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The Shift to a Partnership Approach in Defence and Security

  • by: Jenna Beard
  • On: 3, Aug 2022
4 min read

Defence and security teams haven’t always worked with partnerships in mind. In the past, organisations and businesses wanted to prove they didn’t need any help, that they could handle any situation by themselves.

Relationships were strictly transactional, or actively competitive. But a partnership approach brings several benefits that are becoming harder and harder to deny in a world that is growing more connected every day.

Working together helps keep everyone safer, allowing for a more effective and united response to any and all kinds of threats. In recent years, as threats become more diverse, there are many examples of governments, manufacturers, and private defence businesses partnering together for better security. This helps them, their clients, and the general public.

 Why the defence sector has switched to a partnership approach

There are common problems all over the world, and when defence organisations and companies come together, they share their resources, expertise, and experiences to overcome them in ways they might not be able to by themselves.

We’re stronger together, and partnerships allow different countries and other organisations the ability to adapt to more threats by sharing resources and intelligence.

The UK has recently strengthened its military partnership with Australia, with a £25 million package to support security in the Indo-Pacific region, focusing on maritime threats and cybersecurity.

Last year, the UK, USA, and Australia formed a defence partnership called AUKUS, a good example of how partnerships can benefit different countries with different concerns, resources, and priorities.

The most immediate benefit for Australia is the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy. Australia had been trying to upgrade and replace their current fleet of submarines for over a decade, and joining this partnership allows them to finally get a modern fleet.

What do the UK and US get out of this partnership? A strengthened western presence in the region may help deter China from expanding its influence. But they can also share intelligence, new strategies and tactics, and can help train or practice to ensure best performance in a variety of scenarios.

But it’s not just politics, there are other advantages to partnerships that can have a big impact across the entire defence sector.

The UK and Australia have teamed up on a new composite materials development competition, awarding teams from both countries additional funding. This will go towards research into new composites, adhesives, and improving armour systems. The UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and Australia’s DST Group assessed the competition together, and will share results when new technology is developed. The programme is funded by the Australian Next Generation Technologies Fund and the UK Ministry of Defence Materials for Strategic Advantage programme. This shows how partnerships can help develop the next generation of materials and technology, with information being shared freely between two powers.

Benefits of partnerships in defence

 Shared intelligence

The most immediate benefit of partnerships when it comes to defence and security is shared intelligence. If you don’t know what potential threats are, or where they’re coming from, you can’t defend against them.

 If there’s a missing link in your intel, a partner organisation may have access to information you don’t, or can help get more accurate reports of an ongoing situation.

Faster response times

 No military or security force can be everywhere at once. When it comes to physical deployment, partnerships allow for rapid response and insertion of agents on the ground.

This is shown best when local and national or international law enforcement work together, able to operate across a wider area, working in tandem to search or defend a location far greater than any one organisation could.

More flexible and resilient options

 Another benefit of having defence partnerships is it allows you more options when it comes to how you operate. Who do you send, where, and why? Are there other agents in the area, does your partner have access to hardware you don’t have?

Partnerships allow for new strategies, which can be incredibly helpful if bad actors have come to expect certain tactics. 

It’s clear there are many benefits to defence partnerships. As new threats continue to develop, hopefully more agencies, businesses, and governments will come together to co-operate and share resources, to help keep us safe.


Read about the future of cyber warfare, or learn why the future of combat may be non-nuclear.

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