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  • Writer's pictureGlobal Military Communications

Defence leaders - Integrated responses to future threats: What was discussed

Hosted by DSEI Senior Defence Advisor Air Vice-Marshal (ret’d) Gary Waterfall, the second panel of the Defence Leaders series explored integrated responses to future threats and featured Shadow Defence Procurement Minister Khalid Mahmood MP and MakeUK CEO Stephen Phipson.

The panel took an in-depth look at what ‘multi-domain integration’ will mean for procurement, as well as the increased emphasis on the space and cyber domains. Khalid Mahmood MP stressed the importance of developing sovereign launch capability and ensuring that “industry is strong enough to adapt” will be imperative for a truly integrated approach. Air Vice-Marshal (ret’d) Waterfall commented: “The UK Cyber Security Centre published their stats and revealed a 20% increase in serious incidents. The threat in cyber and space domains is out there.”

Lessons learned from the pandemic, the current top threat, and institutionalising these into the defence industry was an area of focus as non-traditional suppliers are now embedded in the supply chain.

Stephen Phipson emphasised that agility in manufacturing, collaboration and “resilience built in our supply chains” are essential, with Khalid Mahmood MP adding that “companies that act, react and deliver” should be supported, including encouraging universities should get involved in a research stage to “get young people engaged”.

Looking at the UK’s place in the world, Khalid Mahmood MP added that investing in engineering and diversifying exports would further reinforce Britain’s position. This was echoed by Stephen Phipson who asserted that “government and industry have to work hand in hand. That’s how we become the second larger defence exporter in the world.”

Khalid Mahmood MP is a Labour Party politician who has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Birmingham Perry Barr since 2001, becoming the first Muslim MP in England. He was appointed as Shadow Europe Minister in October 2016 and was re-elected in 2017 and 2019 general elections. Mahmood was appointed Shadow Defence Procurement Minister by Keir Starmer in 2020.

Stephen Phipson, is the CEO of Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation. Stephen previously held the position of Head of the Defence and Security Organisation within the Department for International trade, delivering support to UK defence and security businesses seeking to export and develop joint ventures and partnerships overseas, as well as to overseas defence and security businesses seeking to invest in the UK. Prior to this Stephen held the position of Director for Security Industry Engagement within the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism at the Home Office. Stephen has spent 35 years in Industry and has held senior roles within the Electronics, Defence and Security industries.

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