Transatlantic Perspectives on Defense Innovation: Issues for Congress Page: 2 of 30
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
NATO Defense Innovation: Transatlantic Perspectives and Issues for Congress
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has a renewed focus on defense and deterrence
in Europe. In the past, NATO relied at least in part on its military technological superiority over
potential adversaries for defense and deterrence in Europe, but some policymakers are
increasingly concerned that NATO's technological superiority is eroding.
Russia, China, and others are modernizing their militaries, investing in new and emerging
technologies, and exploring their applications for defense. In addition, NATO faces rising
operating costs, and both conventional and hybrid challenges in operating domains that have
expanded to include cyberspace as well as land, sea, and air. NATO must also contend with a
growing group of nonstate challengers empowered by the pace of technological change and the
global diffusion of technology. Increasingly dependent on ubiquitous technology, NATO is
adapting to a world in which commercial investments in research and development (R&D)
outpace those of governments, innovation cycles are shortening, and there is more international
competition for technology and innovation.
Since 2014, the United States has promoted defense innovation as a strategy to integrate new
technologies into military capabilities and strengthen U.S. technological superiority over its
potential adversaries. Today, many European allies acknowledge the importance of technology
and innovation in defense, and they are beginning to respond to the changing environment by
committing more resources to defense, and a few have national defense innovation strategies of
their own. The United Kingdom, France, and Germany-NATO's largest European defense
spenders-are investing more in R&D and reforming their defense ministries to take more risk,
procure technology faster, develop innovative concepts, and strengthen their links with
commercial industry. Generally speaking, however, European governments are still in the early
stages of developing what are predominantly national strategies.
NATO seeks to harmonize the allies' national strategies and defense investments, promote
collaboration, and build a shared vision for the future. Its member states have sophisticated
militaries, institutional frameworks for collaboration, and dynamic economies that attract talent,
and support innovation. Innovation challenges persist, however, such as those related to NATO's
limited budgets and its bureaucratic processes, which make it difficult for NATO to attract the
attention of commercial industry and global technology companies. NATO is also working to
balance its member states' concerns over national sovereignty with the need for more
multinational cooperation, both from a cost and from an interoperability point of view. NATO
also seeks to enhance interoperability among allied militaries and balance short-term priorities
with preparations for future warfare. In the future, NATO might have to rely as much on its
agility and on its capacity for innovation as it has relied on its military technological advantage in
Congress may consider what role the United States can play to support NATO's adaptation, and
what channels Congress could pursue to exert influence over NATO's direction. There are both
risks and opportunities associated with sharing technology or developing it jointly with NATO
allies, and there are questions about what the United States and its allies expect from one another
in terms of technology and innovation. Technology has the potential to enhance NATO's
effectiveness, but it also has the potential to undermine interoperability or political cohesion if the
United States develops a technology-driven strategy and its NATO allies either do not keep pace,
or do not adapt to strategic, political, and technological change.
Congressional Research Service
Here’s what’s next.
This report can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Report.
Aronsson, Lisa A. Transatlantic Perspectives on Defense Innovation: Issues for Congress, report, April 24, 2018; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1157107/m1/2/: accessed March 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.