On 3 December, ICDS Research Fellow Tomas Jermalavičius delivered closing remarks at the annual forum organised by the Estonian Defence and Security Industry Association.
The forum serves as a platform to bring together policymakers, military and security end-users, industry representatives, scientists and academics to share their insights and perspectives on the Estonian, regional, European and trans-atlantic trends in security, defence, science, technology and industry. The 2015 forum focused on such themes as new generation warfare and its impact, new innovation and R&D models as well as industry involvement in capability planning processes. Its speaker list included Estonian ministers of defence and interior, chief of defence, undersecretary for defence investments as well as head of capability delivery section of NATO International Staff and CEOs of several international enterprises. In his remarks, Tomas emphasised the need to expand the notion of capability by including knowledge, innovation, technology and industry as an integral part of security and defence capability – alongside other components such as doctrine, personnel, equipment, or infrastructure. In his view, Estonia is well-positioned to pioneer this approach due to its broad-based concept of defence. He also urged the industry to press the governments in NATO and the EU to maintain and increase public investments into basic and applied science, without which Western nations will see their knowledge and technology edge over state and non-state adversaries erode over time. He also argued that Estonian industry must play an active role in sustaining this edge by contributing with innovative solutions within well-defined niches of excellence and act in ways which promote closer European and trans-atlantic integration rather than fragmentation in security and defence.