Defence Fireside Chat

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, last Wednesday the annual face to face Land Capability Industry Symposium was converted to a highly successful, interactive webinar which saw some 300 participants.

Those who attended were able to hear from speakers in two different sessions with a lively and interactive Q&A element after each section which covered SME engagement with the Ministry of Defence, partnerships with industry, changing our procurement to be better aligned to export, and greater transparency on budgets.

Session 1 speakers:

  • DCGS LT Gen Chris Tickell CBE
  • DCap Maj Gen Jez Bennett CBE
  • DInfo Maj Gen Jon Cole OBE

Session 2 speakers:

  • DSp Maj Gen Simon Hamilton CBE
  • DG(L) Chris Bushell
  • Dir Del Int & Exped Svcs Maj Gen Rich Spencer

During the event, Lt Gen Chris Tickell CBE emphasised that it was vital for the Army to have the right research & development in place, and that the Army’s relationship with Industry needed to mature and deepen. COVID-19 has been a significant challenge, which the Army has been deployed to meet, and it has considerable potential strategic implications; there is absolutely no doubt that things are going to have to change.

He outlined that ways needed to be identified to try to effectively manage change collaboratively. We live in an age of considerable exponential change, with ever-greater competition which must be able to be met. Part of this will be the delivery of the ongoing Challenger 2 and Warrior upgrade programmes.

With the global rise of increasing nationalism around the World, this presents fresh challenges and an ever-greater importance for effective alliances to be maintained or developed. The relationship between the Army and Industry will be increasingly vital for all concerned. An example of this close relationship has been the delivery (within a 7-month time frame, from inception to delivery) of the Army’s Black Hornet micro drone, which has already proven its worth, and, based on practical experience, has been subject to further enhancement due to feedback received. Effective partnership with Industry is the future, as the Army works hard to modernise and transform the ways in which it operates.

It was also discussed that cyber and Electronic Warfare are two areas where further investment is needed, with the Army playing a crucial role in the delivery of “Global Britain”. One of the key themes will be the fundamental need of greater use of open architecture to assist in the delivery of the sought-after strategic aspirations.

Finally, it is understood that closer partnership is also required in the defence digital domain, and the Army remains open to dialogue with potential industrial partners on how to achieve this. Adaptability and a willingness to learn will be crucial for success.

This event is one of many that demonstrates the British Army’s willingness to engage with industry and work together.

Lt General Chris Tickell CBE, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, said:

“Our relationship with industry is going to be one of the most important factors in how we address many of the strategic issues of the day, allowing us to truly transform how we operate; being dynamic and innovative, and thinking long-term.”

To register for upcoming ADS events, please click here.