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Debating Security Plus (DS+) is a unique global online brainstorm that aims to yield concrete recommendations in the area of security and defence. Gathering several thousand participants from around the world, it is the only platform that permits a truly global whole-of-society consultation providing innovative recommendations for some of the world’s most pressing security challenges.
For the sixth time, the 2018 brainstorm will bring together senior international participants from the military, national governments, international organisations and agencies, along with voices from NGOs and civil society, business and industry, the media, think-tanks and academia. Their involvement in our security policy brainstorm will help bridge the gaps between experts and citizens, and their recommendations will aim to inform the implementation of the EU Global Strategy, as well as the policies of national governments and other international institutions as they shape their approaches to peace, security and defence.
From 19 June, 09:00 CEST to 20 June 20:00 CEST, the international security community will debate ideas relating to six different themes where challenges and policy solutions will be discussed by VIP debaters. The discussions will be moderated by leading international think tanks and organisations that will steer discussions towards concrete recommendations.
The global security landscape is in flux. From increased tensions between NATO and Russia and ongoing difficult Brexit negotiations to China’s more assertive global stand under the consolidated leadership of President Xi Jinping, new challenges are continuously putting into question global security frameworks and approaches.
The online brainstorm will be set up across six discussion themes that will run in parallel from 19 June, 09:00 to 20 June 20:00. Leading personalities from the sector will contribute video messages before logging in to engage live with the thousands of participants throughout the exercise, sparking lively discussion and pushing this global security community to put forth policy recommendations.
Conversations will be moderated by leading think-tankers from around the world and to steer the discussions towards concrete recommendations by the end of the 36h online event.
All timings are Central European Summer Time (UTC+2)
Countering hybrid threats in the cyber age
Moderated by the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (Finland) & Gateway House (India)
From cyber-espionage and disruptive attacks on critical infrastructure to interference in elections, propaganda, and disinformation campaigns, institutions around the world are increasingly under threat from state or non-state operations. These (mostly digital) risks – if unmitigated – have raised fears of serious breakdowns in states’ economies and societies, increasing the risks of conflict and threatening societal resilience.
- Should NATO and the EU be developing the use of offensive cyber capabilities in the face of malicious attacks?
- Can we create a global cyber convention to set out international definitions and rules in cyberspace?
- How prepared are military forces, including NATO, for AI warfare? Is the West already losing the AI arms race to China and Russia?
Europe as a global security actor
Moderated by the European Centre for Development Policy Management (The Netherlands) & NATO Strategic Direction South (Italy)
With its emphasis on soft/smart power and multilateral diplomacy, the EU appears to be out of step with a multipolar world increasingly characterised by hard power, great power rivalries and zero-sum games. With the US no longer ready to continue its lead on global security issues, Europe is looking more carefully at its own defence capabilities and role as a global security actor.
- With the United Kingdom one of only two true military powers in Europe, what impact will Brexit have on the security and defence of Europe, and the EU’s global operations?
- What role should Europe play in bringing peace to Syria, given the growing involvement of Iran, Russia and Turkey?
- How should Europe respond to China’s growing power, especially in the South China Sea and as regards the security implications of the Belt and Road Initiative? Is the EU seen as a credible security actor by the rest of the world, and especially in Asia?
Regional approaches to global migration
Moderated by the Institute for Security Studies (South Africa) & the OCP Policy Center (Morocco)
Responses to global migration- caused by a multiplicity of interrelated factors including conflicts, resource scarcity and climate change- remains largely uncoordinated at the global level. The UN recognises the need for a comprehensive approach to human mobility and is working on adopting global compacts on migration and refugees in 2018. But such initiatives face many obstacles on an international level. As such, learning from local challenges in different parts of the world can help us better understand and address the linkages between migration, security and development.
- How can the EU improve its responsiveness and preparedness for migrants arriving at its borders?
- What are the lessons learned from MENA countries as regards the mass waves of migration? How important is the role of development aid in addressing migration in this region?
- Is Latin America prepared to deal with instability and migration?
Fraying arms control regimes
Moderated by the Russian International Affairs Council (Russia) & TBC
The global nuclear order has been changing in recent years. Energy security, fluctuating oil prices as well as uncertainties caused by climate change have contributed to a renewed interest in nuclear power as an energy source for the future. However, states continue to modernise their strategic arsenals and in practice the reality suggests arms control agreements are far from ideal - North Korea’s recent testing of a nuclear weapon and missiles claimed to have the ability to reach the US is one of such examples. Enforcement of international arms control regime continues to struggle, failing to discourage states that seek to acquire their own nuclear capabilities.
- How can this global community, including NATO and the UN, improve the capability of regional players—such as China—to approach and manage nuclear proliferation?
- How can we better engage regional powers to de-escalate nuclear tensions?
- Thinking beyond nuclear, can we encourage progress in arms control regimes in areas such as chemical weapons, as well as in new areas such as cyber and artificial intelligence?
Realigning the crime-terror nexus
Moderated by Hedayah (UAE) & Consejo Argentino para las Relaciones Internacionales (Argentina)
Over the past year, the Islamic State has sustained increased pressure and further military defeat of the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq is expected. However, the severity of the threat in Europe, Southeast Asia and Africa must not be underestimated, and may even increase. Continuing instability in the Middle East and North Africa, including the establishment of new footholds by the Islamic State into the Maghreb, is a major security challenge. The last years have also seen an increase in terrorist attacks by extreme right, left-wing and anarchist groups, causing a significant threat to governments in the West.
- How can the relationship between the police and the judiciary be reinforced to tackle the connection between human and drugs trafficking and the financing of terrorism?
- Do local entities, including community police have the right training and resources to tackle radicalisation and violent extremism?
- What role can the police play in developing better early warning systems by harnessing the intelligence within local communities?
Russia, Europe and the US - scenarios of the future in a turbulent time
Moderated by the German Council on Foreign Relations - DGAP (Germany) & Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Transatlantic Relations (USA)
What will the world look like in 2028? What effect will the political decisions made by today’s leaders have in ten years’ time? Are we moving towards ‘the end of history’, a new Cold War, or even World War 3?
Cascading and unpredictable crises are becoming the new normal. With relations between Russia and the West at the lowest point in decades, and at a time of fundamental change not only in the West’s relations with Russia but also within the EU and in the transatlantic partnership, now is the time to think ahead and consider what future relations between Russia, Europe and the US could – and should – look like.
In partnership with the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and the Robert Bosch Center at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), the 2018 DS+ brainstorm will test out different “scenarios of the future” for Russian-European-American relations.
Four alternative futures of Russian-Western relations in 2028 - some more likely than others- will be presented, with participants asked to work through the implications and consequences of such scenarios, and how we might anticipate and/or address them. How did we get to that particular future and how could we avoid it? Or alternatively, how did we get to that future and how could we make sure we do get there in 10 years?
Based on the feedback from participants on these scenarios of the future, we will thrash out policy recommendations to be presented to key decision-makers, enabling them to reflect on the potential ramifications of the choices and policy decisions they are faced with today.