September 29, 2018

ABCD 2018

This year’s Annual Baltic Conference on Defence (ABCD), co-organised by the ICDS and the Estonian Ministry of Defence, was held on 25-26 September.

This, the twelfth ABCD, was entitled “NATO at 70: no time to rest” and set out to assess the state of the transatlantic security and defence bond, and to explore the steps Allies might take to increase their contributions to the common defence.

The conference opened on 25 September with an evening reception hosted by Estonian Prime Minister, Jüri Ratas. The formal proceedings began the following day with a lively keynote session featuring Estonian Defence Minister Jüri Luik, Lieutenant General Andrzej Falkowski representing the Minister of National Defence of Poland, and Vice Admiral Joachim Rühle, Germany’s Deputy Chief of Defence.

The conference’s three working panels examined the overall health of the transatlantic security and defence relationship, the concrete steps the Allies need to take in order to strengthen that relationship, and more specifically the steps that need to be taken to enhance deterrence and defence in the Baltic region. The panellists were: Jorge Aranda from the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Strategic Affairs Adviser to the French President, Etienne de Gonneville; the Civilian Deputy and Polad at US European Command, Philip T. Reeker; Douglas Barrie from the International Institute for Strategic Studies; Lieutenant General Heinrich Brauss, formerly NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning; Thierry Tardy from the NATO Defense College; Hans Binnendijk of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies; Robert Dalsjö from Sweden’s Defence Research Agency; and Saulius Gasiunas and Krsitjan Prikk, respectively representing Lithuania’s Ministry of National Defence and Estonia’s Ministry of Defence.

The conference closed with an address by General Riho Terras, shortly to retire as Estonia’s Chief of Defence.

A more detailed summary of the event will shortly be posted at