25 Feb 2021

REPORT: The innovation race on disruptive technologies requires close collaboration between NATO, the EU and industry

EU-NATO security cooperation is high on the agenda for the February European Council. In its first annual report published today, NATO’s advisory group on emerging and disruptive technologies puts forward key recommendations to help the alliance keep pace with new technologies and provide the right conditions for innovation. As a member of the advisory group, DIGITALEUROPE says that collaboration between the Alliance and industry, and with the EU, is essential to reach these goals.

The report has extra relevance in the context of recent EU actions in this area, such as the Defence Fund, and the Action Plan on synergies between civil, defence and space industries, published 22 February.

Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, Director-General of DIGITALEUROPE and an advisory group member, said:

“Today, most technology innovation comes from the private sector, often supported by academia. In order for NATO to stay at the top of its game, collaboration on tech innovation with these two actors is fundamental.

This report highlights how the development of clear NATO Innovation Missions and KPIs can enable industry to better serve the Alliance with existing and future innovation, scaling more quickly and efficiently from the lab to the application phase. NATO must establish itself as a recognisable thought leader engaging with civil and defence applications across the public and private domains.

As the European Council discusses EU-NATO cooperation over the next days, they should keep in mind that the new strategy for Europe’s digital decade represents a unique opportunity to deepen our Transatlantic partnership in areas like cybersecurity. NATO alignment and collaboration with EU initiatives in this space – in investment programmes such as the Recovery and Resilience Funds, Horizon Europe, Digital Europe, and the new Cyber Competence Centre – is vital in order to avoid duplication and maximise use of the funds available”

The advisory group, which is composed of 12 experts from the private sector and academia, was appointed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in July 2020. Its goal is to advise NATO on how the Alliance can maintain its technological leadership in the 21st century, considering both long-term goals and shorter-term concrete steps.

The report lays out the group’s initial recommendations on making NATO more adaptable to emerging and disruptive technologies, and underlines the essential organisational traits that need to be embraced to achieve this goal. Its recommendations focus on training and education, innovation networks, financing and engagement with the Allied innovation ecosystem.

Read the full report here -

EDT Advisory Group Annual Report 2020


13th April – Security in the digital age: how can the public and private sectors combine to drive innovation?

Join our esteemed speakers to discuss the findings of today’s report and Europe’s security in a changing world. More info about the event here.

  • Confirmed so far:

    Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl – Director General of DIGITALEUROPE

    David van Weel – Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, NATO

    More to come…

For more information, please contact:
Chris Ruff
Director for Political Outreach & Communications
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