Brussels Workshop on Protecting the Global Commons

On September 19 the Atlantic Council in partnership with Allied Command Transformation and the Security and Defence Agenda (SDA) gathered experts and NATO, EU, and national representatives for a workshop on NATO’s Role in the Global Commons. The workshop focused on NATO’s current and future missions in role in accessing and defending the global commons of space, the maritime domain, and cyberspace. Council Senior Fellow Ian Brzezinski, ACT Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Strategy, Major General Mark Barrett, and SDA President Giles Merritt led the all-day workshop.

This workshop was a follow on effort, based on the results from a similar workshop hosted by the Atlantic Council in Washington in July, where the workshop participants focused on NATO’s role in the global commons from a U.S. perspective. Both workshops are part of a larger effort driven by Allied Command Transformation to provide strategic level and future oriented thinking of emerging challenges and opportunities for the Alliance.


16 September 2010, Dolce La Hulpe, Brussels

12.00-12.30     Registration
12.30-13.30     Welcome Lunch
13.30-14.00     Introduction & Project Overview

Dick Bedford, Strategic Concepts, Policy & Interoperability branch, NATO ACT
Maj. Gen. Mark Barrett, Deputy Chief of Staff, NATO ACT
14.00-15.30     NATO’s Role in the Global Commons

What are the political, policy, and operational challenges faced by NATO in the Global Commons? Is the Alliance adequately prepared to execute its responsibilities in a world where the space, martime, and cyber domains are increasingly vital to the interests of member states and to the day to day peacetime and wartime operations of the Alliance? What capabilities and responsibilities will the Alliance need to develop to sustain it relevance in world where the global commons are increasingly important? What partnerships will it need to develop, with the EU and others? What does the transatlantic community understand as the Global Commons today? Do the United States and Europe share a common vision, and if not, what implications for their security and military strategies?

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) David Leakey, former Director General of the Europan Union Military Staff
Diego A. Ruiz Palmer, Head of the Strategic Analysis Capability, NATO

15.30 – 16.30     NATO in the Space Domain

As space becomes increasing vital to daily economic life and political freedom as well as a central supporting element of military operations, how are NATO’s interests affected by the current and anticipated dynamics of the space domain? With increasing talk of the militarization of space, how effective are current international legal instruments? What defence and security factors dominate military thinking in this area, and what role might NATO play in securing worldwide agreement?

Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Schrogl, Director, European Space Policy Institute (ESPI), Austria
16.30 – 17.00     Coffee break
17.00 – 18.00     NATO and the Maritime Domain

Oceans today are as much a chess board for strategists as a global common. What are the key dynamics of today’s maritime domain? What are those of tomorrow? What are the implications for the Alliance? What cooperative thinking should NATO and other organizations such as the EU be advocating together, to ensure that the maritime domain does not become a security flashpoint in the coming years, instead of vital connective tissue in a globalized world?

Dr. Lee Willett, Director of the Maritime Studies Programme, Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI)

18.00 – 19.00     NATO and Cyberspace

The speed of technological developments bringing about today’s cyber-security problems has caught national governments and international organisations off guard. Could a legal framework resolve complex jurisdiction issues, and might lack of traceability impede the effective implementation of such rules?

Leendert van Bochoven, NATO Account Executive, Defence Leader Europe/Network Centric Operations, IBM Corporation
19.00 – 19.15    Conclusions
Ian Brzezinski, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council of the United States
Giles Merritt, Director, Security & Defence Agenda
19.15- 21.45     Cocktail Reception and Dinner    

Related Experts: Ian Brzezinski

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