote address to the audience, the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “Now we need to ramp up production to meet Ukraine’s needs, but also to strengthen our own deterrence and defence”.
Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Philippe Lavigne, highlighted that “today’s level of linkage between NATO and national defence plans is without precedent, with Regional Plans, built on objective, threat-based Force Structure Requirements; a Defence Production Action Plan to speed up joint procurement, boost production capacity and enhance interoperability, in parallel with complementary European initiatives. We are moving from today’s Joint Operations framework to a Digitally Transformed and Multi-Domain Operations-enabled Alliance.”
The Minister of Strategic Industries of Ukraine, Mr Oleksandr Kamyshin, and the Minister of Defence of Sweden, Mr Pål Jonson, also addressed the audience. As Ms Wendy Gilmour, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment stated, “we have a real need to understand industrial capacity and to deliver on capabilities so that NATO is able to provide its deterrence and defence.”
This year marks the first time a NATO invitee nation has hosted the NATO-Industry Forum. The Secretary General said that this demonstrates how close Sweden already is to the Alliance, adding that he looks forward to welcoming Sweden as a full-fledged NATO Ally soon.
NATO Allied Command Transformation leads warfare development for NATO and reinforces its leadership role in international security affairs. By improving capabilities, techniques, procedures and partnerships, NATO will remain an indispensable actor in international stability.