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114304 central asia regional hybrid resilience workshop v03

The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, in cooperation with the U.S. and German Embassies in Astana, Dushanbe, and Tashkent, conducted a lively workshop on Central Asia Regional Hybrid Resilience in Astana, Kazakhstan Nov. 29 and 30.  (DOD graphic by M. Zachary Sherman/RELEASED)

By Andrew Brinkman
Event planner,
Central Asia Program
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

ASTANA, Kazakhstan (Dec. 3, 2018) - The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, in cooperation with the U.S. and German Embassies in Astana, Dushanbe, and Tashkent, conducted a lively workshop on Central Asia Regional Hybrid Resilience in Astana, Kazakhstan Nov. 29 and 30.

The Central Asia Institute for Strategic Studies, an independent think tank in Kazakhstan was the local partner for the George C. Marshall Center and provided essential contribution to the success of the workshop.

This workshop brought together a group of six international experts from the Marshall Center, the United Kingdom, Kazakhstan, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Office in Astana to share their experience and expertise with governmental officials from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and host-country Kazakhstan.  

The Workshop provided a wide overview concerning how best to withstand, absorb and recover from shocks or disturbances. 

In the context of security cooperation, the Marshall Center, working with the U.S. and German Embassies throughout Central Asia has conducted an ongoing series of events to regularly address mutual transnational security challenges in Central Asia. Hybrid Resilience is a vital shared concern and benefits all nations in the Central Asia region and beyond.  

We were honored to introduce Chargé (acting Ambassador) Ted Lyng, from the United States Embassy Astana, and Ambassador Dr. Tilo Klinner, German Embassy Astana, who provided welcome remarks and observations to the audience. 

Dr. Pal Dunay, academic advisor for the Central Asia Program at the Marshall Center; Dr. Graeme Herd, department chair for Research and Publications at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, and Andrew Brinkman, event planner, Marshall Center’s Central Asia Program, opened the workshop.

They introduced the mission and academic structure of the Marshall Center before emphasizing the shifting security perspectives on Central Asia while focusing on how best to respond to emerging and recurring hybrid challenges in economic, and societal and subsequent effects on other fields of regional security and stability. 

Professor James Wither, Marshall Center’s Professor of National Security Studies, laid the foundation for the successful workshop by introducing the topic of Hybrid Warfare by citing examples throughout history and related ongoing challenges around the world today in a larger context to issues close to the hearts of the participating Central Asian states in attendance.

Later that first day, Timur Shaimergenov, the vice minister of Defense and Aerospace Industry of Kazakhstan, provided an insightful briefing on Hybrid Conflict and Potential Implications in Central Asia.  His remarks prompted policy and practical questions from participants of all three Central Asia states in attendance.

This regional workshop served as a forum to address international and multi-stakeholder security concerns in the area of hybrid resiliency.

Participants from various governmental ministries, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), industry, and academia from three Central Asian states examined the current challenges facing the region.

Through expert-led sessions and within smaller breakout working groups, the participants and subject matter experts discussed practical and pragmatic ways to improve regional and international cooperation to effectively address potential Hybrid Threats. 

Leveraging technology, a video-teleconference was established allowing over a dozen officers of the Armed Forces Academy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan to join the event. 

Marshall Center’s Dr. Gregory Gleason led the discussions and posed the questions from the Academy.  Expert-led discussions covered varied topics such as: Making Sense of Hybrid Warfare; Politico-Economic Dimensions: New Cold War?; Hybrid Conflict and Potential Implications in Central Asia; Terrorism, Crisis and Hybrid Contexts – Kazakhstan; and, Regional Stability and Hybrid Conflict Potential – Protracted Conflicts.

U.S. Air Force Col. James Turner, director of Central Asia Studies at the Marshall Center said, “This workshop was very effective in addressing Hybrid threats. Traditional Western definitions of Hybrid Resiliency were tailored to a more Central Asian context, and were discussed with an emphasis on developing regional solutions for Hybrid related challenges.  Participants and speakers alike agreed this was a very beneficial workshop that tackled important issues and helped foster regional cooperation throughout Central Asia.”