ABU DHABI, 2nd March, 2022 (WAM) — The first day of the International Defence Industry, Technology and Security Conference (IDITSC), taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, discussed several key topics related to the defence sector, defence technology security (DTS), and the growing use of advanced technology in defence operations.
Running between 2nd to 3rd March, 2022, the event draws the participation of 70 senior officials, experts and specialists from 30 countries.
Addressing this first-of-its-kind event in in the Middle East, Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, Minister of State for Defence Affairs, highlighted the importance of innovation as an enabler of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and how this transformation has become particularly evident in the defence sector.
Al Bowardi said, “The evolving nature of defence spending gives a clear indication that technological innovation has become a cornerstone and catalyst to military refurbishments globally. National defence, security and global standing are no longer defined exclusively by the number of physical assets in a country’s arsenal, but ever more critically, by its technological prowess and capabilities.”
Al Bowardi added, “The transformative potential of advanced technologies, and their rapid pace of development clearly demonstrate that there is an urgent need to adopt a twenty-first century approach to security, which can be achieved by collaborating in a way that serves all stakeholders through rules-based technology governance, implementing regulatory standards and frameworks, setting strict export controls, enabling collaborative innovation, adopting enhanced interoperability, as well as through real-time analysis and information exchange among all concerned parties.”
Dr. Khaled bin Hussein Al Biyari, Assistant Minister for Executive Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Saudi Arabia, was a featured keynote presenter, as was Michael Laychak, Director, Defence Trade Security Administration, USA, who both spoke of the importance of bilateral collaboration to foster stronger common defence. The day one sessions were also headlined by representatives from Defence Security Cooperation Agency USA; the Ministry of Defence, South Africa; Khalifa University of Science and Technology; and the Ministry of Advanced Technology, UAE, among others.
IDITSC is the first such conference to be held anywhere in the Middle East to focus exclusively on the expanding overlap between the defence sector and advanced technology innovation, convening leaders from the international defence industry, policymakers, leading technology researchers and academics, as well as international defence technology security (DTS) experts.
The conference features a multi-track agenda, with the first day’s discussions having gravitated towards the topics of DTS, Robotics and Autonomous Systems, and Space. Major General Mubarak Al Jabri, Assistant Under-Secretary for Support and Defence Industries, Ministry of Defence, UAE spoke about the robust export controls and technology security systems in defence as a base for alliances and collaboration.
Given the embrace of technology by the UAE in its bid to develop a knowledge society, Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Teleworking Applications, was on-hand to discuss how the UAE’s innovations are set to make citizens and residents of the nation among the happiest in the world.
Faisal Al Bannai, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of EDGE Group, an advanced technology group for defence and one of the top 25 defence contractors globally, participated in a keynote fireside chat, where he described the ethos behind the establishment of the defence company, and the company’s determination to build a sovereign product market for its domestic use as well as for export.
Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency considered the contribution of space technologies to national security across diverse areas in her keynote address on the subject.
G42, a leading Middle East artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing innovator based in the UAE, saw its Chief Operating Officer, Mansoor Al Mansoori participate in a discussion that analysed A New Framework for Collaboration, which is extremely apt for the company given its pace of local, regional, and international partnering across sectors.
A panel discussion on Robotics & Autonomous Systems considered the future of warfare in the near and long-term, with panellists agreeing that by 2040, autonomous technology will be widespread in the application of innovations such as swarming drones. There is an expectation that future warfare will be defined to a much greater extent by networking capability, autonomous systems assisting people in achieving missions, and ethical questions on the amount of autonomy to provide systems.
IDITSC offers a unique opportunity for participants to learn about the decision-making mechanisms that frame international relations related to the governance of defence industries.