We monitor and analyze the use of artificial intelligence by armed forces

DAIO Gefechtsfeldskizze


About the Defense AI Observatory

The Defense AI Observatory (DAIO) at the Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg monitors and analyzes the use of artificial intelligence by armed forces. DAIO comprises three interrelated work streams:

  • Culture, concept development, and organizational transformation in the context of military innovation
  • Current and future conflict pictures, conflict dynamics, and operational experience, especially related to the use of emerging technologies
  • Defense industrial dynamics with a particular focus on the impact of emerging technologies on the nature and character of techno-industrial ecosystems

DAIO is an integral element of GhostPlay, a capability and technology development project for concept-driven and AI-enhanced defense decision-making in support of fast-paced defense operations. GhostPlay is funded by the Center for Digital and Technology Research of the German Bundeswehr (dtec.bw)



Prof. Dr. Gary Schaal

Prof. Dr. Gary Schaal is head of GhostPlay and leads the DAIO team. He holds the chair in political science, in particular political theory at the Helmut-Schmidt-University. He is co-director of the German Institute for Defence and Strategic Studies and leads an interdisciplinary research network on maritime security. He has studies political science, German philology, and philosophy at the FU Berlin.

Dr. Heiko Borchert

Dr. Heiko Borchert is DAIO's co-director, Associate Fellow at the Center for Advanced Security, Strategic and Integration Studies, Bonn, and runs a strategic affairs consulting boutique. He studied international relations, business administration, economics, and law at the University of St. Gallen, where he also got his Ph.D.
Twitter: @HeikoBorchert

Torben Schütz

Torben Schütz is a PhD candidate at the Helmut-Schmidt-University and Associate Fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). As a DAIO Research Fellow he is in charge of the team's work on conflict pictures and conflict dynamics. Torben Schütz has worked for the German Council on Foreign Relations and the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik/German Institute for International and Security Affairs. He holds a master’s degree in political science from Leibniz University Hannover.
Twitter: @_schuetzt

Dr. Joseph Verbovszky

Dr. Joseph Verbovszky is DAIO's Research Fellow for defense technology-industrial affairs. Before joining DAIO, he worked in the areas of international coordination and strategic analysis at different defense companies. He holds a master’s degree in international relations and economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He graduated with a PhD on German Structural Pacifism from the University of the Bundeswehr München
Twitter: @warkhorse




DAIO Study 24|25

Heavy Thunder, No Rain

Defense AI in Iran

Mahmoud Javadi

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DAIO Study 24|24

Intelligent National Defense Amid Strategic Ambiguity?

Defense AI in Taiwan

Kitsch Liao 2024

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DAIO Study 24|23

Overcoming the Long Shadow of the Past

Defense AI in Japan

Motohiro Tsuchiya 2024

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DAIO Study 24|22

Survival of the Smartest?

Defense AI in Ukraine

Vitaliy Goncharuk 2024

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DAIO Study 24|21

Will the One Ring Hold?

Defense AI in South Korea

Youngwook Park 2024

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DAIO Study 23|20

Caught Between Today and Tomorrow

Defence AI in Estonia

Tomas Jermalavičius 2023

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DAIO Study 23|19

Harnessing the Potential

Defense AI in Greece

Nikolaos Karampekios, Konstantinos Sakalis, and Iraklis Oikonomou 2023

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DAIO Study 23|18

Servers Before Tanks?

Defence AI in Denmark

Andreas Graae 2023

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DAIO Study 23|17

A Winding Road Before Scaling-Up?

Defense AI in France

Kévin Martin and Lucie Liversain 2023

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DAIO Study 23|16

Cautious Data-Driven Evolution

Defense AI in Finland

Sami O. Järvinen 2023

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DAIO Study 23|15

Embracing the Organized Mess

Defense AI in Israel

Inbar Dolinko and Liran Antebi 2023

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DAIO Study 23|14

A Fertile Soil for AI?

Defense AI in Sweden

Alastair Finlan 2023

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DAIO Study 23|13

“Overtaking on the Curve?”

Defense AI in China

John Lee 2023

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DAIO Study 23|12

Master and ­Servant

Defense AI in Germany

Heiko Borchert, Torben Schütz, Joseph Verbovszky 2023

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DAIO Study 23|11

High Hopes Amid Hard Realities

Defense AI in Russia

Katarzyna Zysk 2023

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DAIO Study 23|10

How AI Learns the Bundeswehr’s “Innere Führung”

Value-Based Engineering with IEEE7000™-2021

Yvonne Hofstetter and Joseph Verbovszky 2023

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DAIO Study 23|09

When the Teeth Eat the Tail

A Review of Canada’s Defence Artificial Intelligence

Robert C. Engen 2023

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DAIO Study 23|08

Enabling Technology of Future Warfare

Turkey’s Approach to Defense AI

Çağlar Kurç 2023

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DAIO Study 23|07

Risky Incrementalism

Defense AI in the United States

Lauren A. Kahn 2023

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DAIO Study 22|06

Wie KI Innere Führung lernt

Wertebasierte Technik mit IEEE7000™-2021

Yvonne Hofstetter 2022

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DAIO Study 22|05

Exploring the Benefits of a New Force Enabler

Defense AI in Italy

Andrea Gilli, Mauro Gilli, and Ivan Zaccagnini 2022

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DAIP Study 2204

DAIO Study 22|04

Bright Prospects –
Big Challenges

Defence AI in the United Kingdom

Kenneth Payne 2022

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DAIO Study 22|03

Free Jazz on the Battlefield

How GhostPlay’s AI Approach Enhances Air Defense

Heiko Borchert, Christian Brandlhuber, Armin Brandstetter, Gary S. Schaal 2022

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DAIO Study 22|02

Evolution not Revolution

Australia’s Defence AI Pathway

Peter Layton 2022

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DAIO Study 21|01

Beware the Hype

What Military Conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, and N­agorno-Karabakh (Don’t) Tell Us About the Future of War

Heiko Borchert, Torben Schütz, Joseph Verbovszky

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External Publications






Defense AI Observatory
Prof. Dr. Gary Schaal
Chair of Political Theory
Helmut Schmidt University
Holstenhofweg 85, 22043 Hamburg
+49 40 6541 2776

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