Air Vice Marshal Justin Reuter CBE, Director of Strategy of United Kingdom Strategic Command (StratComm), joined DSEI Senior Defence Advisor, Air Vice Marshal (ret’d) Gary Waterfall, to discuss the challenges facing the MoD and industry in achieving a fully integrated force, discussing the role of UK Strategic Command in creating a more integrated defence, the impact of these developments in on industry prospects and the need for a different type of relationship with industry.
AVM Reuter explained that “integration is not interoperability; it is also global, not regional,” highlighting the difficulty of creating a unified and integrated defence structure for the UK and its allies which would have to incorporate myriad new concepts to support security, ranging from cyber and quantum computing to AI and space.
AVM Reuter was keen to point out that at the heart of this integration lies the need for a culture shift within the MoD, saying that “integrating an offensive cyber effect with a space capability, with air or land capabilities, is actually quite difficult to do and requires a change in mindset.” Given DSEI 2021’s theme of ‘Integrated Response to Future Threats,’ AVM Reuter’s remarks are timely and relevant to such a significant event in the industry calendar.
When emphasising the need for a new type of relationship between industry and defence, AVM Reuter stated that “our relationship has got to change so that industry comes to us and says ‘you don’t know you need this, but you really need this,’” demonstrating the value that an event like DSEI has for both industry and government. With reference to government, AVM Reuter mentioned that “we need to be integrated with all levels of government. The military does not act on its own, and defence, with all of its different levers, does not act absent of policy.