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International Defence Conference

To focus on impacts of innovation on global military sector

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Abu Dhabi — The upcoming International Defence Conference, IDC, will focus on the impacts of innovation on the global defence sector, and how the military industry can best unlock the benefits of the fourth industrial revolution, 4IR. The International Defence Conference is due to take place on 20 February 2021 and will be a hybrid event, taking place both virtually and at the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s Business Centre, highlighting Abu Dhabi’s global role in enabling the advancement of the defence industry through its resilient business tourism sector.

The International Defence Conference comes as part of International Defence Exhibition, IDEX 2021, and the Naval Defence Exhibition, NAVDEX 2021, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. The upcoming edition of IDEX 2021 and NAVDEX 2021 is due to take place from 21 – 25 February 2021 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Company, ADNEC.

Speaking on the upcoming conference, Saeed Al Mansouri, Executive Director at Capital Events, a subsidiary of the ADNEC, commented: “The International Defence Conference offers a unique opportunity to bring some of the finest minds in the global defence sector to Abu Dhabi to discuss the most pressing issues of the day. We are working hard to ensure that delegates will be able to meet, in person, through implementing a wide range of safety measures that can guarantee the wellbeing of all attending.

“The global defence community is looking to Abu Dhabi and the UAE as a trusted destination for meetings of this nature, as we ensure the industry can congregate and continue to do business. Such participation is a vote of confidence in the health and safety measures that will be implemented at the International Defence Conference, alongside the IDEX 2021 and NAVDEX 2021 exhibitions. We look forward to welcoming delegates to Abu Dhabi for this important conference,” he added.

Brigadier General Khalifa Al Kaabi, Chairman of the Organising Committee for the conference, said: “Bringing together leading global experts and specialists to discuss the global defence sector is crucial. The industry is a complex and dynamic one, with a large number of entities working to provide state actors with a range of measures that secure their country’s defences.” Matar Ali Al Romaithi, Tawazun’s Chief Economic Development Officer, commented “The International Defence Conference comes at an opportune moment where the world is focused on technological innovation. It is indeed a perfect platform for us where we can highlight our role as an enabler of technology and innovation within the defence and security sector and our approach to collaborative innovation in technology.”

”We are eager to participate in this important event to share our experience in facilitating ecosystem growth through global and local partnerships, and empowering innovation through the defence and security R&D ecosystem and to explore opportunities to forge effective partnerships to accelerate the development of 4IR technologies,” Al Romaithi said.

“As such, the International Defence Conference is as significant as ever, helping governments, industry leaders, and academics forge new opportunities for the whole sector. Through the international co-operation, engendered by this conference, we hope to provide a forum that provides the global community with new directions on some of these critical topics in Abu Dhabi this coming February.”

Four topics will principally be discussed during the sessions. First, delegates will discuss how to protect artificial intelligence and other technologies of the fourth industrial revolution from misuse by either state or non-state actors, including terrorist and extremist groups. Panellists will focus on how governments, businesses, and academics working in the sector can collaborate to ensure the protection of critical technologies and ensure their benefits are used for wider peacekeeping efforts.

The second topic will focus on disruption in the defence supply chain sector, which has been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, these issues are reflective of systemic, sector-wide issues in the global defence supply chain. The session will highlight how defence companies can support militaries in meeting their requirements, and discuss how defence manufacturing is changing, and how supply chains need to maintain the pace.

The subject of research and development in the defence sector will be the topic of the third session. With the defence industry becoming increasingly dynamic, we need to understand how research is done in the military sector can align with investments and interest in the commercial sector. Panellists will discuss how the defence R&D sector can see a breakthrough on a wide range of future technologies, including the fields of artificial intelligence and the fourth industrial revolution, and what forms of civilian applications such research can have.

The final topic will look discuss how digital technologies have created new challenges in the realm of cybersecurity, and the implications of those challenges for real-world defence decisions. Be it third-party manipulation of technology, personal data theft, or weaponizing of social media with false or misleading information, there is a range of potential threats in the digital sphere. Delegates will discuss how industry and government players can respond to such threats, and how they can ensure resiliency in the cyber-security domain.

A wide raft of health and safety measures have been designed and implemented across the International Defence Conference as well as IDEX 2021 and NAVDEX 2021, ensuring the safety of all participants. All those attending the conference will be required to have a negative polymerase chain reaction, PCR, COVID-19 test before being given access to either the conference or the exhibitions. Besides, social distancing measures and the wearing of personal protective equipment, PPE, is being mandated across exhibition facilities, ensuring the safety of all attending the events.-WAM

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