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Defence Committee launch Sub-Committee on AI in Defence

14 December 2023

The Defence Committee is today launching a Sub-Committee on Developing AI Capacity and Expertise in UK Defence, chaired by Emma Lewell-Buck MP. The Sub-Committee’s inquiry will ask how the Ministry of Defence (MOD) can ensure the UK defence sector has the capacity and expertise it needs to be a leader in defence artificial intelligence (AI).

The Sub-Committee will examine how the MOD can meet its aim, set out in the 2022 Defence AI Strategy, of strengthening the defence and security AI ecosystem. The Committee will consider how the MOD can best support the UK defence sector to reap the benefits of the growing importance of AI and champion UK tech to give the UK a competitive edge in AI development.

The inquiry will examine whether the MOD has clear priorities for the type of AI capacity the UK should have, and whether these are deliverable. The inquiry will also focus on UK industry, asking how the Government can help develop domestic engineering and software sectors and how UK AI companies can be embedded in defence supply chains, both domestically and internationally. The inquiry will take a look at AUKUS Pillar 2 and ask how the UK’s AI sector can be championed in this context.

The deadline for written evidence is Wednesday 17 January 2024.

Chair's comment

Sub-Committee on AI in Defence, Chair, Emma Lewell-Buck MP, said:

“Artificial Intelligence has the potential to revolutionise the defence and security landscape. The UK needs to be ready to seize the opportunities presented by this change. AI technology is developing rapidly – if we don’t move fast now, we risk falling behind.

“British companies have what it takes to pioneer the defence technologies of tomorrow. Our inquiry will explore what the MOD is doing to ensure the UK’s defence sector has the capacity and the expertise it needs to be a world leader in AI-enabled defence.

“Eighteen months on from the publication of the MOD’s Defence AI Strategy, our Sub-Committee will ask whether the MOD is translating ambition into action. We will engage experts and industry to find out how the MOD can spur on innovation and research, as well as embed UK AI companies into defence supply chains at home and abroad. This inquiry will also explore how the UK’s AI sector can benefit from Pillar 2 of AUKUS and its focus on advanced capabilities.”

The Committee welcomes written evidence on the following:

  • How clearly has the Ministry of Defence set out its priorities for the kind of AI capacity and expertise it believes the UK defence sector should have, what priorities has it identified, and are these deliverable?
  • What strengths and expertise does UK industry currently have in the field of Artificial Intelligence with defence applications?
  • How can the UK Government best develop capacity and expertise within domestic industry in sectors such as engineering and software to support the development and delivery of Artificial Intelligence applications in defence?
  • What can the Government do to help embed UK AI companies in defence supply chains, both domestically and internationally?
  • How can the UK Government ensure that it champions the UK AI sector in the context of Pillar 2 of the AUKUS Partnership?

Each submission should be no longer than 3,000 words and contain a brief introduction about the author. Submissions should be in malleable format such as MS Word (not PDFs) with no use of colour, logos or photos. Further guidance is available on our Written Evidence Guidance.

Further information

Image credit: Adobestock