NATO’s North American Innovation Hub proposed for Halifax | So Good News



Defense Minister Anita Anand announced her proposal to create an innovation hub for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Halifax on Friday.

The aim of the hub will be to foster cooperation between NATO’s military members and the technology sector, including technology start-ups and academic researchers.

Anand said the proposed hub would focus on emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, big data processing, quantum technology, biotechnology and new materials, rather than weapons development.

Standing on the windswept shore at the edge of Halifax Harbour, Anand said the 30 members of the NATO military alliance were facing technological disruptions.

“Strategic competitors are trying to challenge the rules-based international order that has kept Canada safe since the end of World War II,” he said as an icy wind whipped through Canada’s Halifax Air Force Base.

“We can see this with (Russian President) Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine and his unjustified and illegal invasion of sovereign territory (earlier this year).”

NATO has yet to approve the proposal, but Anand said the hub should be fully operational by 2025.

Admiral Rob Bower, NATO’s most senior military officer, said the technology was becoming more and more strategically important.

“This will change the balance in securing a peaceful future,” said Bauer, chairman of NATO’s military committee and a member of the Royal Netherlands Navy.

“One of the reasons Ukrainian forces have been successful in repelling Russian aggression is their skillful use of new technologies.”

For example, the Ukrainian military has become adept at using small, relatively inexpensive drones to achieve significant battlefield victories against its Russian adversaries.

“We have all witnessed the important role of technology companies supporting Ukraine,” Bauer said.

“Help has come both from Ukraine’s own well-developed technology sector and from international players large and small… That’s why NATO is redoubling its efforts to stay at the forefront of technology.”

Bauer said NATO would also launch a $1.3 billion venture capital fund backed by 22 allies.

“It’s not about building new missiles or tanks,” he said. “It’s about leveraging the innovation ecosystems in the alliance.”

If NATO accepts Canada’s proposal, the regional office in Halifax will become part of NATO’s network of nine hubs known as the North Atlantic Defense Innovation Accelerator, or DIANA.

Anand said that the plan is to create a network of innovation sites in North America and a similar office in London to support the European network.

The minister said Halifax was chosen as the proposed location for the DIANA hub because of its 300 science and technology start-ups, seven universities and major military bases, including Canada’s Atlantic Fleet.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 18, 2022.


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