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Veteran 'Boot Camps' Among Defence Innovation Recommendations

Another suggestion is to use military facilities in the UK to allow new products to be developed and tested.

Intensive "boot camps" for forces veterans are among a series of proposals to train former personnel to become entrepreneurs.

It is from a manifesto published by think tank the Centre for Entrepreneurs (CFE) looking at the future of defence innovation.

The CFE suggests an "intensive, multi-day entrepreneurship boot camp targeting service leavers" would give veterans the skills needed to start their own business.

Another of its recommendations is to use military facilities in the UK to allow new products to be developed and tested, in order to boost engagement between creators and the Armed Forces.

Chairman of the New Entrepreneurs Foundation Oliver Pawle is quoted in the manifesto saying:

"Entrepreneurs comes in all shapes and sizes, but they most certainly include former service personnel.

Royal Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel Steel Cutting

"Ambitious service leavers could build the next generation of defence and security startups, but too often we don’t make the most of their potential when they retire.

"The insight of ex-forces in matters of defence and security give them a real edge.

"In defence, the problem isn’t in finding new technologies nor in buying them; rather, it is in our service personnel actually getting their hands on them."

Defence Select Committee member Johnny Mercer MP says he hopes the Ministry of Defence implements the recommendations in the manifesto:

"Innovation should be like everything else in the military: part of the battle rhythm that makes us one of the greatest fighting forces in the world."

The CFE's other recommendations include revamping the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) to provide more support to new defence businesses, creating a 'military entrepreneurship hub' - a shared facility to work and develop ideas with others, and to expand an innovation model where military technologies can be piloted.

The manifesto's release comes as a separate report revealed the defence industry is worth £22 billion to the UK economy every year.

The independent study was commissioned by the Defence Secretary and carried out by former Defence Minister Philip Dunne.