Ministry of Defence hosted AI Defence partnership forum

The UK has become the first nation to host the AI Partnership for Defence (AI PfD) dialogue outside of the US

At this artificial intelligence (AI) forum, like-minded defence partners come together to discuss respective policies, approaches, challenges and solutions in adopting AI-enabled capabilities.

It also enables the 16 nations in attendance to collaborate and share global best practices in adopting AI to deal with defence and security challenges.

General Sir Patrick Sanders, the head of UK Strategic Command, commented on the forum, he said: “By bringing together 16 like-minded nations to discuss AI, this partnership opens an essential international dialogue that benefits our collective Defence and promotes a common vision for the responsible use of AI.”

This partnership has also extended recently from 13 to 16 nations. It was launched in May by the US Department of Defense (DoD) Joint AI Centre (JAIC) in 2020. 

International nations coming together to utilise AI in global defence challenges

The UK delegation includes representatives from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the new Defence AI Centre and the Defence AI and Autonomy Unit with UK participation coordinated by the British Defence Staff in Washington DC.

At this two day event, participants focused on AI governance. It also considered the role of organisational strategies, policies, standards, regulation and risk management frameworks in both providing assurances, and enabling innovation.

Highlighting the importance of this forum is the recent US national security commission on AI that was reported to Congress earlier this year.

Additionally, the UK’s new ambition to become a global AI superpower where Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced at least £6.6bn for R&D enabling more research into AI and related areas again reinforces the importance of such dialogues.

Steve Meers, head of Dstl’s AI Centre, said about the forum: “The AI partnership is a vitally important initiative that builds on a growing set of international nations coming together to ensure we are all clear and agree on the responsible application of AI, and to support one another as we deal with global defence and security challenges.”

Building on past discussion and collaboration

The third AI Partnership for Defense (PfD) dialogue was hosted in May of this year, with the previous two having been held in January 2021 and September 2020.

Hosted by the Department of Defense Joint Artificial Intelligence Centre, the previous forum focused on ways in which defence institutions can organise, recruit, educate, train, and retain an AI-ready workforce for the digital era.

It also discussed:

  • Human capital strategies and policies 
  • The role of leadership in driving organisational and cultural change 
  • Education and training programs to train and retain government employees
  • Collaboration with the private sector
  • Tools and processes to modernise the digital workforce.

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