In the context of its ongoing work on Emerging and Disruptive Technologies, NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division organized a webinar on 16 July 2020 on interoperability. The workshop brought together Allied officials and external experts to discuss interoperability when it comes to dealing with a range of new, and rapidly evolving, technologies.

NATO has a great tradition of promoting interoperability among Allied armed forces. But the emergence of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence or autonomous systems require NATO to redouble its efforts to ensure all Allies remain interoperable. In his remarks, Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană stressed that “we cannot have a two-tier Alliance, where Allies are unable to cooperate due to technological and doctrinal discrepancies”. He added that “those with a weaker innovation ecosystem cannot be lagging behind”. For this, we have to make sure that Allies whose technological adoption rate is high are able to cooperate with Allies who are just getting started with these efforts. DSG Geoană also addressed the importance of civil-military interoperability. “We need to be cognizant of how civilian sector regulations can either facilitate or hamper military activities that we need for our common defense”, he said.

The webinar featured keynote speeches by Emily de La Bruyère and Nathan Picarsic, the co-founders of Horizon Advisory and authors of a recent report on how China plans to dominate international tech standards as part of “China’s Standards 2035” strategy.  Emily and Nathan discussed how China is using their membership in international bodies to influence technical standards in strategically important industries to further their interests, in ways that may be detrimental to Allies.

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