The Atlantic Council, in partnership with NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT) held the 4th annual Young Professionals Day (YP Day) in Washington DC on March 24.
NATO YP Day 2015 gave a group of rising young security professionals and academics a unique opportunity to impact policy, enhance their understanding of modern global security, engage with senior leaders and expand their networks. The YP delegates came from nationalities all across the alliance and were united in their efforts to provide new and innovative solutions to the challenges facing NATO today. A full list of participants can be found below:
Building on the success of the three previous years, delegates participated in a full-day of working group discussions alongside senior thought leaders, with the goal of producing a list of recommendations for NATO decision makers to discuss during the NATO Transformation Seminar (NTS), which was held alongside YP Day.
Working group topics focused on the broad theme of assurance and adaptation for the future in a fluid security environment. The specific group topics were how to address NATO threats on the alliance’s eastern and southern borders, how to prepare NATO for its ambitions, the role of innovation in the alliance, and how the alliance should deal with the concept of hybrid warfare. The event featured opening remarks from Brigadier General Matthew L. Brand and a keynote address from General Jean-Paul Paloméros. A full agenda can be viewed below:
The event was unique in that it incorporated several design thinking exercises, which allowed the delegates to approach NATO challenges in a new and innovative way. Using these exercises delegates produced 500 individual suggestions for NATO which they later narrowed down to fifteen top ideas. The final exercise featured a Concept Poster which aimed to rapidly flesh out and “prototype” the top ideas using both textual and visual tools to produce substantive proposals. Delegates presented their ideas to a panel featuring Brigadier General Brand, Lieutenant General Mark Schissler and Ambassador Karen Williams who gave feedback and made suggestions for improvement and practicality. Additional photos of the event exercises and presentations can be seen here.
Post-event the Atlantic Council worked with delegates to transform their suggestions into a report highlighting the key takeaways from the event. The report will be published in April. A full press release with more details can be found at the Allied Council Transformation Website here.