10 Dec 20. Sign up for 2021 international deterrence and assurance conference. Dstl partners with U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Naval War College for the 6th annual deterrence and assurance academic alliance event. Registrations and abstract submissions are open for a fully virtual event being held from 30 March to 1 April 2021, hosted by the University of Nebraska in Omaha, USA.
This year’s theme is ‘Building a Common Language: Integrating Deterrence and Competition with Allies’ and it will feature panel discussions with participants from around the world, plus an experiential learning event designed to challenge participant understanding of deterrence. The event is free, but you must register.
Sign up or submit an abstract for the U.S. Strategic Command Academic Alliance Conference and Workshop 2021.
Dstl runs a parallel Deterrence and Assurance Academic Alliance in the UK, bringing together students and academics with an interest in deterrence and assurance. This community of interest, made up of academic institutions in partnership with Dstl, conducts new research on deterrence and related topics such as coercion and conflict escalation. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
03 Dec 20. Annual EDA Conference discusses “Sustaining European Defence.” The European Defence Agency’s Annual Conference 2020 entitled ‘Sustaining European Defence’ was opened this morning by EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý. As exceptional circumstances (Covid pandemic) require exceptional measures, this year’s conference is held in online format with a very broad audience representing the whole European defence spectrum (governments, armed forces, industry, EU institutions, NATO, think tanks and media) connected remotely to listen to speeches and panel discussions and also actively take part in debates through interactive Q&A sessions.
The conference is split in two parts: while the first one, held this morning, primarily dealt with operational and industrial aspects, the second part tomorrow (4 December) will focus on political and strategic questions.
“We need more cooperation in defence”
In his welcome, EDA Chief Jiří Šedivý said the conference, at the end of a particularly challenging year, was coming at the “right moment” as the Covid-19 crisis had not only revealed risks and vulnerabilities but also the clear necessity to further enhance security and defence cooperation to make Europe stronger in the future. Since the required cooperation tools are already all in place (CARD, PESCO and the precursor programmes of the European Defence Fund), they should now be used to the fullest extent, Mr Šedivý stressed. The message of the first CARD report presented by EDA to Defence Ministers two weeks ago could not have been clearer: “We need more cooperation in defence. And we need the political will and the urgency” to turn Europe into a more credible and more autonomous security provider, as pledged in the EU Global Strategy in 2016. So far, most Member States have not yet made full use of the common instruments which explains why the European capability landscape continues to suffer from fragmentation, duplication and insufficient operational engagement. These findings, clearly confirmed by the CARD findings, “are not new. What is new is the method how we retrieved them. Today we have clear evidence. And we should use it to change our approach towards European defence”, Mr Šedivý urged.
German EU Presidency
In his Presidency speech, German Defence State Secretary Benedikt Zimmer recalled the main defence-related objective of the ongoing German EU Presidency: “Strengthening the EU in the area of security and defence”. In the current Coivid-19 crisis, “we need, more than ever, stand together in the EU, unified by a clear vision regarding our values, interests and ambitions. Our citizens expect a strong EU. An EU that protects and defends them in the face of any current and future crisis”, he said. Despite some progress in deepening the EU´s CSDP over the past years, “the ongoing crisis has revealed not only strengths but also weaknesses in our system”. Hence the need for Europe to focus on two core issues. “First, the EU needs the capacity to provide support and assist in the direct and immediate management of the crisis. Second, in the long run, we have to be able to act in order to position ourselves in a post-COVID-19 order, especially in the domain of security and defence”, in close cooperation with NATO “which remains the cornerstone of collective defence in Europe”, Mr Zimmer said. Member States need to be clear about their intentions and objectives; hence the importance of the ongoing work on the EU’s Strategic Compass which “will help us to plan better and to act more decisively in the future, if and when European action is required. This will also provide more transparency for our partners”. As regards the more urgent challenge to respond to the current Covid crisis, Mr Zimmer expressed the hope that the ongoing PESCO project European Medical Command (EMC) will lead to “higher resilience and closer cooperation among the Armed Forces of the EU Member States”. The EMC will also be closely linked with NATO’s Multinational Medical Coordination Centre (MMCC) and thus creates vivid and much-needed close cooperation between NATO and the EU, he insisted. “The current COVID-19 pandemic may only be one of several crises throughout the 21st century, but it emphasizes the necessity to develop a EU that is more resilient and able to act towards a variety of different challenges. This will require more cooperation and coordination between all EU Member States. Important is also close coordination between the EU and its partners, especially the cooperation with NATO”, Mr Zimmer concluded.
Presenting the operational military viewpoint, the Chairman of the EU Military Committee (EUMC), General Claudio Graziano, stressed the importance of having the end-user’s view, the one of the Armed Forces operating on the ground, well integrated into the EU’s overall efforts to move towards a more homogeneous and interoperable defence landscape. “We all know that the end-user, by definition, is the ultimate consumer of a final product, which in case of the military domain, can be a weapon, a system, or even a policy. But the role of the end user goes further than this. Military inputs and expertise coming from the field represent an essential factor for the best definition of the product itself, optimizing the outcome of the whole manufacture chain. In other words, it should be the militaries to drive the changes, asking for the capabilities they need to accomplish their tasks, which, in the case of the EU, means to fulfil the Level of Ambition defined at political level, being able to defend Europe interests and citizens”, he said. All recently launched EU Defence initiatives (CARD, PESCO, EDF) go into the right direction, also because they have integrated the end-user perspective, General Graziano stressed: “All these efforts will have to monitor closely the geopolitical trends as well as the new threats, compelling us to continuously improve our military tools, if we are to succeed against our adversaries, in whatever nature they will challenge us: traditional, hybrid, cyber or – probably – a combination of all these dimensions”.
The first half day of the Conference was also marked by two lively and interesting panel discussions:
- The first one, moderated by Dr Daniela Schwarzer (Director at the German Council on Foreign Relations) focused on ‘Delivering on military effectiveness: from priorities to implementation’ and featured the following panelists: Jukka Juusti (Permanent Secretary, at the Finnish Ministry of Defence), Admiral Michel Hofman (Chief of Defence of Belgium) and Vice-Admiral Hervé Bléjean (Director General of the EU Military Staff):
- The second one, moderated by EDA’s Pieter Taal (Head of Unit Industry Strategy and EU Policies) dealt with the impact of COVID-19 on defence and the question: ‘How does the EU defence industry adapt to a new normal?’ This panel was composed by Dr Lucie Béraud-Sudreau (Director of the Arms and Military Expenditure Programme, SIPRI), Lauri Almann (Co-Founder, Member of the Executive Board, CybExer Technologies) and Giovanni Soccodato, (Chief Strategic Equity Officer, Leonardo).
EDA Defence Innovation Prize
Today’s session also saw EDA’s Deputy Chief Executive Olli Ruutu hand over this year’s EDA Defence Innovation Prize to the owners of the two winning projects: the Centro Italiano Ricerche Aerospaziali (CIRA) one the one hand, and Rantelon and Tampere University, on the other hand. More details on the Innovation Prize ceremony are available in this specific webnews. (Source: EDA)
04 Dec 20. Annual EDA Conference closes with call for action. The second and final day of EDA’s virtual Annual Conference 2020 (see main highlights of the first day here) was marked by several high-level political speeches and contributions which all had as a common thread the urgent need for Europe to take more responsibility for its own security and defence, and to use the already existing cooperation tools to move towards more collaborative defence planning, spending and capability development.
Josep Borrell: “Time for action is now”
In the opening speech of the second day, the Head of the Agency, High Representative Josep Borrell, said the conference theme ‘Sustaining European defence’ was not only the topic of the day “but our common task for the years and decades to come”. The first ever EU threat analysis that has just been done as part of the process that will lead to the Union’s Strategic Compass to be adopted in 2022 “confirms that we are facing – now and for the foreseeable future – the most challenging combination of risks and threats since the end of the Cold War”, he said.
In the face of that, “strengthening the EU’s security and defence policy is not a luxury; it is a necessity because the challenges we face can only be addressed by providing a collective European answer”. This means that Europe needs to enhance its ability to act – autonomously when necessary. “In other words, we need to increase our strategic autonomy. For that, we need to increase our operational effectiveness, our resilience and our civilian and military capabilities”, while at the same time strengthen of our relations with partners, first and foremost the transatlantic bond and cooperation with NATO, Mr Borrel stated. The upcoming Strategic Compass, “a key deliverable of my mandate”, is sometimes questioned by people who doubt about the need to have “yet another paper”. But this Compass is needed to “give a clear direction to enhance coherence between all these initiatives and strategies” and to develop a common strategic culture on security and defence”.
But defining goals or shared ambitions is not enough, the Head of Agency pursued: “We also need to follow them through and deliver on them”. Together, the EU’s defence instruments set up over the past years (CARD, PESCO, EDF) have a unique potential to help us advance towards a stronger European defence, he said. “What is needed in the future – and there is no better place to state this than at the European Defence Agency – is concrete progress and greater convergence among Member States in three areas: defence investment, defence planning and defence cooperation. This is also the main message that comes out of the first CARD report”. Therefore, “what Europe needs is a more coherent and integrated defence landscape. We need more capable, deployable, interoperable and sustainable military capabilities and forces. To achieve this, we need a drastic change of mindset in the Member States. Cooperation is not always the easiest way, but it is the only and best way to achieve results”, Mr Borrell stressed; adding: “Cooperation must become the default option in Europe”.
The Head of the Agency concluded with a call for urgent action: “I am often told that defence lifecycles are long and that we need strategic patience. This is true, but it should not become an excuse. Let me be blunt: I do not think we have the luxury to take time. We need to think big, be perseverant and action-oriented. We Europeans need to take responsibility for our own future. And the time to do so is now”.
Mircea Geoană: NATO and EU defence are “inextricably linked”
In his keynote speech, Mircea Geoană, NATO’s Deputy Secretary General, said that sustaining European defence is very important for NATO because European defence is “inextricably linked to transatlantic defence”. “In recent years, the level of NATO-EU cooperation has reached unprecedented levels. We are working together on so many issues. From improving military mobility and countering hybrid and cyber threats and countering disinformation together – we have done this during the pandemic very successfully – to coordinating our exercises or improving our strategic communications”, he said.
Stressing that NATO and the EU should work “even closer together”, Mr. Geoana noted that NATO is already delivering on the Emerging and Disruptive Technology Implementation Roadmap that NATO leaders agreed in London, when they last met in December 2019. “I think we can do and should do more when it comes to new technologies and the way in which these technologies are affecting, not only defence and security, but also the way of life. Because the definition of security is becoming far more multifaceted. The line between traditional threats and non-traditional threats is becoming more blurred”, he said.
Highlighting the importance of “a very close and complimentary cooperation between NATO and the EU”, he said that “It is good that EU is becoming more ambitious on defence and security”. He noted that today 80% of defence spending in NATO is done by non-EU countries and that 90% of the population of the EU is also population of NATO countries. “So we are, in a way, obliged to work together”, he said.
Commissioner Breton: “Europe needs both soft and hard power”
In his keynote speech (delivered via video message), Thierry Breton, the Commissioner for Internal Market who also oversees the Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space (DEFIS), said Europe needed to define its place in the world and take “strategic leadership”. To do that “Europe’s soft-power is not enough”. “This is why Europe needs to acquire some of the features of ‘hard power’ so that it can defence its vision and interests and become a more credible partner for its allies”, he stressed.
The massive economic recovery package the EU adopted as its answer to the Covid-19 pandemic can also have an impact on Europe’s international position and help it “become more resilient by investing in areas of strategic importance”, the Commissioner said, adding: “To take strategic leadership, and remain able to autonomously analyse, decide and act, we also need to protect autonomously our strategic interests”.
As regards Europe’s defence, “it is of paramount importance that we collectively invest in defence and secure our supply by protecting our defence value supply chains”, said Mr Breton, underlining that Member States should “spend wiser by spending together”. To sustain European Defence, defence cooperation should become the “new norm”. It is also important to follow an “holistic approach including all relevant actors at EU and national level”, he said.
Panel discussion, conversations
Participants at the second day of the Conference also witnessed an interesting and informative high-level panel discussion moderated by EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý and focused on ‘Increasing European defence cooperation in times of crisis’, featuring the Greek Minister of Defence, Nikólaos Panayotópoulos, and Nathalie Loiseau, the Chair the European Parliament’s SEDE Committee.
The panel discussion was followed by two particularly informative ‘conversations’ moderated by Dr Florence Gaub (Deputy Director of the EUISS): one with Jean Pierre Van Aubel (EEAS) on the Strategic Compass, and one with EDA Deputy Chief Executive Olli Ruutu on the first Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) report.
- Opening speech Head of Agency HR/VP Josep Borrell; https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/89945/european-defence-agency-remarks-high-representativevice-president-josep-borrell-annual-virtual_en
09 Dec 20. Update regarding the 2021 Aerospace Media Awards. The 2021 Aerospace Media Awards were scheduled to be presented at the Aero Club de France on 20th June 2021, however the announcement that the 2021 Paris Airshow has been cancelled means that I will have to seek alternative ways of presenting the 2021 Awards. In the immediate short term, I believe the best course of action is to hold an online presentation of the awards similar to the one that was created this year.
In the longer term it is a challenge to find an exhibition/event that covers all aspects of aviation journalism and which will allow for the possibility of an awards dinner during 2021. Therefore, I believe the best course of action, and to provide certainty, is to hold the online presentation in June at a similar time to when the awards dinner would have taken place.
One of the main reasons for sticking with the June presentation is to ensure that the important work that aviation journalists have produced in the 12 months from April 2020 to March 2021 is honoured and receives the recognition it deserves. During these 12 months aviation journalism has been vitally important as the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has had severe consequences throughout all sectors of aviation. The expertise of aviation journalists in informing, updating, and educating us on the latest developments in the aerospace industry is extremely worthy of recognition. Throughout these extremely challenging times, many journalists have upped their game to deliver the news, opinion, and expert analysis of the situation. Therefore the 2021 Aerospace Media Awards will be of great importance in honouring those journalists who risen to the challenge and delivered their best work throughout the year.
I wish to assure you that the Award categories are currently in the process of being finalised and the “Call for Nominations” will open in the latter part of January 2021.
Each year my objective is to create an entertaining and interesting presentation and recognise the very best in aerospace journalism and publishing. Please look out for the first “Call for Nominations” early in 2021 and more information about this annual celebration of aviation journalism coming your way soon.
09 Dec 20. Higher Organising Committee of IDEX and NAVDEX and International Defence Conference prepare for the 2021 edition. The Higher Organising Committee for the International Defence Exhibition (IDEX 2021), the Naval Defence Exhibition (NAVDEX 2021), and the International Defence Conference, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, have discussed preparations for the two exhibitions in their fourth meeting. IDEX and NAVDEX will be held from 21 – 25 February 2021 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, with the International Defence Conference being held on 20 February at the ADNOC Business Centre.
The Committee has announced that the exhibitions will see the participation of five new countries for the first time in the history of the exhibitions: Israel, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Portugal, and Azerbaijan. These additions have increased the number of countries taking part in IDEX and NAVDEX 2021 to over 60 nations, with 1,300 defence companies due to take part. Such participation demonstrates Abu Dhabi’s international position and its ability to attract a wide range of nations to participate in one of the globally leading events in the defence sector, in spite of the ongoing conditions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
IDEX 2021, NAVDEX 2021, and the International Defence Conference are organised by the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC), in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence and the General Command of the UAE Armed Forces. The events showcase the latest developments in the defence sector. They will highlight the latest in military technology, fast-tracking the development of the national defence sector. Additionally, the exhibitions forge new strategic relationships between entities attending the event and major international companies specialised in these sectors.
Both the exhibitions and the conference will be discussing how technological adoption can meet shifting global challenges, as well as discussing strategic development that can contribute toward world peace.
His Excellency Major General Staff Pilot Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee for IDEX and NAVDEX and the International Defence Conference 2021, said: “The UAE is well known as an attractive and safe destination, ready to welcome visitors from across the world. We anticipate a large turnout at IDEX and at NAVDEX, which will be held at the beginning of 2021. In spite of the ongoing challenging global conditions, we are ready to welcome the world once again to Abu Dhabi. The UAE has seen a rapid pace of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. International participants and visitors will have the opportunity to explore the latest in defence and military systems, as well as see some of the most innovative developments in these industries, given the participation of leading international companies.”
His Excellency Major General Staff Pilot Ishaq Saleh Al-Balushi, Vice Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee for IDEX and NAVDEX and the International Defence Conference 2021, commented: “IDEX and NAVDEX play a pivotal role in developing both the national and international defence sector. Our previous editions are indicative of the ongoing success that IDEX and NAVDEX have had over their history. As we make our final preparations, we have doubled our efforts and we are cooperating with a range of entities working in both the private and public sectors. Our work is proceeding according to thorough strategies that will facilitate the welcoming of VIPs, participants, guests, and visitors of the exhibitions. We look to ensure the safety and security of our participants, as well as organising an event that befits the international reputation and stature of the UAE.”
Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and Group CEO of ADNEC, commented: “ADNEC’s preparations to host the upcoming edition of IDEX 2021, the Naval Defence Exhibition NAVDEX 2021, and the International Defence Conference are well underway. We are continuing to cooperate with a wide range of relevant authorities, and have implemented a wide range of precautionary and preventative measures to ensure the health and safety of both visitors and participants. We want to set global benchmarks in the organisation and hosting of international exhibitions, demonstrating Abu Dhabi’s continued status as the region’s capital for business tourism.”
The Higher Organising Committee of IDEX and NAVDEX and the International Defence Conference are working with a range of entities in the UAE to develop this strategic event. The Committee is studying a wide range of measures that will facilitate the welcoming of international participants, exhibitors, and visitors, supporting their participation in the upcoming edition. The Committee is looking to ensure the implementation of preventive measures, providing leading health and standards for all attending the exhibition.
The 2021 International Defence Conference, accompanying the IDEX and NAVDEX exhibitions, will be held for the first time as a hybrid event, bringing together experts and specialists from all over the world virtually and on-ground at the ADNOC Business Centre. Participants will discuss the impact of innovation on the defence sector, alongside exploring how to use technology in the fourth industrial revolution. The conference will demonstrate Abu Dhabi’s leading role in advancing the global defence sector. Furthermore, it will demonstrate how international cooperation can lead to new ways for the global sector to face future challenges.
07 Dec 20. Cancellation of the 2021 Edition of the Paris Air Show. In light of the uncertainty linked to the current COVID-19 health crisis, the Paris Air Show organization has made the decision to cancel the 2021 edition of the show, which was scheduled to take place from 21 to 27 June 2021. Together with the Board of Directors of the GIFAS (French Aerospace Industries Association), the Board of Directors of the Paris Air Show has taken this inevitable decision in response to the international health crisis and the large number of visitors that this popular show attracts. This reasonable decision was agreed upon unanimously by the Paris Air Show Board members in the context of a crisis that has had an unprecedented impact on the aerospace industry. The next edition of the Paris Air Show will be held in June 2023, at a date that will be announced shortly. Exhibitors will receive a full refund of all sums already paid and the Paris air Show will take full financial responsibility for this decision.
“We are obviously disappointed not to be able to hold the 2021 edition of the Paris Air Show. After many months of all trade show activities being suspended throughout the world, the entire international aerospace and defence community was very much looking forward to being able to meet. We have already started work to ensure that the 2023 edition celebrates the resurgence of the aerospace industry on an international scale,” explains Patrick Daher, Chairman of the International Paris Air Show and Chairman of the Daher Group.
Gilles Fournier, CEO of the International Paris Air Show, added, “We would like to extend a huge thank you to all of our partners, exhibitors and service providers for the trust they have placed in us. We share their disappointment, as the Paris Air Show continues to be an extremely popular event, even in periods of crisis. The 2023 edition will be larger than ever, and our teams are already working to ensure its success.”
Established in 1909, the International Paris Air Show is still the most important show in the world for the aeronautics and space industry. In France, the show is a real driver for this sector and a major catalyst for much international collaboration. As such it is the place where the sector’s decision makers choose to meet and gather as they come here to exhibit, sell and buy all the latest innovations.
Since the Show is so massively popular with the worldwide aerospace community and the general public, it offers unrivalled opportunities for conducting business, and for being seen and known. An absolute key event for the whole profession, the International Paris Air Show is organised by SIAE, a subsidiary of GIFAS, the French Aerospace Industries Association. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/GIFAS)