September 27, 2010

Fourth Annual Baltic Conference on Defence (ABCD) was held in Tallinn

On Thursday, 16 September, the fourth Annual Baltic Conference on Defence (ABCD) took place in the Nordic Hotel Forum, Tallinn. The event was co-organised by the Estonian Ministry of Defence and the International Centre for Defence Studies (visit abcd.icds.ee for more information about the background of the conference).

On Thursday, 16 September, the fourth Annual Baltic Conference on Defence (ABCD) took place in the Nordic Hotel Forum, Tallinn. The event was co-organised by the Estonian Ministry of Defence and the International Centre for Defence Studies (visit abcd.icds.ee for more information about the background of the conference).

25.09.2010
On Thursday, 16 September, the fourth Annual Baltic Conference on Defence (ABCD) took place in the Nordic Hotel Forum, Tallinn. The event was co-organised by the Estonian Ministry of Defence and the International Centre for Defence Studies (visit abcd.icds.ee for more information about the background of the conference). ABCD 2010 brought together a distinguished panel of speakers and more than hundred participants from the three Baltic states, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, United States, Germany, France, UK, Poland, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Israel, China, Russia and other countries. The welcoming speeches at the conference were given by Toomas H. Ilves, President of Estonia, and Dr. Jaak Aviksoo, Estonian Defence Minister. The highlight of the conference was a keynote speech by former NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.
The topic for this year’s conference was “It matters what others think: Calibrating NATO deterrence posture in the age of complexity.” The main questions discussed were the relevance of deterrence as a tool for state security today and the means by which its effect can be optimised. To answer these questions, the conference was divided into three sessions − each dealing with different aspects of deterrence. In the morning session, the relevance and utility of deterrence – nuclear, conventional and non-military − in today’s and tomorrow’s security environment were discussed. The second session dealt with NATO’s deterrence posture and sought to answer the question of whether the Alliance can reconcile the dilemmas of credibility. The third and final session dealt with the issue of assurance for small states and the ways of making it meaningful.
The participants of the conference reached the conclusions that deterrence still is, and will continue to be, a very important mechanism for providing security to states. However, due to the growing complexity of the international environment, the application of deterrence is becoming more difficult, especially in new fields such as cyber security. They agreed that a strong partnership between the EU and NATO and an emphasis on trust-building measures (contingency plans, exercises, increased scope of political debate, etc.) were necessary for assuring NATO credibility and relieving the anxieties of the small member states of the Alliance. (A more extensive summary of the ABCD 2010 discussions will be made available at the conference website, abcd.icds.ee.)

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