“False narratives travel fast – at the speed of the internet,” said General Philip M. Breedlove, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe. “The ability to counter those narratives has to travel fast too.”
Breedlove was speaking at a Friends of Europe Policy Insight presenting the report, the outcome of the 2014 Security Jam – an internet-based brainstorming session with almost 2,300 participants from 129 countries. The Jam was held amid growing insecurity over Russia’s confrontation with the West over Ukraine and the threat posed by the so-called Islamic State. The Jam’s 10 recommendations reflected the new techniques being used in these conflicts, and included calls for new efforts to absorb asymmetric threats and for universities to work on cyber security.
“The global security landscape is becoming increasingly complex, unpredictable, volatile – but also more interconnected,” said Leendert van Bochoven, NATO and European Defence Leader at IBM. “This requires collaboration with partners beyond the usual suspects.”
Breedlove said strategic communications are often slowed by the need for approval by governments, who want to be sure they understand what is being said before replying to false narratives.
The EU has in the past been criticised for taking time to gather consensus among its members and for a seeming lack of connection between different policy areas. Now it is trying to coordinate better its different external affairs activities – such as trade, development and humanitarian relief – so that they form a coherent whole.
It is also planning to revise its security strategy, which dates back to 2003. The External Action Service wants to get a mandate for a new strategy from the European Council in June, so that it could be drawn up by the end of 2015 or early 2016.
“There is a need to review the strategy completely,” said Alain Le Roy, Secretary General of the European External Action Service. “For our strategic communications in the EU, the first point is to have a common voice.”
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12.30-13.00 Welcome and registration of participants, walking lunch
General Philip M. Breedlove, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander of U.S. European Command
Ambassador Alain Le Roy, Secretary General of the European External Action Service
- Gateway House: Indian Council on Global relations
- The Chicago Council on Global Affairs
- George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies
- The Polish Institute for International Affairs (PISM)
- Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
- International Strategic Research Organisation (USAK)
The 9/11 terrorist attacks signalled a seismic shift in global security and the emergence of a fluctuating multipolar system. Military endeavours must be combined with economic, judicial and democratic capacity-building to build sustainable peace.
The digital revolution has yielded both opportunities and challenges. The global financial crisis shook the economic system and harmed citizens’ trust in institutions. Now there are major questions about the European project, transatlantic relations and the future of NATO.
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