Blog Post

March 25, 2022

Upskill to innovate: How a focus on personnel keeps defence on the front-foot

To meet unforeseen threats with agile solutions, maintaining a digitally-literate workforce is essential in modern defence. From encouraging innovation, to improving efficiency and autonomy, there are wide-ranging benefits to having digitally-confident personnel. The question remains, can we achieve this through training and culture alone?

Broad-shouldered, combative and diligent at following orders; all features we might use to describe the model military personnel of 1922. A century later and the picture looks profoundly different. Leading military powers are increasingly focused on how to achieve a technological edge and operational advantage against potential adversaries. Subsequently, the skillset of a modern defence worker has evolved rapidly, moving beyond only warfighting.

Defence today demands a huge diversity of skills - reflecting the increasingly vast scope of professions across the services. Though the Russian invasion of Ukraine shows conflict on the ground is far from obsolete, this by no means undermines the need for a shift in skill sets; indeed it seems the threats of ‘tomorrow’ are here today. Any measure of strategic advantage in today’s military forces depends on the availability and quality of the human-talent pipeline. Yet, there remains a limited pool of suitable recruits with the level of digital and data literacy required to foster the culture of innovation needed to tackle the threats of the modern world.

Without dedicated processes to attract and upskill a mix of human talent, the risk of innovation stalling against the threats of tomorrow is staggering. In recent years, the drive to incorporate a range of professionals - from coders, to programmers, to inventors - into the military has proved essential. However it continues to be clear that this culture of recruitment, training and innovation is required at pace should it prove a successful solution.

Morgan Long

“The word disruption was quite negative in the military… I shout from the rafters at every opportunity that you need people in the room, particularly with senior people, who are prepared to come up and say: “actually, have you thought about doing that in a slightly different manner”


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Gabriel Furey

Former Team Member

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