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Innovation

Policy shifts and technological advancements have propelled commercial space activities, outnumbering traditional satellites. Military benefits, including cost savings, hinge on flexible acquisition processes. However, challenges persist, especially in kinetic operations. Adapting requires addressing critical questions about acquisition models and collaboration with commercial providers.

Dr. Jamie M. Morin, Executive Director, Center for Space Policy and Strategy, United States

Sam (Robert) Wilson, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Space Policy and Strategy, United States

The rapid growth of commercial space positions it at the forefront of innovation and activities relating to the expanding use of space. Militaries have much to gain from commercial space as they attempt to unlock the full potential that space-enabled capabilities can provide for military activity, but this will also introduce new dynamics into the competition for dominance.

Dr. Malcolm Davis, Senior Analyst, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Australia

Military capability development is a highly complex process, and when it happens in a multinational context, the complexities increase significantly. Militaries manage these complexities using several models, but each model presents trade-offs. The most relevant trade-off is between coordination and political costs on the one hand and economic and military benefits on the other.

Dr. Bence Nemeth, Senior Lecturer, Defense Studies Education, King’s College London, United Kingdom

Open innovation (OI) models represent a new strategy inducing huge transformation for defense organizations such as air forces and their industry partners, particularly lead systems integrators. The shift from closed to OI models has become essential, but implies paradigmatic changes to be managed relating to the design and appraisal of complex military programs.

Dr. Valérie Merindol, Professor and Co-Director, newPIC Chair, Paris School of Business, France

In today’s dynamic landscape, traditional military strategies face challenges. Case studies like the Afghanistan withdrawal and the Ukraine conflict highlight emerging trends: decentralization, dispersal, and privatization. Embracing a diverse ecosystem and rethinking financing models are crucial to prevent strategic obsolescence.

Robert Murray, Senior Fellow, Scrowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, Atlantic Council, United States

The focus on air power innovation highlights its potential for exponential growth and its wide-ranging impacts. Success often extends beyond innovators’ control, underscoring the importance of understanding innovation ecosystems. As air forces transition to next-generation capabilities, strategic alignment and international partnerships are crucial for managing risks and unlocking future gains.

Dr. Andrea Gilli, Senior Researcher, NATO Defense College, Italy

Dr. Mauro Gilli, Senior Researcher, Center for Security Studies, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

The national defense strategy emphasizes the importance of skills like cyber security and drone piloting. Using a strategies-to-tasks approach helps translate high-level goals into practical plans, guiding resource allocation. Aligning strategy with mission roles requires careful planning, particularly with advanced technologies like hypersonics and AI. Overcoming cultural barriers and addressing workforce training are essential for successful transformation.

Dr. Sherrill Lingel, Program Director for Force Modernization and Employment, RAND Corporation, United States

As operational landscapes evolve, militaries recognize the urgent need to harness the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) for adaptable capabilities. Introducing the concept of the “defense metaverse,” this approach constructs a dynamic digital twin of the battlespace, integrating AI and sophisticated models to refine tactical concepts. Highlighting successes like the GhostPlay project, it emphasizes prioritizing experimentation, training, and infrastructure to optimize AI-driven military capabilities.

Heiko Borchert, Co-Director, Defense AI Observatory, Germany

Torben Schütz, Research Fellow, Defense AI Observatory, Germany