Security and defence 2024

Join senior policymakers, military officials and security experts for this unique conference, unpacking how defence actors can adapt to tackle the security concerns of the modern world.

27 February 2024 — 8:00AM TO 6:00PM
Chatham House and Online
Image of soldiers at sunset on exercise

Creating a security architecture for the 21st century

The international community is facing a number of serious strategic challenges. Wars in Europe and the Middle East originating from long-standing geopolitical tensions, rising pressure in the Asia-Pacific region, and resource scarcity driving further instability across many parts of the world.

As well as re-evaluating traditional aspects of modern warfare – like land, sea and air defences – the defence ecosystem is confronting the growing risks of cyber and artificial intelligence (AI) to critical infrastructure, as well as the opportunities presented by these new technologies. 2024 presents a truly uncertain and unstable environment for security policymakers, beset with acute challenges. But it also creates opportunities for alliances and institutions to be strengthened and reformed to ensure that they are fit for purpose.

The 2024 conference will explore the implications of the changing global security order, as well as the nature of conflict and the potential avenues for enhanced cooperation on issues of common and strategic interest to successfully tackle 21st-century threats.

Why attend?

  • Understand how defence leaders are viewing the many and varied threats to national safety and what countries and defence organizations are doing to counter these.
  • Gain unique insights into the next generation of threats from experts in cyber, critical infrastructure, space and more.
  • In-person networking with senior leaders from across government, the army and business at Chatham House and access to exclusive ‘under the rule’ sessions.

Who attends?

Chatham House exterior.

The venue

Chatham House is a trusted forum for debate and independent analysis. Our conferences provide access to thought leadership, market insight and influential ideas by bringing together policymakers, world leaders, senior business executives and sector specialists.

Join us at our world-famous Grade II listed home in beautiful St James Square, London.


Tuesday 27 February (timings subject to change)

Keynote address

UK defence policy in a heightened security landscape


Towards a new defence landscape?

  • What does the war in Ukraine tells us about the traditional warfare dimensions of land, sea and air? What lessons should be incorporated into 21st-century defence policy as a result?

  • What has the Israel-Hamas War shown the role of smaller states to be as mediators in conflict zones and has this shifted the diplomatic balance when it comes to global security?

  • Have recent conflicts exposed a misperception in the way that defence policymakers view current deterrence strategies and do these stakeholders need to urgently review their processes?


  • How has private sector involvement in providing technological resources, intelligence services, and logistics support for Ukraine impacted the dynamics of the conflict?


Networking break


NATO's horizons after Vilnius

  • What does Sweden’s accession to NATO and the country’s rapid move away from strategic neutrality mean for the alliance’s northern flank?

  • Is it likely that more countries step up to exceed the 2 per cent of GDP defence spending target to replace dwindling munitions stockpiles and provide a credible deterrence position?

  • Why is effective public and private industry collaboration essential in securing production resiliency in an ever-changing security landscape?


  • What do ‘minilateral’ agreements, such as AUKUS and the Quad, mean for the future of NATO?


In conversation: New frontiers of conflict | The new space race

  • Why is a mastery of the ‘high ground’ of space so crucial to on-the-ground conflicts?

  • Where should the private sector be looking to invest their research and development resources to support governments’ space defence targets?

  • What challenges does space mining pose to the international community?


  • Which international agreements or frameworks can help ensure responsible behaviour in the context of space competition?


Networking lunch


European defence in an uncertain environment

  • What challenges must be overcome to secure effective cross-continental defence collaboration? How would this benefit European security?

  • Where should governments focus their attention when it comes to future security challenges: Russia or China? Somewhere else entirely?

  • Is the era of ‘high north; low tension’ over for the Arctic Circle? How do European states counter rising tensions in the polar north?


  • What role will the UK play in the future of European security and defence? Can it position itself as a technological leader in this space?


Networking break


Mission critical: creating resilient national infrastructure

  • Is the growing scale and severity of threats to critical infrastructure reshaping their perceived importance compared to traditional land, sea and air threats?

  • Why do attacks on critical infrastructure have such far-reaching effects? How do countries secure their technological resources to minimize these consequences?

  • Will fragility in sub-sea cabling and sub-sea pipeline infrastructure mark the next domain of conflict for actors to counter?


  • How can collaboration between defence entities, government agencies and the private sector enhance the overall resilience of critical infrastructure?

  • Should special attention be given to non-state actors and their capabilities to wage cyber wars?


Networking break


Spotlight session: New frontiers of conflict | The implications of AI and emerging technologies

Exclusive to in-person participants and held under the Chatham House Rule.

  • Why does the rapid advancement of AI technology present such a fundamental change to traditional battlefield threats?

  • What are the concerns and implications surrounding the possibility of an arms race in AI development, particularly in relation to the creation and deployment of autonomous weapons?

  • Should regulating military AI be of urgent concern to the international community? What does China’s participation in the 2023 AI Safety Summit say about the country’s views on these emerging technologies?


  • How does the international community apply learnings from the rapid advancement of AI to understand the risks posed by emerging technologies like quantum computing?


Spotlight session: New frontiers of conflict | Security policy amid a climate crisis

Exclusive to in-person participants and held under the Chatham House Rule.

  • What will the cascading risks associated with climate change be for the security and defence ecosystem?

  • How will potential shortages of critical mineral and energy supplies intensify competition between countries?

  • How should alliances and international organizations integrate climate risk prevention strategies into their security policies to ensure high-level support?


  • Is decarbonization a priority for the defence industry? Should it be more of a focus for large players?



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