New research has found that 95% of military and defence industry decision-makers recognise that ongoing digitalisation has led to a more dynamic and complex ‘information battlespace’ and a further 93% agree defence will require increased integration across domains.
A report by BAE Systems’ Digital Intelligence business, Decision Making in the Battlespace of the Future, gathered insights on how 400 defence and aerospace leaders are facing the challenge of maintaining a digital edge over adversaries in a rapidly evolving environment.
It found that greater levels of Multi-Domain Integration – across land, sea, air, cyber and space – will be key as the defence landscape becomes increasingly digitalised. Nine out of ten respondents said better Multi-Domain Integration would enable a more effective response to grey zone threats, cyber security attacks and AI developments with 83% saying it would reduce uncertainty and volatility.
Researchers gathered views of senior business and IT decision-makers from military and private industry defence and aerospace organisations across the UK, Canada, Australia, the Nordics and the Middle East. It sheds light on the recent significant changes in the defence landscape and highlights areas the sector must focus on to overcome emerging threats.
Areas of focus highlighted in the report include:
- Collaboration across military departments– breaking down siloes to enable integration and unified strategies
- Regulatory standards for Multi-Domain Integration programmes– to streamline implementation and coordination
- Integrated technology development – while innovations increase across the board, technology integration can reduce siloes
The information battlespace
With 86% agreeing that future wars will be fought in an ‘information battlespace’, it’s clear that digital capabilities are central to modern military strategies. Almost all respondents (98%) acknowledged an evolution of processes will be essential for navigating the complexities of modern defence.
The report highlights that, in addition to the challenge of digitalisation, the defence sector faces rapid evolution due to a number of geopolitical factors. These include the return to conventional war in Europe and the requirement to protect against operations within the so-called ‘grey zone’, which consist of activities that sit just beneath the threshold of an act of war.
Embracing Multi-Domain Integration – whereby every part of defence operates seamlessly together –promotes unified action that allows for more effective responses to cyber-attacks and Artificial Intelligence (AI) developments (93% agree).
Mivy James, Digital Transformation Director, BAE Systems’ Digital Intelligence business, said: “One of the main benefits of Multi-Domain Integration is operational effectiveness and the ability to access a holistic view of a situation. We’re seeing a decline in the clear distinction between traditional domains in modern warfare and we need to differentiate less between the physical and digital space and create digital threads between domains to manage this evolving threat.”
Bolstering our defences
As adversaries employ increasingly sophisticated digital strategies, 79% of respondents recognise Multi-Domain Integration’s critical role in shaping today’s military operations. They acknowledge the intricate nature of Multi-Domain Integration while simultaneously deeming it indispensable – with 91% of those surveyed agreeing Multi-Domain Integration is difficult to implement but essential.
Sidharth Kaushal, Research Fellow, Sea Power – Military Sciences, RUSI, added: “System integration, spanning domains, nations and industries, inevitably raises cybersecurity concerns. While there’s unanimous agreement on the need for greater integration, particularly in our collaboration with allies, we must be prepared for the inherent challenges this brings.
“Integration at this scale isn’t just about technology; it’s a transformative journey prompting us to revisit and potentially disrupt long-standing procedures. It’s essential that we approach this evolution with caution, ensuring we balance the promise of unified systems with the potential risks they might introduce.”
BAE Systems’ Digital Intelligence business delivers digital, data and cyber solutions to connect the deployed battlespace across land, air, maritime cyber and space domains, enabling rapid decision making and preparing military customers for the battlespace of the future.
To delve deeper into the intricacies and strategies surrounding Multi-Domain Integration in the evolving battlespace, access the full report by BAE Systems Digital Intelligence.
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