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, Senior Research Fellow at the German Institute for Defence and Strategic Studies, 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

Joseph Verbovszky

Joseph Verbovszky is a PhD candidate at the the University of the Bundeswehr München As a DAIO Research Fellow he is responsible for the team's work on defense techno-industrial ecosystems. 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). 
Twitter: @warkhorse




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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