Johns Hopkins APL Hosts a Pair of NATO Analysis Conferences

NATO officials convened recently at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, to discuss the security strategies, technologies and force structures that allied nations will need to adapt to evolving threats.

Nearly 200 analysts and policy experts met to consider strategies to quickly meet the challenges of today and tomorrow through scientific analysis of NATO’s operating methods. Attendees represented most NATO nations, along with four partner nations. In many ways, the discussions at APL during the 17th NATO Operations Research and Analysis Conference, conducted Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, and the 52nd NATO Science and Technology Organization System Analysis and Studies Panel, held Nov. 1-3, echoed the work conducted at the Lab daily.

“Today’s war is as much, if not more, about data, people and talents,” said French Gen. Philippe Lavigne, the NATO Command Transformation leader whose portfolio covers the work of both conferences.

“In a world where we are all operating under an avalanche of data, where resources are not without limit, we constantly require the provision of evidence-based advice to our political masters, so that they can take decisions at the speed of relevance,” Lavigne added.

James Miller, the Laboratory’s assistant director for policy and analysis, noted this unique opportunity for the Laboratory, as well as NATO, to deepen its collaboration and accelerate combined innovation.

“Ongoing conflicts across the globe remind us that we live in a dangerous world and that we must work together as allies to deter and, if necessary, defeat aggression,” Miller said in his remarks. He shared with the international audience that APL is keenly tuned in to the essential elements of modern national and global security. “APL’s more than 8,000 staff have one purpose: to deliver critical contributions to critical challenges,” he said.

The meetings marked the second time this year APL has hosted a delegation from NATO. In June, members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly toured the Laboratory during a visit to the Washington region. To address alliance security issues, NATO is considering adding new facilities to its network of centers for emerging and disruptive technologies as part of the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) program. DIANA’s goal is to foster the rapid advancement and adoption of emerging and disruptive technologies in NATO member countries. The Department of Defense nominated APL to be a NATO test center for the DIANA program.

The attendees also toured the state-of-the-art research laboratories to see the latest in emerging technologies. “APL leverages strategic analyses to inform future research directions,” said Andrew Merkle, APL’s mission area executive for Research and Exploratory Development, in his remarks. APL research has focused on targeted breakthroughs in intelligent systems, biology, alternative computing, power sources and materials for extreme environments.