October 24, 2019

Annual Baltic Conference on Defence 2019 brings high-level expertise on new technologies to Tallinn

NATO Allies, European defence experts and representatives of the defence industry will be exploring how new technologies such as artificial intelligence and unmanned vehicles enhance defence capabilities and deterrence at the 13th Annual Baltic Conference on Defence (ABCD) on 29-30 October 2019 in Tallinn.

On the evening of 29 October, Estonian Minister of Defence Jüri Luik and French Minister for Armed Forces Florence Parly will open the conference. On 30 October, President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid will initiate the panel discussions and United States Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John C. Rood will deliver the afternoon keynote.

“New technologies have seized the world like a giant wave: from artificial intelligence and 5G to augmented reality and machine autonomy. The changes are huge and rapid,” Tomas Jermalavičius, Head of Studies at the International Centre for Defence and Security and Co-Director of ABCD 2019 explains. “Artificial intelligence has the greatest impact. In future wars, it can become a real game-changer.”

Ninety percent of the world’s technology companies are based in Asia or the US. Europe focuses heavily on the threat posed by Russia, while China vigorously develops military technology. However, the West still has the best scientists and scientific tools to be a world-class hotbed of innovation.

ABCD 2019 explores how NATO and the EU see the future of artificial intelligence, how humans fit into the artificial intelligence driven future, what kind of ethical issues need to be addressed when using artificial intelligence, how the civilian and military sectors can better join forces, and how small nations like Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are reinforcing defence capabilities and deterrence with the help of new technologies.

Among others, Deputy Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency Olli Ruutu, NATO Assistant Secretary General Giedrimas Jeglinskas, renowned drone expert Ulrike Franke from the European Council on Foreign Relations, Senior Fellow at the Center for New American Security Martijn Rasser, NATO Chief Scientist Bryan Wells, and Director of Carnegie Europe Tomáš Valášek will analyse these developments and make proposals for the future. The introduction of the conference, programme and overview of all the speakers can be found here.

The ABCD conference engages Allies and partners of the Baltic states and contributes to the development of common strategic thinking. The 13th ABCD, entitled “Disruptive Technologies for Strategic Superiority: Can the West Win the Defense Technology Race?”, takes place on 29-30 October 2019.

The conference is organised by the International Centre for Defence and Security in cooperation with the Estonian Ministry of Defence, the armament and industry cooperation network ASERA, and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. ABCD 2019 is supported by Nammo, Milrem Robotics, Eurospike, Saab, Kongsberg, BAE Systems, Milrem LCM, DefSecIntel and Threod Systems.

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