MilTech and the Modernising Defence Programme

Modernising Defence Programme Announcement

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson MP announced the creation of the Modernising Defence Programme (MDP) inquiry to Parliament in January 2018. The MDP separated out from the National Security Capability Review (NSCR)1 and its scope covers 4 key strands of defence capability. Three of the strands are reviewing “organisation, efficiency management and business and commercial practices in the Ministry of Defence (MoD).”2 The forth strand is reviewing the structure of UK military forces. What are the emerging recommendations and areas of opportunity for MilTech innovators? Continue reading “MilTech and the Modernising Defence Programme”

Project Maven, Google and the power of conscientious objection

Prussian military strategist Carl von Clausewitz is famed for his aphorism “war is the continuation of politics by other means.” The succinct insightfulness of his expression is elegant. And yet, the way we think about war, power, ethics and morality seems to be shifting, not through evolutionary or revolutionary political thought, but rather through unprecedented technological advance, particularly in synthetic intelligence and learning. As Google withdraws from Project Maven, what next for AI, ethics and conscientious objection? Continue reading “Project Maven, Google and the power of conscientious objection”

Neo-Nazi Scottish Dawn proscribed along with NS131

On October 6th, an update was published to the list of terrorist organisations proscribed under UK law (U.K. Government 2017b). A notable inclusion (Ibid, p. 15) reflects the government order laid before Parliament at the end of September (U.K. Government 2017a) linking Scottish Dawn and NS131 (National Socialist Anti-capitalist Action) with the right-wing extremist group National Action, itself proscribed in December 2016 (The Telegraph 2017). Continue reading “Neo-Nazi Scottish Dawn proscribed along with NS131”

Hugh Hefner and Marilyn Monroe, feminism and security debates

Hugh Hefner’s Death

The death of Playboy mogul, Hugh Hefner has resurfaced interesting debates about female exploitation, sexual revolution and shifting social norms. The feminist sex wars (from the mid-1970’s onward) highlighted key differences in the ideologies of leading feminist thinkers, in particular, varying perspectives on pornography and the sex industry. Discourse in relation to Hugh Hefner’s legacy highlights that the ‘liberation’ versus ‘exploitation’ narratives remain contested. Hefner seems decidedly anachronistic, but in expanding debate, can we go further and construct thinking tools to help examine the female role in conflict, statecraft, intelligence and counter-terrorism? Does feminism, as a critical theory, provide a suitably coherent framework to help develop simple and useful analytical lenses? Continue reading “Hugh Hefner and Marilyn Monroe, feminism and security debates”

Eclectic Perspective: From ABZ Planning to Fictional French Philosophers

This week, I begin with a number of book recommendations, the first of which is the Start-up of You (2013) by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha which claims:

The career escalator is jammed at every level. Unemployment rates are sky-high. Creative disruption is shaking every industry. Global competition for jobs is fierce. The employer-employee pact is over and traditional job security is a thing of the past.

Continue reading “Eclectic Perspective: From ABZ Planning to Fictional French Philosophers”