NATO Defense Ministers Agree on the First-ever Strategy for AI

Defence ministers of Nato have agreed to the treaty’s first-ever strategy for AI on Thursday (21 October 2021).



Following the second day of the NATO defense ministerial conference in Brussels, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated that NATO allies have signed an agreement to establish the alliance’s first Innovation Fund. He stated that NATO’s innovation fund will guarantee that organizations do not miss out on the most cutting-edge technology and capabilities that are crucial for its security, reported Anadolu Agency. With approximately US$1 billion in funding from 17 NATO member states, the program will promote research and development on new and disruptive technologies. NATO defense ministers also approved the alliance’s first Artificial Intelligence Strategy, which establishes guidelines for the use of AI as per international law. 

Nato allies have prioritized AI as one of the seven technological areas concerning defense and security. According to Nato, the strategy briefs how AI technologies can be applied to defense and security in a ‘protected and ethical way’ and their use in a responsible manner in agreement with international law and Nato’s values. The strategy also addresses the threats associated with using AI and how to create a ‘trusted cooperation’.

The document emphasized the need for ‘collaboration and cooperation among members on matters relating to AI for ‘transatlantic defense and security.

Nato states that the organization’s principles have been developed based on the allied members’ approaches and associated work in ‘applicable international fora’.

The aim of the strategy is fourfold and includes laying a foundation for Nato and allies to encourage the development and use of AI for defense and security purposes, to accelerate and mainstream Artificial Intelligence adoption in capability development, to address AI-related security policy considerations, and safeguard against the threats from malicious AI use.

Lawfulness, responsibility and accountability, explainability and traceability, reliability, governability, and bias mitigation are the Nato Principles of ‘Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence in Defence’.

The strategy also outlines how AI can be applied to defense and security in a protected and ethical way. As such, it sets standards of responsible use of AI technologies, as per international law and NATO’s values. It also addresses the threats posed by the use of AI by adversaries and how to establish trusted cooperation with the innovation community on AI.

Artificial Intelligence is one of the seven technological areas which NATO Allies have prioritized for their relevance to defense and security. These include quantum-enabled technologies, data and computing, autonomy, biotechnology and human enhancements, hypersonic technologies, and space. Of all these dual-use technologies, Artificial Intelligence AI is known to be the most pervasive, especially when combined with others like big data, autonomy, or biotechnology. To address this complex challenge, NATO Defence Ministers also approved NATO’s first policy on data exploitation.

Individual strategies will be developed for all priority areas, following the same ethical approach as that adopted for Artificial Intelligence.


Russia suspends NATO mission

In retaliation to the expulsion of eight members of the Russian military alliance, Moscow declared disengagement from the intergovernmental military alliance on October 18, stating that the NATO Mission in Moscow’s accreditation will be revoked on November 1. It should be mentioned here that NATO’s practical operations with Russia were terminated in 2014 after Russia acquired Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. NATO is a military alliance that includes 28 European countries and two North American countries. The organization is responsible for carrying out the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed on April 4, 1949.