The Covid-19 pandemic has upset global supply chains, especially in so-called “strategic” industries such as health care, transportation, and, of course, defence. Countries around the world have already sought to relocate sensitive nodes in their supply chains from states considered to be vulnerable to disruption. Japan, for example, has invested over $2 billion dollars in relocating parts of its supply chain either back to Japan or to Southeast Asia.
But the supply chain issue is much deeper than the current coronavirus challenge. It is a systemic issue not an episodic one.
At the core of the emerging systemic challenge associated with supply chain management is innovation in novel manufacturing and transportation technologies. Advancement in these technologies is creating revolutions in the areas of defence manufacturing, supply chains, and logistics. At the top of the list of novel technologies driving these step-changes in capabilities is additive manufacturing, but the list also includes digital design and manufacturing, cloud manufacturing, virtual and augmented reality, and even more conceptual technologies such as 4D printing and synthetic biology.
As these technologies move from the conceptual to the practical and from the abstract to the deployed, they are placing enormous pressure on defence communities as well as the industry that supports them to design new means of identifying and, critically, certifying and validating vendors and partners and of managing supply chain and procurement relationships. Industry and government now face an urgent need to develop and institute new standards related to cyber security, manufacturing quality and processes, and procurement.
In addition, additive manufacturing will enable new modes of logistics support such as point of use printing that will challenge current approaches to intellectual property protection, licensing, sustainment, and once again cyber security.
Individually and collectively these forces are forcin
This session will look at the qualitative trends and technologies driving the future of manufacturing, supply chains and logistics and seek to better understand how governments and industry can anticipate and manage the emerging challenges and, more importantly, opportunities associated with new supply chain dynamics.
The development of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies is critical to the future of defence and security capabilities. But much of the development of these technologies—especially artificial intelligence and robotics, but also neuro- and biotechnologies, smart sensors and materials, cloud computing and many others—is taking place outside of the tightly controlled and frequently purposefully cordoned traditional defence industry.
The commercial high-tech sector, applied research, and established and start-up companies servicing the telecommunications, energy, automotive, financial services industries (among others) are all investing in these same technologies.
Defence and security collaboration with this broad set of actors is certainly the right approach to accelerating innovation and adoption of new technologies and the capabilities they enable.
However, this age of collaboration is creating in many cases difficult to resolve commercial and security challenges ranging from control of intellectual property to increasing demand for open architecture technologies to the need for new procurement processes that allow for more rapid development and purchasing of software and commercial-off-the-shelf technologies.
In this environment of cooperation critical emerging technologies such as AI and unmanned systems are diffusing through a number of channels—both licit and illicit—to state and non-state threat actors who will use these technologies in creative and difficult to anticipate ways to disrupt security and stability.
Indeed, we have already seen state actors as well as terrorist and extremist groups use commercially available or reverse engineered military drones both to monitor and then attack military and civilian targets across the region. Cyber criminals are investing in AI technologies to develop undetectable and highly targeted attacks on commercial and government networks, a trend certain to increase. Developments in AI—frequently in conjunction with other 4IR technologies—is also driving new and rapidly diffusing capabilities supporting improved situational awareness, autonomous systems, training and simulation, communications, and information operations.
Meeting this challenge will require creativity, collaboration, commitment, especially to the development of new norms and processes designed to understand the nature of new diffusion challenges and how best to regulate the use of these technologies among responsible stakeholders.
This session will seek to diagnose the nature of the diffusion challenge and then assess the ways in which governments, the private sector, and academia can work—both independently and in a collaborative fashion—to minimize and mitigate emerging threats associated with the diffusion of AI and other novel 4IR technologies.
It is nearly axiomatic that collaboration and cooperation across commercial, government, and applied research / academia is critical to the future development and adoption of 4IR technologies for defence and security. But this need for collaboration does not absolve defence industry from actively pursuing intensified, more focused, and independent research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) in 4IR technologies and their defence applications.
The challenge of increasing defence industry innovation is complicated by the possible—and in some cases already felt—stagnation or reduction of defence budgets over the next two or more years connected to the lingering economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Across the globe, tensions between investing in maintaining readiness, developing human capital, or focusing on modernization will intensify, especially in an environment likely to be characterized by an expanding range of traditional, non-traditional, and grey zone threats.
Defence industry will need to work with governments and other stakeholders to further innovation of these technologies and to devise new models for research and development efforts, such as public / private partnerships, government owned venture capital efforts, and government funding processes that reward companies and academia for achieving development milestones on the way to completed development programs.
Moreover, the challenge—and necessity—of defence industry innovation extends to areas other than technological innovation. There remain a rage of other non-technological innovations critical to moving from a breakthrough in a new technology to the deployment of a disruptive capability, such as in operational concepts, new training models, and organizational change.
One other non-technological area in which increased research and development is required is in the area of ethics and safety of novel technologies, particularly artificial intelligence, autonomous unmanned systems, and hybrid human-machine intelligence. Industry can help governments throughout the world establish norms and principles not just about what these new technologies can do, but also what they should be designed to do to support military operations.
This panel will examine the growing need for defence industry research and development in 4IR technologies as well as new models for and focus areas of these innovation efforts in order to better direct limited resources on the highest impact initiatives.
In The Defence of Japan 2020 white paper the Japanese Ministry of Defence argues that the future of warfare in the Indo-Pacific
and throughout the world is being shaped particularly profoundly by activity in three “new” domains: space, the electromagnetic spectrum, and the cyber domain.
The focus on the cyber domain is, of course, not unique to Japan. Increasing use of the cyber domain by state and non-state actors is designed to achieve a variety of strategic, operational, and tactical objectives. Among the most relevant and frequently cited are critical technology theft, holding at risk the critical infrastructure of a perceived adversary or competitor, stealing personal data that can later be used to change decision-making or recruit spies, and degrading or manipulating adversary command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities.
As important as this interpretation of the cyber domain is, it does not fully capture the ways in which the cyber / information domain is influencing security, stability, and prosperity in the modern, digital world.
Notably, while the three domains highlighted in the Japan white paper are frequently spoken about as distinct domains, the lines between them have blurred, requiring a much broader perspective on cyber-security in particular. Electronic attack may be different to cyber attack, but increasingly it is serving as a vector—a mechanism—for militaries to take control of the command control of adversary military networks or critical infrastructure.
In addition, both state and non-state actors are leveraging advances in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence to weaponize social media and exploit the political, cultural, economic, and social divisions in and across societies throughout the world. Especially concerning is AI-enabled disinformation campaigns that leverage smarter and more human-like “smart bots”, fake pictures and profiles, and most disturbingly of all, deepfakes that create alternative events, realities, and narratives completely divorced from objective truth and designed to reduce the will of states to resist geopolitical, economic, and military pressure.
In its January 2020, “Doomsday Clock” statement, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists stressed the urgency and immediacy of the deepfake challenge, in particular, noting that “the recent emergence of so-called ‘deepfakes’—audio and video recordings that are essentially undetectable as false—threatens to further undermine the ability of citizens and decision makers to separate truth from fiction.” Among the harmful results of this deepfake diffusion is an increased “possibility of misunderstanding or provocations that could lead to war.”
This panel will assess the dimensions of the on-going competition in the cyber domain and seek to understand where cyber-security intersects or overlaps with other domains that have become central to defence and security communities throughout the world. It will also look at how governments, industry, and academia can work both independently and collaboratively to build enhanced cyber, societal, and political resilience in response to both the intensifying and diversifying threats in the cyber domain.