Tech innovation: the potential for startup-government collaboration

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General Sir Gordon Messenger and Surevine founder and CEO Stuart Murdoch in conversation with Clifford Chance counsel Josh Fitzhugh.

There is a major divide between the tech industry and the armed forces. In 2018 Google, for example, ended an artificial intelligence project for the Pentagon. This divide is troubling, because governments rely on the tech industry for innovative solutions to a wide range of national security threats.

How can the tech industry – especially startups – and governments better cooperate  in national security? General Sir Gordon Messenger, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff until 2019, will discuss this issue with Stuart Murdoch, founder and CEO of the tech firm Surevine; and Clifford Chance counsel Josh Fitzhugh.



General Sir Gordon Messenger joined the Royal Marines in 1983. After a range of junior officer appointments, predominantly in regimental service, he attended the Canadian Staff College in 1994. After staff positions in the UK Ministry of Defence and Royal Marines Headquarters he was appointed Chief of Staff to 3 Commando Brigade, a tour that included an operational deployment to Kosovo. From 2001 to 2003 he commanded 40 Commando, which included operational deployments to Afghanistan and Op Telic 1, the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Between 2016 and 2019 he was Vice Chief of the Defence Staff.

Stuart Murdoch is Founder and CEO of Surevine, a leading cyber security company that specialises in smart and secure collaboration technology for the national, homeland and cyber-security domain. He is a chartered engineer with a BSc in Computer Science from Royal Holloway and MSc in Computing from Imperial College, London. Stuart is also a guest lecturer at the University of Surrey, a professional member of the British Computer Society, a member of the IoD (Institute of Directors) and a Liveryman at the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.

Josh Fitzhugh is a national security lawyer with more than twenty years of experience in private practice, in-house executive and government positions.  Over the course of his career Josh has advised extensively on defence technology regulations, including export controls, investment controls and international sanctions law in the United States, Europe, Middle East and Asia.  Prior to joining Clifford Chance, Josh served as VP & Group Head of Trade Controls for BAE Systems plc in London, where he was responsible for managing global trade controls, including export controls, sanctions and trade compliance for all BAE Systems divisions not subject to US classified program arrangements.



Please note that this is an invitation-only event.

Tea, coffee and pastries will be available from 08:15.

For any questions regarding this event, please contact Allana Howard, Venue and Events Manager,

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