Ministry of Defence publishes Artificial Intelligence Strategy

The Ministry of Defence has published its new Defence Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy, which sets out how it will adopt and exploit AI technologies, and become the world’s most effective, efficient, trusted and influential Defence organisation for its size in AI

The Ministry of Defence has published its new Defence Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy, which sets out how it will adopt and exploit AI technologies, and become the world’s most effective, efficient, trusted and influential Defence organisation for its size in AI.

The strategy and accompanying policy statement on the ‘Ambitious, Safe and Responsible’ use of AI underpin a new Defence AI Centre (DAIC), which will offer a hub to champion, enable and innovate these technologies across the UK Armed Forces.

Responding to the publication of the Strategy, techUK’s CEO Julian David said:

“techUK welcomes the release of the Defence AI Strategy and its ambition to make the Ministry of Defence the world’s most effective, efficient, trusted, and influential Defence organisation for its size in the field of AI. techUK is pleased to note that the Strategy prioritises research, development, and experimentation in AI to enhance the capabilities of our Armed Forces, and it’s commitment to the sustainable and responsible use of AI.

The publication of the Strategy, along with the £1.1bn uplift in Defence Research & Development investment over the next four years, presents a fantastic opportunity for the UK’s tech industry to assist in the implementation of the Strategy. AI technologies are fundamental to the UK’s national security, and techUK looks forward to working closely with the MOD as it moves forward to deliver on the Strategy’s commitments.”

The Strategy, formally launched by Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin at the London Tech Week AI Summit on 15 June, is built around four key tenets. These are:

  1. Effective: through the delivery of battle-winning capability and supporting functions, and in terms of the ability to collaborate and partner with the UK’s allies and AI ecosystem
  2. Efficient: through innovative use of technology to deliver capability, conduct operations, and realise productivity benefits across the MOD
  3. Trusted: by the public, by the MOD’s partners and by its people, for the safety and reliability of its AI systems, and a clear commitment to lawful and ethical AI use in line with its core values
  4. Influential: in terms of shaping the global development of AI technologies and managing AI-related issues to positive ends, working collaboratively and leading by example

The Strategy details four high-level objectives, along with the actions each involves. It also sets out the  priority outcomes for each and the governance model to oversee delivery of them. These are as follows:




  • Transform Defence into an ‘AI ready’ organisation
  • Upskilling leaders and workforce
  • Recruiting key talent
  • Addressing policy challenges
  • Modernising digital, data and technology enablers

Decision Advantage

  • Increase operational tempo and agility through better-informed and distributed decision-making and machine-speed responses to threats
  • Adopt and exploit AI at pace and scale for Defence advantage
  • Organise for success
  • Exploit near and long term opportunities
  • Systemic experimentation
  • Internal collaboration


  • Improve flexibility, productivity and availability through intelligent automation
  • Strengthen the UK’s Defence and Security AI ecosystem
  • Build confidence and clarify requirements
  • Address commercial barriers
  • Incentivise engagement and co-creation
  • Support business growth

Unlock New Capabilities

  • Secure operational advantage by developing novel ways to operate, deliver enhanced military effect and protect people from harm
  • Shape global AI developments to promote security, stability and democratic values
  • Champion responsible global AI development
  • Promote security and stability
  • Develop future security policy

Empower the Whole Force

  • Reduce burdens and focus human talents on higher value functions requiring ingenuity, contextual thinking and judgement


To govern the delivery of these objectives, the Strategy notes that there is no single owner of AI in Defence, with overall strategic coherence managed by the Defence AI and Autonomy Unit (DAU) and Defence AI Centre. The DAU sets strategic policy frameworks governing development adoption and use of AI. The DAIC is the focal point for AI R&D and technical issues. Governance is further outlined in the Strategy as follows:

  1. MOD Head Office: sets AI policy and strategy, defines capability targets, directs strategic programmes and ensures overall coherence
  2. Business Units/Functional Leads: pursue the forms of AI most relevant to them, guided by the AI Strategy and Head Office
  3. Strategic Command: Ensures strategic and operational integration across the warfighting domains

techUK has produced a longer summary of the Defence AI Strategy, which you can read here 

Announcing the Strategy, Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin, said:

“Future conflicts may be won or lost on the speed and efficacy of AI technology, and our approach to AI must be rapid, ambitious and comprehensive.

Our new Defence AI Centre (DAIC) and AI strategy will create a focused hub to champion these technologies, working ethically hand in hand with human judgements to maintain the UK’s position at the forefront of global security and responsible innovation.”

Link to original source 

Fred Sugden

Fred Sugden

Associate Director, Defence and National Security, techUK