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NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept: Key Insights from the Global Expert Symposium

September 15th 2020 - 12:20

"Imagine Carl von Clausewitz sitting on a tripod stool playing with Lego"

On June 30th, The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) and the Netherlands Defence Academy (NLDA), hosted a Global Expert Symposium on NATO’s Warfighting Capstone Concept (NWCC), in coordination with NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT). At the Symposium the NWCC Team presented unclassified findings from the Capstone Concept, followed by discussions between experts. Now, HCSS and the NLDA present the key findings of the Symposium.

Even though the Alliance’s historical track-record shows that future success is possible, this is not guaranteed. NATO’s military superiority is under threat, with China and Russia actively recalibrating more offensive military postures. Today, Members of the Alliance are already subject to persistent attacks under traditional thresholds of war. Conflicts close to the Alliance borders also harness considerable spillover risk to Allied territories. Tomorrow, conflicts will be characterized by the widening of the battlespace, the fusion of physical and non-physical dimensions, and the rise of borderless warfare.

The report presents the main takeaways from the Symposium, which guide NATO’s future capability development so that it can continue to defend and protect the interests and values of its members.

Read the complete report here.

Dr. Tim Sweijs is the Director of Research at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. He is the initiator, creator and author of numerous studies, methodologies, and tools for horizon scanning, early warning, conflict analysis, national security risk assessment, and strategy and capability development. Tim has lectured at universities and military academies around the world. His main research interest concerns the changing character of contemporary conflict. Tim is a Senior Research Fellow at the Netherlands Defence Academy and an Affiliate at the Center for International Strategy, Technology and Policy in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Bianca Torossian is a Strategic Analyst at HCSS. Her studies at The University of Sydney, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Leiden University (The Hague), earned her a Bachelor degree in political science, political economy and sociology, and a Master degree in political science and international organization. For her Master Thesis, Bianca analyzed how the institutional legitimacy of the European Union was impacted by Brexit, and hopes later to reopen this line of research and explore how the nationalistic tendencies of states effect the social legitimacy of multilateral institutions. At HCSS, Bianca primarily focusses on security and diplomacy. A specific area of interest is the field of technology and AI in defense contexts, which ties into a HCSS research project that critically analyzes the challenges and opportunities posed by robotic and autonomous systems in the military. She contributes to a range projects commissioned by the Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence.