Opening the seminar on Saturday afternoon, Dr. Magdalena Kirchner, spokeswoman of YATA Germany gave introductory remarks, followed by greeting from Sebastian Feyock, Mattia Nelles and Veronika Sobolova as members of the board of YATA Germany. After the introductory round, the group headed to the river Spree for a two hours long social river cruise.
Back at the seminar’s venue, all participants gathered in their respective working groups to develop a first set of policy recommendations on the respective topics of the working groups. The basis for debate were the essays drafted by all participants prior to the seminar. The discussion in the working groups were aimed at identifying relevant recommendations to NATO in the fields of cyber security, crisis management and partnership/enlargement policy. The first day ended with a social dinner.
The second day started with the first panel debate on “How to deter digital warriors? NATO and the cyberspace” with all seminar participants. Mattia Nelles chaired the debate in which the panelists gave their inputs and commented on the essays and the first round of recommendations by the respective working group participants. Sebastian Michael Müller, Desk Officer with the German Federal Foreign Office, opened the round of inputs with an introduction to the applicability of international law to cyber hacking, referencing the case of the U.S. Democratic National Convention (DNC) hack earlier this year. Dr. Olaf Theiler, Head of the Future Analysis Section at the Bundeswehr Planning Office, stressed the importance of building resilient social structures in order to withstand attacks on cyber structures and critical infrastructure. In the last input, Isabel Skierka, Researcher with the Digital Society Institute at the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) wrapped up the round focusing on the German Cyber Security Strategy and new threats posed by hacker attacks on networks of the internet of things.
The second panel debate “In for the long run? NATO’s future in crisis management” put the focus on the Alliance’s future commitment to project and build stability in crisis regions. Mihai Carp, Deputy Head of Section in the Operations Division of the International Staff at NATO HQ, emphasized the importance for NATO and the international community to come up with post-intervention strategies prior to planning military engagements. Lt. Gen. Frank Leidenberger, Commander German Multinational Corps Shares / Basic Military Organization, German Army Command, supported this assessment by calling on NATO’s member states to intensify pre-operation planning and sober assessments of the situations on the ground prior to engaging militarily in crisis situations. In the panel’s final input Nicole Birtsch, Reaserch Associate with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) added her extensive experience in reconciliatory work in Afghanistan and gave insights on how to include civil society actors in peace processes.
The last panel posed the question “Enlargement, enablement, entrapment? NATO’s future approach to cooperative security”. James Mackey, Head of Euro-Atlantic and Global Partnership at NATO, explained the Alliance’s approach to flexible and adaptable partnership programs that aimed at increasing interoperability on the individual, state, and regional levels. Capt. (N) Arvi Tavaila, Defence Attaché for Germany, the Netherlands, Hungary and Austria with the Finnish Embassy Berlin, explained the importance of NATO for the European security architecture from the view of a partnership country’s military. Finally, Shalva Dzidziguri, Research Fellow with the Georgian Center for Security and Development, called on NATO to keep up the open door policy towards Georgia and Ukraine and to not give into Russian ambitions to having a say in NATO’s enlargement policy.
Following the three panels, the working groups developed policy recommendations during intensive debates on Sunday afternoon. In the evening, the participants gathered for a conference dinner. On the topic of “Germany & NATO – Leading from the center?” the participants discussed Germany’s role in Europe and the transatlantic alliance with Christoph Schwarz, Senior Analyst with the White Paper Project Group at the German Ministry of Defence, and Eric Povel, Program Officer in the Engagements Section of Public Diplomacy Division at NATO.
The conference day started with an early bird breakfast conversation with James Appathurai, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy & Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia during which the participants discussed NATO’s relationship with Russia as well as the challenges to the Alliance posed by the incoming US administration.
Following the breakfast, the young professionals could participate in the German Atlantic Association’s high-level conference “NATO Talk around the Brandenburger Tor” with approximately 600 attendees at the Hotel Adlon. The final recommendations were presented as printed hand-outs and a PowerPoint presentation throughout the conference on Monday.
The Booklet to the seminar can be accessed here: http://www.ata-dag.de/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/BOOKLET-YATA-2016.pdf
The policy recommendations can be accessed here: http://www.ata-dag.de/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/NATO-s-Future-2016.pdf