Accelerating Defense Innovation: Lessons from Silicon Wadi

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On October 20, the Atlantic Council’s Captains of Industry series hosted Mr. Raanan Horowitz, President and CEO of Elbit Systems of America, for an address entitled, “Accelerating Defense Innovation: Lessons from Silicon Wadi.” The event explored what practical lessons the United States can learn from Israel’s long tradition of commingling defense and commercial technologies, and how Elbit Systems in particular has been able to accelerate innovation by leveraging partnerships and dialogue with the United States’ and Israel’s technological hubs.

Moderated by the Atlantic Council’s M.A. and George Lund Fellow Steven Grundman, Mr. Horowitz’s comments also focused on how Israel’s unique geopolitical and social circumstances have laid the groundwork for an innovation ecosystem in Israel that is unparalleled in the world. By bringing together a population directly exposed to security threats and molded by a common experience of military service with a culture that encourages “out of the box thinking,” Israel has incubated companies whose leading impact is felt in sectors ranging from defense to biomedical technology. Although Mr. Horowitz cautioned that neither Silicon Wadi nor America’s Silicon Valley can be a panacea for all security challenges, a constructive partnership between tech innovators and defense planners may go a long ways to achieving an edge that will be critical for addressing the next generation of defense challenges.