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Navigating the Euro-Atlantic defence innovation landscape [REPORT]

Source: Politea

A new report by Politea entitled "Navigating the Euro-Atlantic defence innovation landscape" set out to analyse emerging transatlantic defence innovation systems and the extent to which EU and NATO efforts in the domain overlap, are in conflict or have potential synergies. The overarching finding is that EU and NATO systems are separate but heavily interdependent. They are separate in terms of membership, governance structures, legal regimes and the way financial resources can benefit innovation in non-member markets. However, they are interdependent in the sense that they cover similar fields, their memberships are similar, investments – both financial and human – in one setting will affect the resources available in the other and the end-product can benefit the security of both.

NATO established its Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) in 2022 as an initiative to accelerate and promote transatlantic cooperation on the development of critical
technologies and to harness civilian innovation to solve critical defence and securityrelated issues. It has also established the NATO Innovation Fund (NIF) as the world’s first multisovereign venture capital fund to invest in startups and to provide funds to develop emerging dualuse technologies. Questions remain regarding engagement from member states, in particular the US with its highly guarded defence innovation system, and how innovation within NATO will be affected by the lack of a common regulatory regime on new technologies.

 

This report entitled "Navigating the Euro-Atlantic defence innovation landscape" set out to analyse emerging transatlantic defence innovation systems and the extent to which EU and NATO efforts in the domain overlap, are in conflict or have potential synergies. The overarching finding is that EU and NATO systems are separate but heavily interdependent. They are separate in terms of membership, governance structures, legal regimes and the way financial resources can benefit innovation in non-member markets. However, they are interdependent in the sense that they cover similar fields, their memberships are similar, investments – both financial and human – in one setting will affect the resources available in the other and the end-product can benefit the security of both.

 

The EU established a defence innovation hub (HEDI) at its European Defence Agency in 2022, streamlining existing innovation work and adding new tasks. It seeks to attract nontraditional defence actors using challenges and prizes. In parallel, the European Commission has established a defence innovation scheme (EUDIS) using test hubs, hackathons, matchmaking and a defence equity facility to find synergies between civilian and military research, and support innovative companies entering the defence market. To what extent the funding will be sufficient and there is political will to support these measures, and how common procurement and export control regimes might impact defence innovation remain unclear.

The synergies, overlaps and gaps are many. On a positive note, the two organizations increasingly view defence innovation and emerging and disruptive technologies (EDTs) in a similar fashion. One area of potential competition is the security and ownership of intellectual property rights (IPRs), where protection of IPRs differs in an EU and a NATO context. Another area of friction could be funding, where the extent to which either organization could benefit from financial resources that stem from the other’s innovation system is unclear. In addition, both the EU and NATO are public bodies that are destined to want to justify public investments in defence. This is likely to lead to a potentially worrying situation in which an extremely low risk approach is adopted, where organizations only fund those defence innovation projects that they deem to have a high chance of success.

 

Read the report – visit Politea’s website.

 

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