Last week, the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), in cooperation with NATO partners, and Brave1, the Ukrainian Government’s defense technology cluster, co-hosted the forum Ukraine and the Future of Unmanned Aerial Systems in Warsaw, Poland. Senior leaders from DIU and Ukraine, including. Doug Beck, DIU Director, Oleksander Kamyshin, Minister for Strategic Industries, and Yegor Dubinsky, Deputy Minister for Digital Transformation, led the forum to discuss the most pressing issues facing drones and Ukraine today. A mix of more than 200 European, Ukrainian and U.S. attendees, representing industry, investors, governments and nonprofits, participated in the two-day event, which enabled a broad discussion of issues from the challenges on the battlefield to pathways for delivering technologies to developing strategic industries.
“The event became a real breakthrough in the defense and innovation cooperation of partner countries,” said Yegor Dubinsky, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Digital Transformation, Government of Ukraine. “It led to a range of activities, from a joint search for UAS solutions, review of organizational and regulatory problems, to an outline for public-private and international partnership. It gave all participants an understanding of the current situation and needs, and provided a road map of cooperation for the near future.”
This event was the beginning of a new approach by DIU. It sought to gather public-private stakeholders and international partners who are directly involved in UAS activities and would contribute in sharing lessons learned, providing feedback, reducing barriers, and establishing more efficient pathways to get emerging technology to the frontlines. The forum served as a model for positive and constructive collaboration on future urgent operational challenges.
Sergiy Koshman, Head of International Partnerships and Cooperation at Brave1 said, “In order to address our operational demands and stay at the forefront of innovation, it's essential for us to adopt a flexible approach in communication and ensure alignment among our multiple stakeholders and partners. This gathering has successfully demonstrated our ability to establish a swift, adaptable, and efficient communication channels to deal with the critical aspects of UAS requirements. I'm thankful to our partners at DIU for their constructive and agile approach. As BRAVE1, we are eager to further strengthen and expand our cooperation."
By involving the perspective from across sectors - to include the start-up and emerging tech communities - it brought together a broader perspective on the operational requirements and established a different engagement method. “The forum in Warsaw established a new norm of cooperation and collaboration, and we look forward to leading future events that directly weave together problem framing and feedback with our key partners and stakeholders. It not only provides better insight, but also gives governments, international partners, and industry real-time feedback at the point of need,” said Glenn McCartan, U.S European Command lead for DIU.