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 military 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 and soldiers 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. Email us at for more information, or download our DEF UK agora guide.

DEF UK is run by current and former British military officers:

Blog: DEF UK
Twitter: @uk_DEF

British Army Intrapreneurs Network (BrAIN) — DEF UK in the British Army:
Twitter: @BrAIN_Army
Web: BrAIN


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


Sep 2017 (Oxford) [blog link]. The Oxford chapter hosted an agora on the need for iconic projects in defence, featuring:

Nick Colosimo, strategy executive and global engineering fellow at BAE Systems

Simon Harwood, director of defence and security at Cranfield University

Mick Mansell, retired director of future systems and concepts at BAE Systems

Jul 2017 (London) [blog link]. Keith and Neill briefed the RAF’s annual Air Power Conference on DEF and Hacking 4 Defense.

Jul 2017 (Sandhurst) [blog link]. BrAIN organised an agora featuring War on the Rocks founder Ryan Evans. Ryan passed on his guidelines for getting published in his site, and also challenged serving UK personnel to write more.

May 2017 (Oxford) [blog link]. The Oxford chapter organised an agora on hardware hacking. The event was hosted by Cyan Collier, director of digital innovations at Incuna, and featured an opportunity for attendees to undertake some practical prototyping.

Mar 2017 (Oxford). The Oxford chapter of DEF UK hosted an agora called “Thinking the Unthinkable”, covering war with Russia. The agora started with briefings on three potential flashpoints, and was followed by map-table discussions of critical factors and implications of two of them. Speakers included:

Roy Allison, Professor of Russian and Eurasian International Relations & Director, Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre, St. Antony’s College, Oxford (covering the Black Sea flashpoint)

Capt Justin Orlich (USN), currently at St. Antony’s researching Russian intervention operations – (covering the Baltics flashpoint)

Charly Salonious-Pasternak, Senior Research Fellows at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs in Helsinki, currently on leave at Pembroke College and attached to the Changing Character of War Programme at DPIR (covering the Scandinavian flashpoint)

The event was organised by Ens Dan Antoun (USN).

Nov 2016 (Oxford) [blog link]. 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). 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). 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) [blog link]. 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) [blog link]. 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.