The defence industry - a
where the experts come to talk
This month in
NATO Review
The defence industry - a changing game?
The defence industry has a new area it needs to defend - itself. With budgets low or falling in many places, with several new entrants into the market, and with a whole new array of non-traditional threats to guard against, 'business as usual' in the defence industry is under attack on several fronts. Can the industry adapt to survive? NATO Review finds out.
Coming up next in
NATO Review
On the move?
Optimized for
Smartphone and PDA
Football and the defence sector have a lot in common. For example, they both need a strong defence, potent attacks and a capable captain organising everything. NATO Review tries to show how recent changes in the defence industry would look if they were played out on the football pitch.
Getting a new defence product to market takes up to 10 years. So what do industry leaders feel we should be worrying about now? We ask six senior company representatives to reveal where they see the biggest threats developing.
How many million jobs depend on defence in NATO countries? And how many could be cut due to defence cuts? NATO Review looks at some of the figures illustrating the importance of the defence industry not for security, but for the economy.
Imagine being a shop owner and a group of 28 people walks in. How do you clarify one single order for everyone? This can be the challenge for both NATO and industry when dealing together. We ask industry leaders how they see the relationship, what can be done to improve it and how Smart Defence may make a difference.
Defence companies from the EU and US have clear barriers between them. Though companies from either side of the Atlantic work together, this often despite their countries being Allies, not because of it. But new trade initiatives should bring the two major markets closer together. Could this improve defence collaboration - and benefit western countries and NATO?
New to NATO Review?

Ask a couple of people: 'What does Nokia make?' Most will probably answer: mobile phones. Few - likely none - will respond that Nokia started as a paper company, moved on to making rubber products like tyres, branched out into electronics and only in the 1960s started making phones - including radio telephones for the Finnish army. Even after that, Nokia's computer and TV products were often bigger business than their telephones.

Ask a couple of people: 'What does Nokia make?' Most will probably answer: mobile phones.

Few - likely none - will respond that Nokia started as a paper company, moved on to making rubber products like tyres, branched out into electronics and only in the 1960s started making phones - including radio telephones for the Finnish army.

Even after that, Nokia's computer and TV products were often bigger business than their telephones.

Adaptability to changing environments and demands is exactly what the defence industry needs now. Squeezed by a drop off in both defence budgets and major conflicts, its captains know that 'business as usual' is taking a big risk.

Some have already said they expect the number of defence companies to shrink. The more confident ones even welcome this.

But most are scrambling to adapt to a situation which sees most Western - read NATO - countries facing austerity at home and a reticence to engage in large scale conflicts abroad.

Emerging markets could provide one solution. But customers in those countries know they hold the upper hand in a buyer's market. Their demands on price, jobs, technology transfer and intellectual property are much higher than in the past.

Another route to survival is catering to emerging threats. The main one that has attracted most defence companies is cyber. But this remains a low margin activity compared to the massive hardware orders defence companies are used to.

New situations require new approaches. And this is where NATO may have a role. Collaboration in planning hardware purchases remains patchy among Western countries. Nearly all decisions are taken at purely national level. Could NATO - with its Smart Defence programme - bring nations together to make a real difference to how capabilities are planned and bought? And how would that be seen by industry?

These are some of the questions we address in this edition of NATO Review. We also look at how divisions between the industries either side of the Atlantic remain an obstacle and ask industry leaders to tell us what they feel will be the threats - and the means to tackle them - in the next 10 years. Finally, we have a video of an out of shape man trying football tricks to explain what changes have happened in the industry recently...

Ultimately, this all boils down to adaptability. And Nokia knows all about that. But in September 2013, the 150 year old company was bought by Microsoft. There's a lesson in there somewhere.

Paul King

quotes
George Bernard Shaw
Newsletter
Make sure you don't miss a thing
Those who cannot change their minds
cannot change anything.
About NATO Review
Go to
NATO A to Z
NATO Multimedia Library
NATO Channel
Share this
Facebook
Facebook
Twitter
Twitter
Delicious
Delicious
Google Buzz
Google Buzz
diggIt
Digg It
RSS
RSS
You Tube
You Tube