October 22, Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas joined 16 NATO counterparts and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to officially launch a process for retaining and further enhancing the technological and innovative edge of NATO.
Ministers signed the Declaration of Intent for the NATO Innovation Fund agreeing to complete the negotiations on the NATO Innovation Fund activity, role and model of financing by the time of the NATO Summit in Madrid in 2022. The EUR 1 billion risk capital fund will aim at attracting investments of NATO member states, as well as the largest equity investment and technology companies.
The Fund will invest into promising start-ups in NATO member states, and help develop emerging technologies, such as AI, autonomous, quantum, hypersonic, bio-technologies, etc., and apply for security and defence purposes.
Establishment of the NATO Innovation Fund is a part of the larger technological NATO adaptation process – NATO adopted its Coherent Implementation Strategy on Emerging and Disruptive Technologies in 2021. NATO Defence Ministers will also agree to the first NATO Artificial Intelligence Strategy. Development of the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) began in 2022.
Lithuania has already taken the first steps of developing a friendly innovation ecosystem and attracting security and defence startups. The national Defence Investment Fund was established in 2021. Lithuania will seek to create favorable conditions to attract investment and mature new Lithuanian dual-use technologies and innovations while also seeking synergy with the NATO Innovation Fund and the developing NATO innovation ecosystem.