Security and Defence 2018

New realities, new rules

12 Mar 2018 - 09:30 to 13 Mar 2018 - 13:30
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Chatham House, London


With the security implications of recent political transitions becoming more apparent, stakeholders are currently taking stock in a new and uncertain environment. While some recent political changes may prove to be local and transitory, others seem to reflect structural shifts in international power. 
What is new, and how have things really changed?  How can states and other actors adapt to the increasingly layered and multidirectional conflicts? How are relationships evolving, and where is there potential for greater cooperation? 

The annual Chatham House Security and Defence conference will bring together policy-makers, industry leaders and academic experts to assess this new reality, with discussions focusing on: 

  • The changing security landscape and nature of conflict
  • The shifting significance of different actors and institutions
  • Regional stances and their continuing responses to emerging threats
  • Evolving norms and their implications for future engagement 
  • New alliances and the future of multilateralism in defence

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


Monday 12 March

Session One | Overview 

This session will set the scene by considering general trends in international security across different regions and whether international security is experiencing a ‘sea change’.

  • How much has really changed in the security landscape over the past year? How much is the same? What are the most significant developments? 
  • How has the character of conflict changed? How far have combatants and the wider international community adapted? 
  • What types of actors are driving international developments in security? To what extent has there been a reversion to traditional actors and state-led environments? 
  • Is multilateralism in decline? Is there a shift towards bilateral security arrangements? Is this a good thing? 
  • How is the Western wave of populism affecting defence policy? Is there a gulf between elite and public attitudes regarding security and intervention? 

Session Two | New Relationships, New Alliances  

This session will assess the shifting stances of global powers and their implications for existing security relationships.

  • Who now shapes US security policy, and to what ends? How should allies and rivals view conflicting unilateralist and multilateralist messages? 
  • What are the alternatives to the US security guarantee?  
  • How is China’s security policy changing? How will it balance its regional concerns with its global interests?
  • What does the North Korea crisis say about international responses to tension? What are the key factors?  
  • To what extent are regional powers re-evaluating their security relationships?  What alliances are strengthening in response to recent incidents, and what is the potential for increased multilateral cooperation? 

Session Three | New Patterns of Intervention 

This session will look at the new actors and new methods of intervention, the evolving norms and perceptions, and the implications for future conflict.

  • Who are the new leaders of military interventions? Do the actions of Saudi Arabia and Russia represent a significant shift?  What are the drivers and norms? 
  • Are the days of large-scale Western military deployments over? How effective are new models of supporting local actors, or using non-military means? 
  • What different dynamics are driving public opinion on intervention in different countries? What do the publics in non-Western countries feel about intervention? 
  • How has the terror threat changed, and is foreign military intervention needed to counter it?

Session Four | Nuclear Reality

This session will evaluate emerging nuclear threats around the world and the continuing effectiveness of arms control, non-proliferation and deterrence. 

  • How are nuclear weapons states and potential proliferators making use of their nuclear status today? To what extent does this represent a new reality in international security? How far does it threaten world order and stability?
  • What does this new reality mean for existing approaches to arms control and non-proliferation while considering crisis management? 
  • Can multilateralism work effectively in nuclear non-proliferation regimes? Why has multilateralism not been effective so far against North Korea? Do states need to change their approach? 
  • What can recent experiences tell us about the effectiveness of nuclear weapons as a deterrent? How can this inform future policy? 

Tuesday 13 March 

Session Five | New Approaches for European Security

This session will explore international relationships in European defence, how they will continue to evolve and the region’s continuing role in international security.

  • How is Brexit affecting European security relationships? Will there be new Franco-German leadership on European defence? 
  • What sort of security role will the EU have in the future? Is there a credible European alternative to US leadership, in NATO or through the EU? 
  • What are the external and internal threats to European democracy? How can European non-military tools foster political and social resilience within Europe? 
  • Are NATO and the EU still the ‘only games in town’? What are the alternatives for multilateral or bilateral cooperation? 
  • What are the implications of Russia’s attempts to build new partnerships? Does this inevitably mean new competition within Europe, or is there a potential route to stable coexistence?

Session Six | New Relationships in Defence Capability 

This session will assess how changes in business, public opinion and the threat picture are altering capability requirements and procurement.

  • What are the prevailing public attitudes regarding security and defence spending? How will this continue to affect procurement strategies? How will economic austerity continue to impact capability and procurement? 
  • What challenges exist regarding international cooperation in procurement for defence, given ongoing political transitions? How will Brexit reshape EU defence-industrial policy?   
  • What is the outlook for non-Western markets and businesses? How globalized is the international defence market?
  • How can public and private stakeholders cooperate more effectively in procurement, to meet capability requirements and take advantage of technological developments? 

1330 End of conference

© The Royal Institute of International Affairs 2018


General Philip M. Breedlove to speak at Chatham House Security and Defense 2018 conference

General Philip Breedlove

Supreme Allied Commander Europe, NATO (2013 - 16)

Howard Bromberg to speak at Chatham House Security and Defence 2018 conference

Howard Bromberg

Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Integrated Air and Missile Defense, Lockheed Martin

Jorge Domecq to speak at Chatham House Security and Defence 2016 conference

Jorge Domecq (tbc)

Chief Executive, European Defence Agency

Admiral James Foggo to speak at the Chatham House Security and Defence 2018 conference

Admiral James Foggo

Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples; Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa

Rear Admiral Alah Goh to speak at Chatham House Security and Defence 2018 conference

Rear Admiral Alan Goh

Group Chief of Policy and Strategy, Singapore Ministry of Defence

Elena Gomez Castro to speak at Chatham House Security and Defence 2018 conference

Elena Gomez Castro

Director General of Policy and Strategy, Ministry of Defence, Spain

Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer

Director, Paris Office, German Marshall Fund of the United States

Yuichi Hosoya to speak at Chatham House Security and Defence 2018 conference

Yuichi Hosoya

Senior Fellow, The Tokyo Foundation

Ambassador Tacam Ildem to speak at Chatham House Security and Defence 2018 conference

Ambassador Tacan Ildem

Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, NATO

Sir Julian King to speak at the Chatham House Security and Defence 2018 conference

Sir Julian King

Commissioner for the Security Union, European Commission

Andrey Kortunov to speak at the Chatham House Security and Defence 2018 conference

Andrey Kortunov

Director General, Russian International Affairs Council

Patricia Lewis

Dr Patricia Lewis

Research Director, International Security, Chatham House

Claudia Major to speak at the Chatham House Security and Defence 2018 conference

Claudia Major

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

Wendy R. Sherman to speak at the Chatham House Security and Defence 2018 conference

Wendy R. Sherman

Senior Counselor, Albright Stonebridge Group; Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, US Department of State (2011-2015)

Sir Adam Thomson to speak at Chatham House Security and Defence 2018 conference

Sir Adam Thomson

Director, European Leadership Network

Kurt Volker to speak at the Chatham House Security and Defence 2017 conference

Kurt Volker

US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations; Executive Director, The McCain Institute for International Leadership

Gavin Williamson to speak at the Chatham House Security and Defence 2018 conference

Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP

Secretary of State for Defence, United Kingdom

Lassina Zerbo to speak at Chatham House Security and Defence 2018 conference

Lassina Zerbo

Executive Secretary, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization

Pricing and booking information 

Ways to book:

  1. Phone: Call Georgia Dalton on +44 (0)20 7314 2785
  2. Online: Click here to complete the online registration form
  3. Email / Post: Download a PDF registration form, complete and return to Saoirse McKeon via email or post: Chatham House, 10 St. James’s Square, London, SW1Y 4LE
  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

Your delegate pass includes:

  • Conference attendance
  • Documentation
  • Lunch and refreshments

Travel and accommodation are not included. View a list of recommended hotels here.


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

Media partners

techUK Shephard MediaNDI

If you are interested in becoming a media partner for this event, please contact 
Ayesha Arif on +44 (0)20 7957 5753

Supporting organizations

Menas Associates 

If you are interested in becoming a supporting organization for this event, please contact 
Ayesha Arif on +44 (0)20 7957 5753


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

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7957 5643
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
13 Half Moon Street
London - W1J 7BH

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7499 2964
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7499 1817
[email protected]

Classic Double without breakfast: £195 +VAT

The Cavendish London
81 Jermyn Street
London - SW1U 6JF

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7930 2111
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7839 2125
[email protected] 

Classic Room without breakfast: £205 +VAT

Book The Cavendish online

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

Tel: 020 7493 0111
Fax: 020 7493 7121
[email protected]

Classic Queen without breakfast: £247 +VAT
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Press registration

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

Press can request a press pass.

Contact us 

For enquiries relating to the conference agenda or sponsorship please call Ben Cumming on +44 (0) 20 7957 5729

For registration enquiries please call Georgia Dalton on +44 (0)20 7314 2785

For general enquiries please email [email protected]