At the UK Strategic Command (STRATCOM) Conference 2024, Doug Beck, director of the US Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), and General Jim Hockenhull, Commander of UK Strategic Command, signed an agreement to place liaisons officers in each nation’s defence innovation hubs.

STRATCOM’s innovation team ‘jHub’ connects technology and talent with users across Defence. The US Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), based in Silicon Valley, focus on accelerating the adoption of commercial and dual-use technology to solve operational challenges at speed and scale.

Doug Beck, the unit’s director, reports directly to the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin III as of April 2023 after the institution’s restructuring to encourage private sector innovation.

“As technological advancements continue to accelerate, we must collaborate ever more closely with our international allies and industry partners,” stated STRATCOM in a recent statement.

The STRATCOM Conference brought together over 250 experts from international allies and partners, across government, industry, and academia to discuss challenges and share ideas.

“This agreement will help us continue to share knowledge and ideas with our close ally and collaborate on the development of cutting-edge science and technology on both sides of the Atlantic,” STRATCOM continued. “Partnerships like this help protect both our nations and strengthen what is already the most robust, deepest, and advanced military partnership of any two countries.”

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AUKUS goes global

UK-US ties have also strengthened in a global context too under the auspices of the trilateral AUKUS alliance with Australia recently.

The alliance recently announced it will open up for collaboration with potential partners, such as Japan, as the three seek to benefit from global innovation in emerging technologies under the Pillar II initiative.

As part of the second pillar initiative, the three nations have set up various schemes to boost innovation in these emerging tech areas.

Recently, numerous defence companies attempted to resolve vulnerabilities of land-based autonomous systems in electronic warfare congested environments in February 2024 – a far cry from the central policy of nuclear submarines for Australia under Pillar I.