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British Army’s digital vision of the future is unveiled

The British Army has released its Army Digital and Data Plan (ADDP) that sets out how it will deliver its vision of a data centric and digital optimised Army that will out-think and out-pace its adversaries

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The plan was unveiled to industry and academia by the Chief of the General Staff (CGS) General Sir Patrick Sanders at the British Army Digital and Data Conference (organised in conjunction with Chief Disruptor) in London on the 18 April.

The ADDP is derived from the Defence Command Plan Digital Strategy for Defence which highlighted the need for Defence to become digital. It sets out the activities that will be undertaken to become world leading in exploiting data and help create a modernised digital Army that will improve warfighting effectiveness by 2025.

The modern battlespace is more complex than ever before and the commanders and troops in the field need access to fast and secure data to win the fight of the future.

The plan explains key concepts and lays out the framework to achieve three outcomes – a more competitive Army, modernised processes and enhanced enabling resource.

Programme THEIA, the Army’s digital transformation programme, is the engine for the plan. It will guide and coordinate and build on the transformations already underway.

Collective action with industry, allies and academia will play a key part in delivering the plan. Those who attended the launch event contributed to a series of workshops that included discussions on accessible and assured data and information and increased digital resilience.

The power of data and its management will be fundamental to the Army’s future success. The ability to make data driven decisions in real time will give a competitive advantage and increase security and resilience.

A partnership approach with industry will be critical to obtain leading edge technical skills, advanced technology platforms and tools and innovative solutions which will enhance operational success.

The Chief of the General Staff General Sir Patrick Sanders said: “To remain competitive the British Army must capitalise on the most recent advances in data and digital technology. This is not just the business of specialists, our ability to exploit data, compete and protect ourselves in the electromagnetic spectrum is the responsibility of the whole force.”

Processes which are being digitalised will not simply replicate the analogue version, they will be re-imagined ensuring technology is used to best effect.

This is not just about harnessing new technologies, it’s also about developing personnel. The Army’s people are vital and drive success on and off the battlefield.

Soldiers will be trained and upskilled as part of their basic training to become more digitally minded and effectively manage and exploit the digital technology and data. Some personnel will be specialists who will have the skills to find, critique, analyse and interpret data.

The British Army’s Director of Information, Major General John Collyer set out the challenge. “This is about pace, tempo, reach, lethality and understanding – increasingly at machine speed. Delivering against this requirement needs us to break any number of stubborn paradigms; how we partner, where we take risk, how we acquire new capabilities and how we up skill our people. Getting this right is not discretionary and our operational and tactical fortunes are mortgaged on this – now and in the future.”

Data will become our second most important asset behind our people. It is our people who are the Army, that will benefit from the transportation to a digitalised data-centric Army.

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