was the overall topic of the ISMS Annual Conference, which took place this year at the Austrian National Defence Academy in Vienna from October 21 until October 23. We give many thanks to the lecturers for their presentations and to all participants for sharing their rich experiences with us. We look forward to present the abstracts of the presentations done at the conference and a Conference Summary in form of an academic publication on this site.
Background Information for the ISMS Annual Conference 2014 in Vienna
The title of this year’s ISMS Annual Conference, “Armed Forces for 2020 and beyond – Roles | Tasks | Expectations”, opens the door for a broad thematic approach. By raising the question of future requirements and the possible role of armed forces, it tries to identify the security policy environment for future operations and missions.
The topic should also encourage outside of the box-thinking. Just to mention a few questions and considerations coming up immediately: What technical innovations are already on the way, waiting to be implemented? Drones are already in use, raising serious discussions and disputes within the international law community. Additionally, which effects and impacts will robotics and miniaturization of systems deliver?
Another field of interest will be the composition of armed forces. Most European states have changed their military structure to professional armies, while private military companies are prepared to fill security gaps. Do we have any idea of how cooperation and division of labour will look like in 5 to 10 years? What type of individuals will be willing to join the armed forces in the future? What kind of selection criteria and societal differentiation can be expected?
Regarding operational arts: do European armies still prepare for the previous war (as it is often said) or will scenarios like the most recent ones in Ukraine or in Mali lead to significant changes? In other words – does the training, equipment and education play up to the current and future security needs?
Seen on a more general level: what will be the future understanding of keywords like security, strategy, war and defence, and combatants? Can future security requirements have the potential to influence structures and ministerial competencies? Will the UN, NATO or the EU play the same role in 10 years as they do today? Can we expect the evolution of a common Western or European strategic culture and if yes, to what end? Did we experience similar situations and challenges in the past?
At a first glance, the topic seems mainly to focus on a European perspective. But this does not exclude additional views and expectations from beyond Europe, because it is the global environment that is shaping Europe’s approach to future security challenges.
The overall theme chosen for 2014 is intended to inspire participants of the conference and, especially, scholars, professors and researchers. It should be perceived as an opportunity to “enlighten” yourself, your working group and the whole ISMS community.