NATO launches lecture series on new security challenges

  • 04 Dec. 2009 -
  • |
  • Last updated: 02 Mar. 2012 09:39

Dr Jamie Shea, Director of Policy Planning in the Private Office of the Secretary General, and former NATO Spokesman, is giving a series of six lectures on security challenges such as climate change, energy security and cyber attacks. Each lecture tackles a specific challenge and looks at what NATO and the international community can do to meet that challenge successfully.

The first lecture, which will be available online on 10 December, deals with the question of how the international community should respond to nuclear proliferation. The second lecture on the security risks of climate change will be available on 15 December, and the third lecture on international terrorism on 22 December. The last three lectures on energy security, failed and failing states, and cyber attacks will be available on 19 and 26 January, and 2 February 2010, respectively.

Please note that Dr Shea gives these lectures in a private capacity. The content and view points presented in the lectures do not necessarily represent official opinion or policy of member governments, or of NATO.

The following is the synopsis and schedule of each lecture:

  • Lecture 1 - Nuclear proliferation: how should the international community respond?

    Audio audio      Video video     Transcript

    10 December 2009
    These days there has been much focus on the prospects for the proliferation of nuclear weapons, particularly in the case of Iran and North Korea. Is it, however, inevitable that we will have more nuclear powers in the world of the 21st century? Is it too late for the international community to prevent nuclear proliferation and, if so, how should they respond to it? What can the United States and Russia do to set an example of nuclear restraint and to reinforce the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at next year's review conference?

  • Lecture 2 - Climate change

    Audio audio      Video video     Transcript

    15 December 2009
    Much of the discussion has focused on what we can do to prevent global warming. Now, however, most experts believe that global warming is inevitable and the focus is increasingly moving from prevention to mitigation or how to cope with the consequences. As a result, climate change is fast becoming a security issue as well and Defence Ministries are hard at work drawing up their plans.
    How could we cope with massive migration caused by prolonged drought or the evacuation of islands such as the Maldives, which could disappear under the oceans? Will climate change cause more freak weather conditions like Hurricane Katrina requiring military intervention? What are the likely scenarios and are we prepared to cope with the security challenges that climate change is likely to bring?

  • Lecture 3 - International terrorism: is it still a strategic threat?

    Audio audio      Video video     Transcript

    22 December 2009
    Since the attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001, we have become used to seeing terrorism as the most urgent and most important security threat. The reinforced security procedures that we have to go through every time we travel constantly remind us of the need for eternal vigilance.
    Yet are terrorist organisations like Al Qaeda as threatening today as they were back in 2001? How successful have our anti-terrorist measures been in protecting us against future attacks? Has "the global war on terrorism" diverted too much attention away from other threats such as proliferation or climate change?

  • Lecture 4 - Energy security: is this a challenge for the markets or for the strategic community as well?

    Audio audio      Video video     Transcript

    19 January 2010
    As rising powers such as China and India develop an increasing thirst for energy to spur their economic growth, and as we experience disruptions to our supplies from bilateral disputes or from freak weather conditions like hurricane Katrina, we are reminded that energy will not always be an easily available, low priced commodity.
    How do we make sure that there is enough energy to go round in the 21st century without creating new tensions or conflicts and without leading to more carbon emissions that would only accelerate the speed of climate change and bring us even more security headaches to cope with? Is energy security something best left to market forces and to regulation or is it a strategic issue where an organisation like NATO can play a useful role?

  • Lecture 5 - Failed and failing states: will they keep us busy in the next 20 years as they have during the last 20 years?

    Audio audio      Video video     Transcript

    26 January 2010
    Anybody analysing NATO's evolution since the end of the Cold War will immediately think of Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan. For the general public at least, the Alliance's intervention in these places has been the most visible aspect of its activity and indeed its principal raison d'etre. More broadly, the international community has had to grapple with the many security issues resulting from state failure.
    When is it time to intervene and how, and on which legal basis? Is the job of putting failed states back on their feet really a "mission impossible" whereby we have to lower our objectives and expectations or is nation building a viable project if we devote the right number of troops and resources to it? Which lessons have we learned from interventions in the Balkans, the Greater Middle East and Africa over the past decade?

  • Lecture 6 - Cyber attacks: hype or an increasing headache for open societies? 

    Audio audio      Video video     Transcript

    2 February 2010
    In the past, identify theft or financial crime caused by hacking into computer systems and the manipulation of supposedly confidential data seemed mostly confined to criminal gangs and to be mostly an issue of industrial and commercial security. The other popular image was that of the teenager at home, attempting to hack into the Pentagon's air defence system just to have some fun.
    But there is increasing evidence that cyber attacks are also being carried out by states to test vulnerabilities in the systems of other countries or to steal secrets. Indeed the examples of Estonia and Georgia in recent times show how effective orchestrated cyber attacks can be in paralysing - if only for a short period - the vital administrative systems of government and society.
    So how serious is the threat of cyber attack today? What can we do to prevent it and who is winning in the constant battle between the attackers and the defenders? What kind of international legal frameworks and partnerships between the public and private sectors do we need to deter cyber attacks.