Weston-Super-Mare Officer Represents The Royal Navy

  • Author: BRNC
  • Date: Friday 29th March 2019
Weston-Super-Mare Officer Represents The Royal Navy

A 24-year-old Midshipman from Weston-super-Mare has represented the Royal Navy at an International Cadets Conference in Japan. 

Midshipman (Mid) Edward Hillman was selected to attend the long-standing event run by the National Defence Academy (NDA) of Japan during his initial naval training at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC).

Mid Hillman was one of 31 foreign cadets representing 21 nations from around the world who attended the five-day conference alongside approximately 2,000 NDA Cadets.

He said:  “The conference aims were to improve awareness of the challenges facing other countries; to encourage discussion about contemporary issues that are likely to affect future leaders and to build friendships between participants and NDA Cadets and improve cultural awareness.”

On the first day of the conference the delegates met with the president of the NDA, listened to a keynote speech by a senior officer in the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force and took part in competitive sports.  There then followed three days of briefings and discussions broken up by a day for a guided tour of the Tokyo area.

The theme of the conference was ‘To be Leaders’ and it addressed how changing demographics and emerging technologies will impact the conduct of military operations. There were four concurrent discussion sessions looking at: Leadership in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) era; Military Leadership and Space; Leadership challenges in multinational operations and approaches to diversity in the Military.

Mid Hillman said: “The conference opened with each representative briefing the NDA students and staff about the challenges facing their respective countries before breaking down into the discussion groups. I was assigned to the group discussing the impact of AI on militaries. During the group’s opening session, I gave a briefing on current and near-future developments in AI weapon systems being conducted in the UK to an audience of academic staff and NDA cadets. On the final day of the conference I took part in a debate over whether or not the future development of AI weapons should be regulated by international law, followed by a Q&A session with NDA Cadets about how military personnel may have to adapt in future to cope with the use of AI in warfare.” 

Having joined the Royal Navy in 2018 Mid Hillman is currently waiting to commence his training to become a Pilot. He chose the Royal Navy for the opportunity to learn to fly, to have a career that he could look back on with pride and for the opportunity to see the world.

Mid Hillman said:  “The conference was a fantastic experience, living and working alongside the NDA Cadets really gave me an appreciation for both the quality of the training there and of the Cadets themselves. The Japanese hospitality was superb throughout, with my hosts making me most welcome throughout my stay. The conference was a great opportunity for me to experience Japanese culture, getting to take part in the sports clubs at the NDA, try out the local food, and take part in a traditional tea-making ceremony. I was also extremely fortunate to spend time working with Cadets from Singapore, South Korea, Poland, Indonesia and the United States.”

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