Security and Defence 2017

The challenges of changing politics and shifting alliances

6 Mar 2017 - 09:30 to 7 Mar 2017 - 13:30
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Chatham House, London 

Many countries, perhaps most significantly the US, face significant challenges to their established domestic political order, with major implications for their approach to security policy and to international security cooperation. Defence policy is also being questioned, given recent difficult experiences with military intervention in conflict zones. At the same time, popular disaffection with established security and defence norms, new and emerging threats, and new political, economic and technological developments present further challenges for defence and security policy. 

But what exactly are the drivers behind these developments, which specific security cooperation arrangements are being called into question and what are the potential alternatives?  What are the future challenges in security and defence, and what capabilities are required to meet them?   

This conference will bring together policy-makers, industry leaders and academic experts to examine these questions, with discussions focused on: 

  • Current and emerging challenges in international security
  • Significant political transitions and what they mean for defence
  • Cooperatively combating terrorism and violent extremism
  • The continued effectiveness of international organizations versus bilateral arrangements
  • Changing attitudes and their institutional implications
  • Cooperation in international defence markets and procurement 

The Chatham House Rule 
To enable as open a debate as possible, this conference will be held under the Chatham House Rule.


Monday 6 March

Session One | The Changing Landscape for Cooperation

This session will set the scene for the conference, considering the major challenges to existing patterns of international cooperation in security. 

  • What are public expectations of international security cooperation, and to what extent have they been met? Do elites, experts and the public have similar priorities?
  • Are there now major differences between traditional security partners? Are global trends pushing partners in different directions?
  • How will the US election result affect potential avenues for cooperation in security and defence? 
  • Where and how have recent military interventions strengthened or weakened international cooperation?
  • What is the impact of continuing economic austerity? How will this continue to impact security policy and capacity?

Session Two | Political Transitions and their Implications

This session will analyse regional political transitions and their implications for future cooperative efforts in international security.

  • What are the most significant ongoing global political challenges affecting defence and security? Is there an international wave of populism, and what does this mean for the sector?
  • What does Brexit say – if anything – about wider European trends? What is the direction of EU security policy, at both an institutional and national level?
  • What does the US election say about public and elite attitudes to security and security cooperation? How similar are the security approaches of the United States to those of its allies?
  • What effect will the US election result likely have on its role and approach towards international security? 
  • How are non-Western powers changing their approaches to cooperation with each other, as well as with Western powers? 

Session Three | International Organizations versus Bilateral Agreements

This session will examine changing attitudes towards traditional models and existing arrangements for cooperation and their capacity to meet emerging crises.

  • Can NATO change fast and far enough to be effective? Is there a real consensus among members about what needs to be done?
  • What is the future for EU defence and security cooperation post-Brexit? What will future relationships with the UK look like?
  • How are other regions organizing their security cooperation? What can the transatlantic community learn from them?
  • How will the US election result likely effect existing arrangements and the continuing significance of international institutions in defence? 
  • Are bilateral or multilateral relationships the way forward? Can these work if the US is not one of the partners?

Session Four | Evolving Threats and Violent Extremism

This session will evaluate the nature of emerging and changing threats, the specific capabilities required to meet them and the need for international cooperation to do so.

  • How far is there international agreement on the nature and origin of security threats? Do terms such as terrorism and extremism help or hinder cooperation?
  • Is there a difference between Western and non-Western perceptions of terrorism? If so, what are the reasons for this?
  • Why are states still finding it difficult to cooperate against violent extremism?
  • What military capabilities are required to meet evolving threats and modern terrorism? How can states and businesses work together to meet these requirements internationally? 

1730 Close of day one and reception

Tuesday 7 March

Session Five | The Future of Military Intervention

This session will explore recent experiences in international military intervention and lessons for future cooperative efforts internationally.

  • Who supports military intervention, and for what reasons? How do views differ among intervening powers? What do people in conflict regions want?
  • Recent Western interventions have combined national and international efforts. Can this ever be successful?
  • How do interventions by non-Western powers differ? Are they more successful? How can Western alliances more effectively cooperate with them?
  • Is there a future for military humanitarian intervention? How is this likely to be shaped by past experiences? 

Session Six | International Markets and National Procurement in Defence

This session will assess how stakeholders can work together to match capabilities to specific crises in multilateral security environments, and examine opportunities for cooperation in the context of ongoing political shifts.  

  • How can industry work with governments to match capabilities to threats in multinational and asymmetrical security environments?
  • Will national defence interests and priorities diverge, and will there be a return to industrial protectionism? What might this mean for international defence industrial cooperation?
  • What is the impact of continuing budgetary austerity? How can regional cooperation help?
  • How can governments and industry work together to take advantage of the latest technology trends for security and defence in the perceived absence of long-term budget stability? 

1330 End of conference

© The Royal Institute of International Affairs 2017

Keynote speakers

*Accepted in principle


Professor Dr Sven Biscop to speak at the Chatham House Security and Defence 2017 conference

Professor Dr Sven Biscop

Director, Europe in the World Programme, Egmont - Royal Institute for International Relations

Ertharin Cousin to speak at the Chatham House Security and Defence 2017 conference

Ertharin Cousin

Executive Director, United Nations World Food Programme

Patrick Keller to speak at the Chatham House Security and Defence 2017 conference

Patrick Keller

Coordinator of Foreign and Security Policy, Konrad Adenauer Foundation

Janne Kuusela to speak at Chatham House Security & Defence 2017 conference

Janne Kuusela

Director General, Head of the Defence Policy Department, Ministry of Defence, Finland

Rt Hon Julian Lewis MP to speak at the Chatham House Security and Defence 2017 conference

Rt Hon Julian Lewis MP

Chair, Defence Select Committee, United Kingdom

Claudia Major to speak at the Chatham House Security and Defence 2017 conference

Claudia Major

Senior Associate, International Security, German Institute for International and Security Affairs

Farah Pandith to speak at Chatham House Security and Defence 2017 conference

Farah Pandith

Adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

Jana Puglierin to speak at the Chatham House Security and Defence 2017 conference

Jana Puglierin

Head, Alfred von Oppenheim Center for European Policy Studies, German Council on Foreign Relations

Thomas Rid

Professor of Security Studies, King’s College London

Paul Schulte to speak at the Chatham House Security and Defence 2017 conference

Paul Schulte

Non-Resident Senior Associate, Carnegie Europe

Hugo Slim to speak at the Chatham House Security and Defence 2017 conference

Hugo Slim

Head of Policy, International Committee of the Red Cross

Valeriy Solovey to speak at the Chatham House Security and Defence 2017 conference

Valery Solovey

Dean, Moscow State Institute for Foreign Affairs

Constanze Stelzenmller, Robert Bosch Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

Constanze Stelzenmüller

Robert Bosch Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

Professor Matthew Uttley to speak at the Chatham House Security and Defence 2017 conference

Professor Matthew Uttley

Dean of Defence Studies, Kings College London


For any questions about which rate applies to you, please call Dora Rencoret on +44 (0)20 7314 2785

 RATE (+VAT): 
Partners and major corporate members 
All organizations£645
Standard corporate members 
Commercial organizations£1,390
Government departments£820
NGOs and academics£540
Commercial organizations£1,535
Government departments£920
NGOs and academics£595


Lockheed Martin to sponsor the Chatham House Security and Defence 2017 conference

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for this event, please contact
Ben Cumming on +44 (0) 20 7957 5729

Media partners 

Foreign Affairs to partner with Chatham House on the Security and Defence 2017 conference

NDI to partner with Chatham House on the Security and Defence 2017 conference

Shephard Media to partner with Chatham House on the Security and Defence 2017 conference

Tech UK to partner with Chatham House on the Security and Defenc e2017 conference

If you are interested in becoming a media partner for this event, please contact 
Amy Smith on +44 (0)20 7957 5755


Chatham House
10 St James's Square
[email protected]

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7314 2785
Fax: +44 (0)20 7957 5710

If you wish to book the venue for your own event please phone +44 (0)20 7314 2764

The nearest tube station is Piccadilly Circus which is on the Piccadilly and the Bakerloo Underground lines. From Piccadilly follow Regent Street southwards towards Pall Mall and take the first road on the right called Jermyn Street. Duke of York Street is the second road on the left and leads to St James's Square. Chatham House is immediately on your right.


Although we cannot book accommodation for delegates, we have arranged a reduced rate at some nearby hotels, where you can book your own accommodation. Please inform the hotel that you will be attending a conference at Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs) to qualify for the Institute's reduced rate.

Please note all rates are subject to availability.

Flemings Mayfair
Half Moon Street
London - W1J 7BH

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7499 2964
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7499 1817

Standard Single from £195 + VAT

The Cavendish London
81 Jermyn Street
London - SW1Y 6JF

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7930 2111
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7839 2125

Standard Single £205 + VAT

Book The Cavendish online

The Stafford London 
St James's Place
London - SW1A 1NJ

Tel: 020 7518 1125
Fax: 020 7493 7121

Standard Single £235 +VAT

The Savoy London
London - WC2R 0EU

Tel: 020 7836 4343
Fax: 020 7240 6040 

Standard Single £250 +VAT

Press registration

This conference will be held under the Chatham House Rule. Information for journalists.

Press can request a press pass.