Defence procurement and disruptive technologies have long had a close relationship, but with commercial developments now driving change in the industry, government is having to play catch-up.
Disruptive technologies are those that break with the paradigm of currently existing technology. In the defence industry, disruption typically takes two forms:
- A new market emerges that redefines the landscape of an industry
- A business offers a ground-breaking new model, service or offering
In the past, it was often the military that was the leading innovator in advanced technologies. Innovative defence research and technology would then trickle down into wider commercial applications, such as GPS, EpiPens, microwaves and even computers, which were originally designed for the US military during WWII.
However, with defence R&D budgets shrinking and companies like Apple, Amazon and Google pouring untold billions into their own research projects, that dynamic has changed. The commercial sector is developing technologies which would have typically been the sole preserve of the military, such as drones, unmanned vehicles and voice-controlled technology. In this instance, innovation is driving demand, rather than the other way around.
This is disruption in action, and it’s being led by commercial companies, rather than the military.
So, how can governmental defence organisations leverage disruptive technologies and commercial innovation for their own needs?
The Ministry of Defence currently spends 20% of its £1.5bn science and technology budget on disruptive capability projects. It has also set up an Innovation and Research Insights Unit to anticipate emerging trends in technology and analyse their implications for defence and security, as well as developing solutions to maintain military advantage and protect the UK.
It’s clear that exploring new technology and innovation will matter more in the future than it ever has in the past, and in no area is the need for disruptive defence technology more important than cyber security. With cyber attacks becoming more sophisticated, and bad actors finding more tools to circumvent traditional security systems, finding the rights tools to prevent cyber attacks in the future has never been a more pressing concern.
However, the first step to keeping your organisation safe from cyber attack is to be certified with DCI Cyber Essentials. Certification to the Government’s Cyber Essentials Scheme is a mandatory requirement for organisations wishing to win business with the MOD, and can help your organisation defend itself against malicious cyber attacks.