Strategic Command’s “Now. Next. Future.” conference was held at Plexal in East London.

Commander UKStratCom delivering keynote speech

Commander UKStratCom delivering keynote speech at Now. Next. Future conference.

On 23 March 2023, Strategic Command hosted its annual External Conference at Plexal, East London. Titled ‘Now. Next. Future,’ the event saw experts from across Defence, Government, industry, academia, and our internal partners come together to explore how we address the immediate threats facing Defence.

The conference’s morning session involved a series of high-profile talks with Commander UKStratCom, General Jim Hockenhull, delivering the keynote. Also speaking in the morning sessions were personnel from across UKStratCom, as well as Lieutenant General Yngve Odlo, Chief of Norwegian Joint Operation and Christopher Ahlberg, Co-Founder and CEO of Recorded Future.

The afternoon sessions saw a number of panel discussions take place. The first, focussed on ‘the war for talent: attracting and retaining people’. was chaired by UKStratCom Non-Executive Member, Philippa Hird. This was followed by a panel on the subject of integration through digitisation chaired by UKStratCom Deputy Commander, Lieutenant General Tom Copinger-Symes.

The conference allowed for two important themes and major priorities of Strategic Command to be addressed – how we attract and retain the best talent, and how we better integrate across defence and with our government and internal partners through digitisation.

Speaking at the event, General Jim also emphasised the important of learning and adapting, not just as a Command, but also as an important element within Defence:

Our learning and adaption must be at the heart of how we do our business. If we cannot learn and adapt, then we are going to lose. My fear is that we often identify lots of lessons, but we very rarely pull them through into our organisation. Learning and adaption lessons ought not to be a thing which is done on the side of Defence, it ought to be at the heart of Defence.

He went onto express his pride in being Commander of Strategic Command and reiterated his passion for the work we do:

Strategic Command is crucial at generating greater integration for Defence and integration wins. That integration journey is very hard but I’m so proud of what we have at Strategic Command, which I view as being the jewels in the crown of Defence.

When you look at the Permanent Joint Headquarters, Defence Digital, Defence Intelligence, Special Forces, our Joint Force Development, our education, the National Cyber Force, Overseas Bases, and all of the things that we do – it is just an incredible array of capabilities, which do the most remarkable things. They help the nation stay safe, they help the nation prosper and our charge is to maximise the impact of all of that.

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Published 30 March 2023