From 12 to 15 September 2023, the ExCel Centre in London hosted over 35,000 attendees from around the world for this year’s Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition. With the theme for this year’s event ‘Achieving an Integrated Force’, Strategic Command was at the forefront of the discussions and during the week showcased a broad range of work through the Strategic Command stand, keynote speakers, briefings, and panel discussions.
Our partnerships – across Defence, with other government departments, international allies, industry, and academia – give UK Defence our strength. DSEI 23 was a valuable opportunity to develop old and build new partnerships.
Strategic Command representatives at DSEI covered a broad range of topics, spanning integration, digitisation, wargaming, support and logistics, artificial intelligence, the cyber and electromagnetic domain, and crucially – the people and skills required to lead and progress in all these areas.
Defence’s digital power was an important subject for the week. Panel discussions explored how we make the most of our data, the daily threats encountered in the cyber and electromagnetic domain, and how Defence is embracing the opportunities of artificial intelligence.
Our people are at the core of everything we do in Defence, and it is increasingly challenging to attract and retain talent, particularly those with digital, science and engineering skills. At DSEI 23, Strategic Command launched the digital bursary programme – an ambitious initiative offering financial incentives and development and mentoring opportunities for 16 to 18 year old STEM and digital students to support and encourage careers in Defence.
With this being the first DSEI since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, there was a significant focus throughout the event on what UK Defence is learning from this brutal conflict. Rear Admiral Andrew Betton, Director of Joint Warfare in Strategic Command, delivered a briefing on the lessons learning process and important insights from the war. The Surgeon General, Major General Timothy Hodgetts, also presented on insights from the conflict, focusing on how these are influencing Defence’s medical planning and training.
At the stand, Strategic Command displayed tangible examples of how wargaming supports decision making, as well as how Defence is expanding wargaming capability by launching a new Defence Wargaming Hub. With Strategic Command responsible for Defence’s global network, there were also important discussions on how we continue to integrate Defence’s people, places and technology around the globe.
Throughout the event, the strength of our partnerships was clear. The Strategic Command team welcomed international delegations for tours of the stand and bilateral discussions, while several roundtable discussions brought together partners from academia, industry, other government departments, and the media.
We will be at the next DSEI in 2025 to share more about how Strategic Command is sharpening Defence’s edge.
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