10 years HCSS: the Added Strategic Value

July 3rd 2017 - 13:25

Amidst the excitement of our ten-year anniversary, The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies can take stock of the valued place it has earned in the strategic thinking landscape and look back on its ten years full of successful and interesting activities and projects.

Although research on complex geopolitical and strategic issues is at the very core of our activities (our orientation skills), most other organizations are currently taking their first steps into the field. As we provide support for both national and international businesses, governments and NGOs, their next question is merely focused on the navigation (the so-what question or our navigation skills), or on dealing with situations as they emerge (the what-are-our-options question).

The process of answering these questions is often a sensitive part of strategy development and unfolds at the core of organizations. With decision makers tending to play their cards close to their chests during the most vulnerable stages of the process, these deliberations require a lot of trust in HCSS’ capabilities as it will set the stage for the years to come.

We at HCSS have been lucky to be in these positions providing insights, being a trusted partner or sometimes an outside change agent, but very often also serving as a public interpreter of world news, explaining to the general public what is taking place on the world stage.

Our proudest moments often come a few years after our work, when our analyses proved to be on the spot, and gained traction, sparking new initiatives or initiating a change of course. Of course, we were not always completely on the spot. 

We were among the first in the Netherlands to predict the resource constraints infecting industries today. In 2009, the rare-earth elements Neodymium and Dysprosium became important for all kinds of applications greening the economy, and spurred numerous activities regarding the security of supply strategies and policies for raw materials of the Netherlands.

The Dutch Ministry of Defence, which we are proud to support, is also a close partner of HCSS. We helped with their Strategic Monitor strategy development approach and established new ways of co-organizing security as part of the defense and security ecosystem. This culminated in the third Future Force Conference 2017 in the World Forum in The Hague, which hosted 1200 guests from 50 countries and sparked new collaborations across the entire spectrum of governments, businesses, NGOs, think tanks and educational institutions.

We were among the co-organizers of what nowadays is coined as the world largest security cluster – The Hague Security Delta. And in cooperation with a small group of government officials, we also developed the National Security Strategy that was launched in 2006 – a document that nowadays comprises the very cornerstone for security policy in the Netherlands.

Together with several partners, we have recently been involved in analyses on the crossovers between technology (Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Implants, Drones, Hyperloops, etc.) and legal regimes and applications, taking inventory of the future digital-legal developments, needs and opportunities for the Netherlands and The Hague – the City of Peace, Justice and Security.

Looking back on these activities makes me wonder what the future will bring. Ten years ago, we would never have imagined what we have since been able to achieve in these last years. Therefore, I’m looking forward to the next decennium – working from our new home at Lange Voorhout 1, which we will enter in the next few months. I hope to meet you there again!

Michel Rademaker, Deputy Director 

This post is part of a series on the HCSS 10 year anniversary. Throughout the year analysts, experts and former colleagues will publish a post reflecting on the past 10 years. 

Read the post by Paul Sinning, Executive Director

Read the post by Rob de Wijk, founder and non-Executive Director 

Read the post by Sijbren de Jong, Strategic Analyst

Read the post by Stephan De Spiegeleire, Principal Scientist 

Read the post by Karlijn Jans, Strategic Analyst 

Read the post by Willem Oosterveld, Strategic Analyst

Michel Rademaker is the deputy Director of HCSS. He has fifteen years of hands-on experience as an officer in The Royal Netherlands Army, where he held various military operational and staff posts and also served a term in former Yugoslavia. He has a masters degree obtained at the University of Tilburg. After leaving the armed forces, Mr. Rademaker went on to work at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) as a project and program manager and senior policy advisor on security topics for ten years. Eg. as NATO RTO project leader, he and his team developed serious gaming assessment methods and conducted several assessments of security technologies, and worked on numerous strategic security topics.