pao news 5-1-14

Ducaru addresses the PfPC working group April 24. (Photo by Craig Coder)

By Jason Tudor
GCMC Public Affairs

BRUSSELS (April 30, 2014) -- Training and capacity building are strong elements of partnership and forward defense, and building those partnerships is a strong ingredient of the new NATO’s DNA, according to Sorin Ducaru, NATO’s assistant secretary general for emerging security challenges, at a recent Partnership for Peace Consortium meeting April 23-25 in Brussels.

Ducaru addressed the group about the future of NATO, the upcoming summit and the importance of partnerships in the 21st century. The three-day event gathered some 30 people, both scholars and security practitioners, from Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Kazakhstan, Romania, Serbia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uzbekistan.

The theme of the event, “Ongoing Insurgencies, Foreign Fighters, and Potential Impacts on Euro-Atlantic/Eurasian Security,” walked the attendees through a number of seminars and lectures. The Chairman of the PfPC Combating Terrorism working group, Dr. John Schindler, professor for national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, led the effort. Richard Prosen, a foreign affairs officer for the U.S. State Department, served as co-chairman.

“The assistant secretary general hit on some great points during his keynote to the group,” said German air force Lt. Col. Rainer T. Ridders, PfPC deputy executive director. “His words made it clear that we will not be doing business as usual going forward. And the conference provided the right forum to engage on those topics.”

Agenda topics covered a broad number of issues including Syria, Bosnia and Herzegovina and other geographical hotspots. Participants also covered the effects of social media on revolutionary efforts, radicalization and more.”

“I believe we really struck the right chord with our participants and gave them some things to think about,” Schindler said. “For the amount of time we spent in the seminars discussing issues, we managed to accomplish a great deal. Furthering dialogue about Security challenges, particularly tough transnational problems, is what our working group and the whole PfPC is about.

Organizers asked participants to draft recommendations for policy and more as part of closing the event. Those recommendations are still being finalized, according to Dr. Raphael Perl, director of the PfPC, and should be available soon as a policy paper from the PfPC web site and social media feeds.

“As we wait and see what the group recommended, it’s important to note that this was a cutting-edge, policy relevant event; a real home run,” Perl said. “The success these professionals had in discussing the myriad dilemmas that confront counterterrorism professionals and what looms as emerging security challenges was great and we look forward to more fruitful events like this in the future.”

Perl said he sees an important role for institutions such as the PfPC and the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies here in NATO’s strategy. “Clearly defense institution building and defense education are potent soft power tools in a post-Afghan NATO drawdown security environment.”