Defence research and development (R&D) is a field of strategic significance in developing modern defence organisations as well as the entire national security sector. In knowledge-based societies, pursuit of state-of-the-art military capabilities, organisational innovation in the armed forces, sensible long-term management of security threats and risks or deeper integration with allies go hand in hand with investments in scientific research and effective use of their results.
The importance of this field is well acknowledged by NATO, which continuously calls its member states to devote at least 2% of their defence budgets to R&D programmes. So, today’s choices made in the national defence R&D strategy will have an impact on Estonia’s security and defence as well as its credibility within the Alliance 10-20 years down the road. The ICDS has completed a small study on general trends in this sector and on how several small NATO allies – Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands – think and go about their defence R&D, which will hopefully serve as a source of new ideas and will stimulate a debate on the merits and shortcomings of the approach adopted by Estonia.