The NATO chief on Wednesday underlined the importance of the defense industry, saying: “Without the industry, there is no defense."
Jens Stoltenberg's remarks came during his address to the NATO-Industry Forum in Stockholm, marking the first time a NATO invitee nation hosted the forum.
While some investors "have the misguided idea that the defense industry is somehow 'unethical'" – there is "nothing unethical" about defending allies or helping Ukrainian soldiers to defend their country, Stoltenberg said.
"Indeed, without industry, there is no defense, no deterrence and no security," he said.
Noting that NATO’s relationship with industry has become more important than ever since Russia began its war last year, he said that many allies have “significantly depleted” their stocks in order to support Ukraine.
"Now we need to ramp up production to meet Ukraine’s needs, but also to strengthen our own deterrence and defense," the NATO chief said.
He also stressed the importance of cooperating with the private sector on innovation, saying: "NATO needs industry as we navigate a world shaped by disruptive new technologies."
Like the industrial revolution, technologies such as artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, biotechnology, and quantum physics are changing the nature of conflict, he said, adding: "We must constantly sharpen our technological edge by developing and adopting new technologies; cooperating with the private sector; shaping global standards; and embedding principles of responsible use that our democratic values enshrine."