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DEF UK is DEF’s first international chapter. It was launched in 2015 with the following mission: identify and engage a network of disruptive thinkers within the officer corps in order to develop bottom-up ideas that will improve delivery of defense. Although DEF UK is independent of the British military, it is hoped that the creation of a marketplace of ideas will improve how the military operates. The primary vehicle for DEF UK is informal meetings in which iconoclastic officers come together to debate, learn, network and have fun. These can either be small DEF agoras, which are generally evening meetings, or longer format DEFx conferences.


The DEF model is to encourage and support defense entrepreneurs on their innovation journey. The onus is on you. Get outside your day job and become an entrepreneur. Find a few fellow disruptive thinkers and start a DEF chapter. We’ve published a guide on how to get started here.


As agoras highlight topics for discussion, we will post them here.


Nov 2016 (Oxford). The Oxford chapter of DEF UK hosted an agora on the topic of cultural and linguistic fluency within the military. The agora discussed a proposal by Lt James Haw of the Australian Army (link here) with the British perspective provided by RAF intelligence personnel.

Feb 2016 (London) Image

Feb 2016 (London). The UK’s fourth Agora hosted US Army officer JP Clark, currently an exchange officer in the initiatives group of the British Army’s Chief of the General Staff. JP shared key insights from his upcoming book Preparing for War: Four Generations of the U.S. Army amid Peace, War, and Change, 1815-1917.

Nov 2015 (London) Image

Nov 2015 (London). The UK’s third Agora hosted Paul Kett, director of army reform at the MOD, who described his experiences with implementing change and overcoming bureaucratic and cultural resistance.

Oct 2015 (London) Image

Oct 2015 (London). The UK’s second Agora saw the exceptional Tantum Collins share his thoughts on Team of Teams, the book he co-wrote with retired general Stanley McChrystal. Team of Teams recounts how McChrystal reshaped JSOC into a more adaptable and agile organisation to combat Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQ-I)

Jun 2015 (Oxford) Image

Jun 2015 (Oxford). The first DEF event in the UK took place in Pembroke College, Oxford this month. The format was a DEF Agora, the small evening discussion. Retired brigadier Richard Iron shared the lessons of Iraq while James de Waal of Chatham House added the implications for civil-military relations in the UK. The discussion was joined by members of the army, navy and air force of both the US and UK, and was accompanied by wine, beer and — of course — pizza.