MAST Advanced Workshop (MAW) 2019
Denmark 2–3 September 2019
“Following Disruptive Technologies – Northern Coasts”
“Three Points on the Devil’s Triangle: The Arctic, Baltic and Nordic Littorals”
There is a plethora of future and emerging technologies that have the potential to challenge the paradigms of developing, procuring, and deploying military platforms and technologies, and to aid understanding of some of the operational challenges and constraints.
During two intensive days, you will join a coordinated working groups (choice of three syndicates) to evaluate evolving disruptive technologies, analyse the impact (threats and opportunities) they pose to future military planning, and identify best practices to develop, procure and deploy effective capabilities to tomorrow’s war-fighters.
This workshop will build upon the highly successful one held in Portsmouth in 2018. All participants will be sent a copy of the White Paper as a part of their introduction package.
This first-in-class workshop, Following Disruptive Technologies – Northern Coasts, will deliver a fully interactive, task-driven forum, demanding maximum immersion from every registrant.
Whether you are responsible for operating or developing military platforms/systems, the MAST Advanced Workshop format will help you evaluate those disruptive technologies that will pose the greatest challenges, and identify possible opportunities as a result.
A white paper, covering the issues raised and conclusions formed, will be issued to all participants within 6 weeks of the workshop.
MAW 2019 will take place at the Danish Parliament (Christiansborg Palace) in Copenhagen on 2–3 September 2019.
Syndicates – formation and function
Each syndicate will be directed/moderated by a paradigm-challenging individual, of either military, industry, or academic/research background, and renowned for work in their specialist field.
Syndicate leaders are charged with keeping their workgroup on target to solve the assigned task(s), report back to the entire group (all syndicates’ members and observers) in common sessions, and considering subsequent revisions, prepare their statements and take part in day two’s round table session.
Syndicate members (20 pax maximum)
Syndicate members will actively discuss the workshop’s critical issues, and (guided by their Syndicate leaders) address the set task(s) and prepare statements to go back to the common group.
Syndicate members will receive briefing documentation in August 2019, to help prepare them for their key role in this highly interactive event.
Observers (40 pax maximum)
Registrants who wish to take a less active role in the discussions and overall function of the workshop, can simply register to “observe” the workings of any chosen syndicate.
Theatre-style seating will be prepared, adjacent to the Syndicate working group table.
Advanced Workshop Management Group
Commodore Patrick Tyrrell OBE Royal Navy
A retired UK naval officer who served in both submarines and in the intelligence world.
Since retiring some 15 years ago he has been involved with a number of companies looking at senior management issues and, more recently, specialised in strategic analysis and disruptive technologies and the implications to modern warfare.
Pat has spoken at a number of conferences across the globe and was involved with SAGE International and MAST in setting up the initial Advanced Workshop in 2018.
Dr. John Bruni
Dr. John Bruni is CEO of SAGE International Australia, an Adelaide-based geopolitical think-tank. He has had experience in the Middle East serving as a senior level analyst/advisor for the UAE.
John has been a security academic working at the University of Adelaide where he pioneered innovative workshops on asymmetric warfare in both Australia and the UAE. His research interests include counter-terrorism, geospatial intelligence, capacity building in Africa and the Western Pacific, and maritime strategy.
It is the latter interest that led John to develop with colleague CDRE Pat Tyrrell OBE RN (Ret’d), through SAGE International Australia & MAST, the first of our series of MAST Advanced Workshops in Portsmouth in 2018.
Commodore Pat Tyrrell
Ret. UK Royal Navy
Dr John Bruni
SAGE International, Australia
Admiral Stephane Verwaerde
Ret. French Navy
Admiral Radamanthys Fountoulakis
Ret. Hellenic Navy
Captain Bo Wallander
Ret. Royal Swedish Navy
Commodore Andre van Konigsbrugge
Ret. Royal Dutch Navy
In a recent opinion piece in Foreign Policy (15 March) authored by former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, Russia’s Next Land Grab Won’t Be in an Ex-Soviet State. It Will Be in Europe, he argued that Russian President Vladimir Putin may consider a highly belligerent posture against the Nordic states – Finland and Sweden. Of course, any such move would immediately affect the entire Nordic-Baltic region while setting off alarm-bells throughout all NATO capitals. The idea would be for Russia to exploit these states’ existing strategic neutrality, whereby NATO intervention cannot be guaranteed on these countries’ behalf. Furthermore, as witnessed in Ukraine, rapid action by NATO in a strategically ambiguous zone of operation where the risk of escalation is high, can be less than desirable. Further north, along Russia’s Arctic littoral, Moscow is bolstering its military presence in order to monitor and police its territorial waters to protect what it considers its share of Arctic Sea marine and undersea resources. Concurrent with these issues are the sharpened tensions between Russia and the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
What is sure is that the Nordic-Baltic-Arctic region is quickly becoming an international focal point of considerable concern. And, as Denmark stands at the chokepoint between the Baltic and North Seas, any problems to the country’s east and north will likely drag this small but strategically important country into the mix. This will have major implications for the whole of NATO, including the US.
The aim of the Copenhagen 2019 Advanced Workshop is to build on our findings on disruptive technology in Portsmouth 2018.
In Copenhagen, we aim to examine and analyse the regional specifics of how disruptive technology in the maritime domain is affecting national offensive and defensive capabilities in the Baltic and Arctic Seas.
Knowing this may well lead to better political and policy decision making in what is now a far more complex and nuanced strategic environment where numbers count less than the ability to swiftly deploy military, private contractor and paramilitary units for effect. Where sometimes it is not a ship or an aircraft that will determine the outcome of a confrontation at sea, but who will be first to use unorthodox methods to blind sensors, launch malware attacks and spread disinformation.
Concern of Russian intentions towards the Nordic countries is not new. The Cold War was replete with examples of hostile Soviet probes into the maritime surrounds of Norway, Sweden & Denmark. But back then we were dealing with a number of certainties. The Soviet Union was a clear global ideological threat. It was an autarkic economy supporting a massive domestically built conventional military on hair trigger alert in Europe and the Far East. This military was backed up by ballistic missiles, nuclear weapons and a fleet of satellites, second only to the United States.
Putin’s Russia is a different sort of threat.
Unlike the USSR, the Russian Federation is part of the global economy. The Russian military is still strong by contemporary standards, but it is far weaker than that of the former Soviet Union. Since 2014 and its annexation of Crimea, international sanctions have weakened Moscow’s economic base, putting limits under President Putin’s military ambitions. And while the Russian military has deployed to Syria and is engaged in hostilities over the eastern Ukraine, these open-ended contests are small-scale and, barring some unforeseen event, stand little chance of escalating.
Owing to the shear cost of deploying conventional forces and keeping them on heightened alert, the Russian Federation has chosen to exploit modern techniques to project its power and influence. Keeping a viable space industry is a cornerstone of this. Better rockets mean better ballistic missiles with improved targeting characteristics and throw weight. Satellites provide a ‘God’s eye view’ of potential surface targets whether they be land or sea based. Building drones allows Russia to conduct low cost, low casualty operations to survey or destroy military objectives. Focusing on cyber through hacking represents a low-cost way of remotely gaining intelligence, conducting espionage or pushing ‘fake news’ across social media to sway public opinion.
Recently, a spate of provocative Russian naval feints (2014-18) into Swedish waters yet again raised the spectre of Russian belligerence. In order to counter the Russian threat, the Swedish government has recently moved troops to Götland Island.
In November 2018 Finnish authorities raided Russian owned properties believing them to be forward staging bases for operations deeper in the Baltic region. One of these properties was covered in camouflage netting, had multiple satellite dishes, a helipad and nine piers.
Russian naval, air and ballistic missile modernisation programmes each in their own way represent conventional military threats to the Nordic states and potentially gives Moscow the ability to break out of the confines of the semi-closed Baltic Sea – specifically threatening Denmark.
But if the Russian Federation is weaker than the former Soviet Union, surely the technically advanced Nordic states can pool their resources to close down Russian belligerence? Of the four Nordic states, two belong to NATO (Norway & Denmark) and two are neutral, (Sweden and Finland).
The Baltic region also comprises the former Soviet occupied Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – all of which are now NATO states & highly dependent on NATO to provide a conventional deterrence to Russian encroachment.
Russia’s proximity to the Baltic states, harbouring as they do significant domestic Russian populations, may make defending these states difficult unless the threat posed to them is clear and unambiguous.
Furthermore, while Sweden’s neutrality may not prevent it working in tandem with NATO states Norway & Denmark, the lack of common command and control, weaponry and logistics may prevent the rapid movement of conventional forces to counter a ‘disruptive’ Russian threat. As for Finland, while neutral, during the Cold War, it maintained stable relations with the Soviet Union and continues to do so with the Russian Federation even though the country is now orientated toward the West.
The increasing importance of the Arctic Ocean, both strategically and economically, especially in the light of climatic change and the shrinking Arctic ice-cap, are additional factors in this febrile mix. The Arctic nations include Russia, USA, Canada, Iceland, Norway and Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory. Other nations, including China, have claims within the Arctic region.
What we seek to explore in Copenhagen in 2019 is how disruptive maritime technologies are being used as defensive & offensive tools in statecraft and strategy along the primary line of axis that affects Danish security – the Baltic and Arctic Seas.
We are honoured that this Advanced Workshop will be held in Christiansborg Palace, the Danish Parliament, which elevates the importance of this event as a key instrument for understanding and meeting the challenges posed by disruptive technology.
The Venue – Christiansborg Palace
Christiansborg Palace, located on the island of Slotsholmen in Copenhagen, contains the Danish Parliament Folketinget, the Supreme Court, and the Ministry of State.
Parts of the palace are used by the Danish Royal Family for various functions and events. The Royal Reception Rooms include The Tower Room and The Oval Throne Room where foreign ambassadors to Denmark are received by the Queen.