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NATO Eyes 2023 Launch of Defense Tech Accelerator; David van Weel Quoted

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David van Weel
David van Weel Assistant Secretary General for NATO

NATO hopes to introduce a defense technology accelerator that will enable the alliance to work with academia, private sector and nongovernmental organizations to expedite trans-Atlantic collaboration on emerging technologies, C4ISRNET reported Tuesday.

David van Weel, assistant secretary-general for emerging security challenges at NATO, said the alliance intends to have the initial components of the Defence Innovation Accelerator of the North Atlantic (DIANA) set up by 2022 and expects the accelerator to achieve initial operating capability by 2023.

He noted that DIANA will focus on defense and national security and will have headquarters in Europe and North America that will work with test centers across member countries to co-design, validate and test applications in the areas of emerging and disruptive technologies.

DIANA will build and oversee a network that will help startups advance growth initiatives and support the alliance’s technology needs through grant programs. 

Van Weel said the accelerator will support the development of seven emerging and disruptive technologies: artificial intelligence; quantum-enabled technologies; big data processing; hypersonics; biotechnology; space and autonomy.

DIANA will also enable small businesses to connect with pre-qualified investors through a trusted capital marketplace. Van Weel said NATO will work to protect technologies from “illicit transfers” by screening investors ahead of time.

NATO will also back companies working on dual-use technologies through a venture capital fund and van Weel said the NATO Innovation Fund would be underwritten by approximately $83 million on an annual basis and would run for about 15 years.