Partnership for Peace Consortium
Approximately 20 experts from nine countries participated in the first Partnership for Peace Consortium for Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes’ Emerging Security Challenges Working Group workshop at the NATO Defense College in Rome March 12 and 13.
Representatives from Canada, Germany, India, Poland, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Turkey and Sweden took part in the workshop.
Dealing with emerging technologies and their possible impacts on international security were the key focus throughout the discussions of the workshop. Other topics included securitization of technology; what policy makers need to know when considering emerging security challenges; strategic security trends and futures analyses; and others. The group will concentrate on discussing policy implications at the next workshop this summer.
In Rome, this first workshop was aimed at establishing criteria to understand and categorize emerging security challenges and their possible effects on security in our societies, said Sean Costigan, working group senior advisor. This was the first step to begin the dialogue and work – to set the stage.
Areas of expertise represented at the workshop included professionals in the areas of science and technology/cyber, intelligence, defense studies and policy making, political advisors, researchers, and representatives from peace institutions and other security studies institutes, as well as NATO.
“Emerging security challenges include a broad range of issues cross-cutting multiple domains including geopolitics, economics, society, environment and technology,” said Dr. Raphael Perl, PfPC executive director. “The expert composition of this workshop was designed, in part, to approach emerging security challenges holistically with an eye to identifying, prioritizing and better understanding them. Within this context, our experts have much to offer.”
Michael Edward Walsh, director of the Emerging Technologies and High-End Threats Project at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, D.C., and working group participant thought the development of the new working group was progress. “While emerging technology topics like cyber security, nanotechnology, and space warfare are increasingly prevalent in international security discourse, there remains a severe under-theorization of the emerging security space,” he said. “It therefore is a welcomed development that NATO and the PfPC have taken the initiative to redress this shortcoming and convene a group of experts with the cross-domain subject expertise to tackle this challenge.”
Working group participant Chris Pallaris, i-Intelligence director, Zurich, Switzerland emphasized practical considerations for the working group,. “We really need to start with the basic questions: ‘what’, ‘now what’, and ‘then what’ when addressing these emerging security challenges,” he said.
“Winston Churchill often asked three questions: ‘Why didn’t I know? Why wasn’t I told? Why didn’t I ask?’” Pallaris said. “Why couldn’t we predict some of the recent international security challenges? How do we develop competent decision makers, plan for uncertainties and build resilient capability to respond to crises? Where do we start? We need to look at national security strategies, develop policy papers relevant to NATO and its partners and take a look at the potential long-term consequences.”
Dr. Detlef Puhl, working group co-chairman and senior advisor for the NATO international staff emerging security challenges division, Brussels, said the new working group is essential in the framework of the security environment in the 21st century. “The newly formed ESC Working Group was established in September 2012 to enhance awareness and common understanding of ‘emerging security challenges,’ to foster engagement between NATO and partner nations to arrive at common analyses of these challenges, and to develop modules for curricula of education of military and civilian leadership,” he said.
Sharing our knowledge and expertise and extending it into methodologies and subjects of potential concern will lay the groundwork for further detailed assessment and product development, said working group co-chairman Dr. Graeme Herd, senior fellow and senior program advisor, Leadership in Conflict Management Program, Geneva Center for Security Policy.
Dr. Ata Atalay, head of group, research and evaluation, general secretariat of the national security council of Turkey and workshop participant, said, there is currently a partial approach to emerging security challenge-related issues in the field. “This working group meeting was important,” he said. “This (working group) focus is more comprehensive,” he said. “This workshop gives a broader vision and opportunity.
“I am hopeful that at the next workshop this summer, when the group focuses on policy issues - with timing and costs considered - we can achieve results concerning realistic means for implementation. Many emerging security challenges are trans-boundary. It will be fruitful to take these experiences, ideas and discussions back home (to Turkey),” Atalay said.
Another workshop participant, Polish army Col. Maciej Marszalek, dean of the national defense university, Warsaw, said his faculty is responsible for national and international levels of security curricula. “Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to consider and analyze emerging security challenges in as comprehensive and holistic approach (as this working group),” he said. “For example, we haven’t yet been able to take a look at emerging technologies and their impact on broad-spectrum security… We look forward to hosting the second workshop of this working group in Warsaw this summer.”
This meeting was the first of this newly established working group, created in September 2012 in Vienna by the PfPC senior advisory council led by retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Keith W. Dayton, director of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. The council’s members and stakeholders include: Austria, Canada, Switzerland, the United States, NATO international staff, Germany, and a rotating-member, Georgia.
The Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes was established in 1998 and its operations staff is located in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. With nine working groups, the PfPC links more than 800 defense academies and security studies institutes in 59 countries in Europe and Eurasia. The PfPC brings together decision makers from military and political centers of government along with leaders of acadamia and industry.