“We are at a pivotal moment for our shared security where we face a more dangerous and more competitive world with more frequent and sophisticated cyber-attacks, persistent terrorist threats and the security impacts of climate change.” Stoltenberg said at an event held by the School of Foreign Service and the Brookings Institution on October 5th.
When NATO was formed as a military alliance between 12 North American and Western European countries with the aim of providing collective security against the Soviet Union. Since its creation in 1949, it has expanded to 30 member states and guarantees the freedom and security of its members through political and military means. However, things have changed and the challenges that the alliance had to face back then are not the same as today’s challenges. Thus, in order to adapt to 21st century threats, NATO´s allies need a new approach.
According to Stoltenberg´s words quoted above, the alliance is at a critical point where technological innovations are key elements to combat emerging threats. Defensive innovation has been vital to NATO's technological edge, deterrence, and defence posture against numerous challenges throughout its history. On these grounds, on October 22nd, NATO launched the Innovation Fund worth 1 billion euros to invest in cutting-edge technologies in order to maintain its strategic advantage against China and Russia by becoming more agile and strategic in exploiting new technologies for deterrence, defence, and resilience purposes.
With the Innovation Fund, NATO is focusing on Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, advanced robotics, biotechnologies and space and, human enhancement, big-data analytics, and fifth-generation telecommunication systems, as well as growing autonomy in military systems' critical functions, promise to change how wars are fought, how quickly, where, and by whom. In addition to the Fund, NATO has created DIANA (Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic), a cyber program designed to provide a space for civilian and military organisations to collaborate in a wide range of technological disciplines, as previously mentioned. These new technologies will enable new forms of military presence and allow NATO and its allies to combat cyber threats from non-state actors as well, like the terrorist organisation ISIS, also known as DAESH.
Although the future of global security is unpredictable, a multilateral approach strengthens the ability to continue to respond to emergent threats. On that account, it is essential that NATO embarks is this new stage of innovation and emerging and disruptive technologies in the most efficient and responsible way to secure NATO’s technological advantage against security threats, will taking into account that technological capacity across the alliance varies significantly, as well as their ethical use.
- NATO sharpens its technological edge. (2021). Retrieved from https://www.nato.int/cps/en/ natohq/news_187605.htm?selectedLocale=en
- Robinson, C. (2021). Technological Advancements Key To Combating Modern Issues, NATO Secretary General Says. Retrieved from https://thehoya.com/technological-advancements-key-tocombating-modern-issues-nato-secretary-general-says/
- Soare, S. (2021). Innovation as Adaptation: NATO and Emerging Technologies. Retrieved from https://www.gmfus.org/news/innovation-adaptation-nato-and-emerging-technologies