Strategic Resilience Is Key to Cope with Strategic Shocks
In today's volatile environment strategic shocks are on the rise. Health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disaster or political decisions to restrict exports or imports of key resources and technologies can disrupt national economies that have become highly intertwined. In dealing with these challenges, strategic resilience is key. Strategic resilience strenghtens national preparedness, raises the attractiveness of national ecoomies and improves their competitiveness. Implementing strategic resilience, however, is challenging as it requires public and private stakeholders to fundamentally change the way they interact with each other, argue Heiko Borchert and Johann Frank in a new OpEd published by Neue Zuercher Zeitung.
Strategic Resilience: Rebalancing Public-Private Cooperation to Cope with Strategic Shocks
Eight Scenarios on the Post-COVID-19 Business Landscape
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has created a global health crisis. The distribution of the respiratory disease coincided with an unexpected oil price shock. Together and in tandem with the lockdown that governments have ordered to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the two incidents have produced an unprecedented global demobilization of the world economy. Given the vehemence of this crisis, there is no way that governments or companies can continue implementing strategies and initiatives adopted prior to this shock bonanza. Everything will need to be adjusted in light of a crisis that the international community is still struggling to fully understand. Against this background, "Looking Beyond the Abyss" outlines eight scenarios on the post-COVID-19 business landscape. Constructed along the two axes of international cooperation vs. international confrontation and strong vs. weak national ability to act, the geo-economic scenarios describe the broader geo-economic environment for future business activities. The corporate scenarios look at the business environment. These scenarios are built along the two axes of resilient vs. imploding supply chains and strong vs. weak corporate financial power.Eight Scenarios on the Post-COVID-19 Business Landscape
Funding for EU Defense Research and Technology: Seminar in Slovenia
As of 2021 the European Commission plans to spend a significant amount of money to support defense technology and defense capability development in Europe (European Defense Fund, EDF). How can EU member states best position their respective research institutes and companies to advance national and European interests? Slovenia's Ministry of Defense and the Slovenian Business & Resrearch Association organized a seminar on 24 October 2019 in Ljubljana to shed light on this question. In his presentation, Heiko Borchert discussed the challenging nature of defense innovation against the background of tomorrow's conflict picture. He gave an overview of key trends shaping the European defense technological and industrial base. IN order to benefti from the EDF, Slovenia needs a strategic approach that identifies the key capability and technology areas the country wants to emphasize. Defining such a strategy requires close public-private interaction.
When Connectivity Becomes Toxic: Presentation at the International NMMT Symposium
Connectivity has been a key driver of economic and technological globalization and has been shaped by it. But the international community is on the verge of a new wave of protctionist policies. Connectivity not only enables globalization, it also creates new vulnerabilities as nations increasingly weaponize global exchange processes to unilaterally exert (raw) political power. This will fundamentally affect the political and business enviornment of the maritime business sector that depends on global supply chains, as Heiko Borchert argued at the "International Symposium on Digtal Pltaforms for Maritime Security Applications" (in Germany only). The conference was organized by the Office of the (German) National Masterplan for Maritime Technologies on 23-24 October 2019 in Bremerhaven. Among other things, Flow Control is likely to further deglobalisation as it gives rise to bifurcated techno-economic ecosystems. Bifurcation results from the fact that interoperability, that hitherto has been a key ingredient, is being pushed a side by national/regional preferential agreements and standards shaped by protectionist policies. This will have significant repurcussions for leading export nations like Germany and will require a much closer and more strategic public-private partnership in response.
Jump-Starting Europe's Work on Military Artificial Intelligence
Estonia, Finland, France, Germany and the Netherlands presented a food-for-thought paper in May 2019, posing a series of questions aimed at boosting defense-relevant AI research in Europe. Our suggestion: Create a data mobility framework that would guide future concepts, models, algorithms, data sharing, access to elastic computing power, and sophisticated testing and training.Jump-Starting Europe's Work on Military Artificial Intelligence
Why Unmanned Systems are the Go-To Option for Gray Zone Ops in the Gulf
Current incidents in the Arabian Sea should be seized as an opportunity to advance naval conceptual thinking about unmanned maritime systems in gray zone operations. Gray zone activities are an astute object for concept development, as they “creep up on their goals gradually,” rather than involving decisive moves, as Michael Mazarr has argued. In response, Mazarr contends, gray zone operations will “call for a greater emphasis on innovation” as these operations take different forms and intensities and thus require varied responses. This coincides with the general need to devote more attention to concepts development that drives the use of new naval technologies such as unmanned systems.Why Unmanned Systems are the Go-To Option for Gray Zone Ops in the Gulf
UDT 2019: AI – Securty and Indsecurity in Underater Defence
On Day 3 of UDT 2019 in Stockholm, conference chairman Simon Williams, Clarion Defense & Security, invited Chris Norwood, Research Leader Acoustic Signature Mangement, DST Australia, Joel Brynielsson, Deputy Research Director, FOI Sweden, and Heiko Borchert to explore opportunities and pitfalls of the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for underwater defense. Heiko Borchert focused on the broader context that shapes the use of naval AI by addressing three key aspects: First, for technology to deliver tangible outcomes to navies, technology needs to be embedded in concepts of operations and concepts of employment. One avenue to tackle this challenge is to look at the contribution of technology to accomplish the principles of war, i.e. the set of key ideas that outline who nations apply military power. Second, AI and other technologies pose major challenges for the socio-cultural ecosystem of navies. These need to be addressed in order to provide the basis for navies to adapt new technologies. Finally, the advent of AI in the defense world will challenge the current defense industrial base in particular with regard to the role traditional defense OEM and new, non-defense entrants from the commercial AI might want to play. However, the current debate puts too much emphasis on the presumed added value of commercial AI for defense applications. Heiko Borchert was more cautious in underlyning that genuine defense AI will be needed because of the very specific defense and legal requirements for naval AI solutions.
European Defense Fund: Opportunities for Finland's Defense Industrial Base
The European Commission has launched several initiatives to advance European defense capabilities and improve the competitiveness of the European defense technological and industrial base. Prior to the launch of the European Defense Fund, which is foreseen for 2021, the Preparatory Action on Defense Research and the European Defense Industrial Development Program provide initial incentives. Both initatives offer exciting opportunities for Finland. But how can Finnish defense industrial and research partners best use these initiatives? What are the most promising capabilty and technology areas to address? And how to team up with other nations to form winning consortia? Blic, a Finnish public affairs consultancy, invited more than 30 experts to discuss these and other questions with Jyrki Katainen, Vice President of the European Commission, LTG Esa Pulkkinnen, Director General of the EU Military Staff, Sami Järvinen, Special Adviser at the Defense Command Finland, and Heiko Borchert
Flow Control: Expert Meeting at the Federation of German Industries
Today's international order has enabled and has been shaped by the free flow of goods, services, data, and capital and the unrestricted movement of people. These global exchanges have created strategic flows that have advanced prosperity and deepened connectedness. But the fraying international order gives rise to a more skeptical view on connectedness. Rather than emphasizing the benefits and opportunities, a prevailing zero-sum logic underlines and exploits the vulnerabilities of dependence. That is why nations, in particular ambitious emerging status quo challengers, are focusing increasingly on flow control. This constitutes a major challenge for all nations and companies depending on unhibited strategic flows. On invitation of Matthias Wachter, Head of Unit Security and Resources, Federation of German Industries (BDI), Heiko Borchert joined Michael Boschert, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, and the members of a BDI expert group to talk about the consequences and likely policy options to deal with flow controlFlow Control
The Arab Gulf Defense Pivot: New Paper Published in Comparative Strategy
Arab Gulf countries have been trying to set up a local defense industrial base for decades. Recently, these efforts have become much more serious due to a changing geostrategic context, local transformation, and the striving for a more active foreign policy role beyond the region. Today's Arab Gulf defense pivot rests on four pillars: broadening the traditional defense supplier base; establishing indigenous defense industries; setting up a defense industrial network within and beyond the region; enlarging foreign policy clout by way of defense exports, defense material donations, and third country defense funding. Despite progress, challenges regarding strategic and financial stability and local skill sets remain, argues Heiko Borchert in a new paper published in Comparative Strategy.The Arab Gulf Defense Pivot