NATO Chief Scientist participates in 9th anniversary celebration of Croatia’s accession to NATO
On April 12, 2018, Dr. Thomas Killion, NATO Chief Scientist, participated in the yearly celebration of Croatia’s accession to NATO. This year’s ceremony, earmarking the ninth anniversary, took place at the Croatian National Parliament in Zagreb.
In addition to Dr. Killion, others speaking at the celebration included:
- Mr. Miroslav Tuđman, Head of the Croatian NATO Parliamentary Assembly Delegation
- General Mirko Šundov, Chief of General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces
- Mr. Vlado Galić, Adviser to the President for Defence and National Security, Envoy of the President of the Republic
- Mr. Damir Krstičević, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence
- Mr. Gordan Jandroković, Speaker of the Croatian Parliament
Dr Killion’s remarks addressed the relevance of science and technology (S&T) in helping to sustain the Alliance’s technological advantage in future operations. He highlighted the importance of technology in past operations, and provided a specific example of the impact of a pilot’s protective ensemble in contributing to aircrew survivability.
Looking forward, Dr. Killion highlighted two challenges. The first is the significant investment in advanced technologies being made by potential adversaries. The second is the proliferation of key technologies due to investments in the commercial sector in areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the internet of things (IoT), additive manufacturing (3D printing), synthetic biology, and mixed reality.
He emphasized that any hope of sustaining the technological advantage that we have enjoyed in the past depends upon the Alliance’s commitment to understand and leverage these rapidly evolving technologies through the development of innovative military concepts and systems. This requires the engagement of civilian scientists and engineers who understand the challenges of the operational environment, as well as having uniformed personnel with sufficient understanding of the technology to envision its military application(s). Within NATO, this engagement with the S&T community is supported in part by the activities of the Collaborative Programme of Work coordinated by the NATO S&T Organisation (STO), in which Croatia has become an active participant.
Finally, Dr. Killion highlighted the critical importance of supporting and expanding education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Encouraging young minds, who will be the innovators of the future, is the best guarantor of sustaining our technological advantage in the long term.