Trust me – how can 1.9 billion people be wrong

Justin Walker, Vice President of Digital Transformation

This is a summary of a speech given by Justin Walker, VP Digital Transformation at Thales in the UK, on ​​DVD22.

What challenges does the UK military face in its quest to modernize, digitize and ever-great Multi-Domain Integration (MDI)? They are the same challenges that our increasingly connected daily lives face (and have faced), in which a relentless desire for access to data has led to more streamlined activities and almost everything is available “on the go”.

Thales has a long-standing track record of providing vision, technical capability and services to the UK military, but now we have taken an even more proactive approach to driving and supporting digital transformation. All of the areas in the recent MOD Integrated Review that sought budget increases are linked to digital, including cyber and space.

Thales has anticipated the need to embrace digital technologies and understand what “digital transformation” will mean for UK MOD. We have all experienced this transformation in our lives. We have more control at our fingertips and more information that enables us to make informed decisions. But these powerful tools that support our lives have also opened up new vulnerabilities through fraud and cyber attacks, but commercial markets have already been forced to respond, developing and refining robust secure solutions that can be mass-marketed against global criminals Activities have been tested and nation states – something that at Thales we believe can be used to the advantage of the military.

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The rationale is that all civilian technologies and solutions used in the military are already developed and available and therefore represent great value. They are suitable for military requirements, especially for the challenge of increasing complexity. They offer fundamental resilience and confidence with a funded roadmap that is not dependent on defense budgets. They consist of solution components that are available to all and therefore avoid buyer lock-in. By putting our civilian technologies into the military, we are not creating an advantage for Thales, we are creating the potential for a military advantage in the UK.

In my view, the best example of this type of “usable” technology is personal digital identity, the kind we use every day with our banking apps on our smartphones – in fact, 1.9 billion people use their smartphones every day. The ability to access private, sensitive information from anywhere, from your phone or other device, is exactly the kind of technology the military needs to operate globally and increasingly in emerging new configurations like the “Ranger Regiment”. . Access to sensitive information requires trust in the way it is accessed and security in current and accurate data. In the world of banking apps on your phone, this is called Know Your Client (KYC) and consists of a series of automated procedures to verify a customer’s identity.

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Security is always an issue raised by the military when it comes to accessing information, but to put it in context, the same type of access in civilian life is achieved across multiple, uncontrolled infrastructures and devices — not even off one-stop military-style equipment – every second, every day for millions of users. Therefore, the military user is a much easier challenge in comparison.

When you log into your bank account from your phone, the software checks up to 2000 data points associated with your device and usage. All sorts of things are checked, your face, your password, your PIN, how you enter it, the device, your location, it can even detect if you are under duress. It verifies all of this before giving you a one-time pass of nearly unhackable code that expires once you exit that session. With the banks and their app providers in a constant war on fraud and hard targets when it comes to user experience, the software will continue to be better next week – they’re continually improving it, on the go, with no disruption to access or usage. The military has not been able to replicate this capability through any type of development program, much less rigorous and continuous testing and upgrades.

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Today, Thales would like to advocate the proactive use of non-defense technologies for defense. Most of this doesn’t need development; Hence the UK MOD can have it at marginal cost. For this reason, and to support the banking app’s digital identity function, we also offer easy-to-use cloud, communications privacy, encryption and key management solutions that can make your innovations secure, fast and efficient. As well as biometric solutions that can reduce friction on the job site, increase security and provide audit trails.

In this scenario, the benefits to the military are obvious, but the broader benefits of ever-closer parity between civilian technology and the military are driven by three undeniable dynamics:

  • Accelerating digital transformation
  • The demand for agility and speed
  • Budgets and best value for money