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UK to explore how Ministry of Defence can capitalise on AI

Written by Wed 20 Dec 2023

The UK’s Defence Committee has launched a sub-committee focused on enhancing artificial intelligence (AI) capacity and expertise within the nation’s defense.

Chaired by Emma Lewell-Buck MP, the sub-committee’s inquiry will explore ways the Ministry of Defence (MOD) can secure the capacity and expertise necessary for the UK to become a leader in defence AI.

The Committee will assess how the MOD can effectively support the UK defence sector in capitalising on the significance of AI. It also aims to champion UK tech to provide the country with a competitive edge in AI development.

Lewell-Buck warned that if the UK does not move fast now, it risks falling behind the rapid development of AI.

“Artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionise the defence and security landscape. The UK needs to be ready to seize the opportunities presented by this change,” said Lewell-Buck.

In September, RiverSafe research revealed that 85% of cyber leaders believe that AI will outpace cyber defences.

The inquiry will examine whether the MOD has clear priorities for the type of AI capacity the UK should have and whether these are deliverable.

“Eighteen months on from the publication of the MOD’s Defence AI Strategy, our Sub-Committee will ask whether the MOD is translating ambition into action. We will engage experts and industry to find out how the MOD can spur on innovation and research,” said Lewell-Buck.

The inquiry will also focus on UK industry. The sub-committee will interrogate how the Government can help develop domestic engineering and software sectors.

The sub-committee will also examine how UK AI companies can be embedded in defence supply chains domestically and internationally.

Finally, the inquiry will analyse AUKUS Pillar 2 and question how the UK’s AI sector can be promoted in this context.

AUKUS is a security partnership between the UK, the US, and Australia. Pillar 2 focuses on developing a range of advanced capabilities to share technology and increase interoperability between armed forces.

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Written by Wed 20 Dec 2023

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