The Ministry of Defense of the Kingdom of Spain, in support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – Allied Command Transformation (NATO-ACT), hosted the 2019 International Concept Development and Experimentation (ICD&E) Conference in Madrid, Spain from 29 – 31 October. ACT is a military command of NATO that leads military transformation of alliance forces and capabilities through new concepts and doctrine. PKSOI analysts, George McDonnell and Sarah Petrin, joined the over 290 delegates from over 30 participating nations. The conference was informative in identifying the challenges NATO will face in the coming years. The conference’s plenary session and panel discussion addressed innovation within NATO, hybridization, leadership, how culture shapes behaviors, and disruptive technologies in the decision-making process. Conference workshops focused on military capabilities for the gray zone of conflict, future leadership, Countering Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-SUAS), Wargaming the Future, Military Uses of Artificial intelligence, Automation and Robotics (MUAAR), enabling Coherent Deterrence, Artificial Intelligence in Education, Training Exercise & Evaluation (ETEE), and Military Contribution to Human Security.
The Human Security workshop provided PKSOI the opportunity to understand NATO-ACT’s current approach to Human Security and the potential direction the concept may go in the coming months. Human Security, as defined by the United Nations, is an approach to assist member states in identifying and addressing widespread and cross-cutting challenges to the survival, livelihood, and dignity of their people. This includes efforts to protect civilians and to advance Women, Peace & Security. The workshop comprised over 24 military and civilian personnel from NATO militaries, academia, private industry, and international and non-government organizations. The aim of the workshop was to refine NATO’s military approach to Human Security by reflecting on what societal elements need to be present foster a more resilient state. This includes questions such as: How would an opponent attack those elements? What would a military contribution to protect those elements look like? Workshop participants were afforded the opportunity to experience the Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) – Immersive Training Environment (CAAC-ITE), a virtual reality training simulation developed by C2 Technologies Inc. in support of NATO-ACT’s Human Security Team. The Human Security Team affirmed that the ideas presented by the workshop participants regarding threats, challenges, and the military’s role was tremendously beneficial in identifying new considerations and for the incorporation of Human Security “problems” in NATO’s upcoming experiment/exercise Steadfast Juniper Jackal 2020.