Kingston Conference on International Security

Kingston Conference on

International Security

Kingston Conference on

International Security

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DND and CAF Personnel receive Departmental Approval to attend KCIS

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The 14th annual Kingston Conference on International Security (KCIS) will take place on 10-12 June 2019, at the Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront. This year’s theme, A Changing International Order? Implications for the Security Environment, will examine indicators of change across three regions (Indo-Pacific, Europe, and the Americas), explore trends in an attempt to predict a transforming international order, and debate the security implications associated with that change.  

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The liberal international order that was created under the leadership of the United States in the early 1940s, and maintained in various iterations since then by a succession of administrations in Washington, is being challenged as never before. Today, we are seeing that order challenged, not only by states that clearly do not accept an American-led international order, such as China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, but also by non-state actors such as transnational criminal organizations and global jihadist movements. The result is a hyper competitive, multipolar environment marked by a persistent struggle for influence and position within a “gray zone” that falls below the threshold of conventional war. An array of actors engage in aggressive and destabilizing activity to diminish Western influence and position by “weaponizing” non-traditional tools to skew perceptions of power, exploit political divisions, gain economic advantage, and magnify social and cultural fissures in target countries. But the liberal international order is also being challenged from within by those who are skeptical about the benefits of that order. In both the United States and Europe there is evidence of concern about the international order. That skepticism is particularly pronounced in the United States. The legitimacy that underpinned the Western liberal approach to global politics has been increasingly under assault. Rising skepticism about the costs, both military and economic, of sustaining that order has been accompanied by the rise of nationalism and protectionism that further calls into question the sustainability of that order.

The significant changes that have been in train since the end of the decade-long “unipolar moment” of American hegemony after the end of the Cold War are the focus of this year’s Kingston Conference on International Security. KCIS 2019 will examine the causes of the challenges to the legitimacy of the liberal international order, and why it has been so difficult to articulate a compelling narrative to support a continuation of American leadership. It will also examine how the order is changing, and what the implications of those changes will be for the future security environment faced by the United States and its allies in the Americas, in the North Atlantic, and in the Indo-Pacific region. This year’s panelists and speakers will analyze specific indicators of shifts in geopolitical power, the structural erosion of norms and institutions, and the relative resonance of competing narratives. The result will be new and innovative insights into the possible contours of a new international order.



Monday, 10 June 2019
Fort Frontenac Officers Mess, Fort Frontenac, 317 Ontario Street

1730  Opening Reception


Welcome Remarks
        Major-General Stephen Cadden, Commander Canadian Doctrine and Training Command

Tuesday, 11 June 2019
Bellevue Room, 6th Floor, Holiday Inn

0700 Breakfast (Islandview Room)
0730  Registration


        Master of Ceremonies - Colonel Christopher Ingels, US Army War College Visiting Defence Fellow


Opening Remarks
        Major-General Stephen Cadden, Commander Canadian Doctrine and Training Command


Challenge to the Conference
        Lieutenant-General Jean-Marc Lanthier , Commander Canadian Army


Opening Keynote Address: The World Order Today
        Ben Rowswell, President, Canadian International Council
1015 Break
Panel 1: Drivers of Change

This opening panel will address the hypothesis that the international order is in transition. Panelists will assess factors driving change, including: interstate competition, geo-political relationships, global economics, populist movement influence, and the international order's structural power institutions that enforce norms.

Chaired by:  Lieutenant-General Stephen Bowes – CAF Sr. Advisor to Veterans Affairs Canada

  • Professor Sara Bjerg Moller – Eisenhower Defense Fellow, NATO Defence College/Assistant Professor, Seton Hall University
  • Professor William G. Braun, lll – Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College
  • Dr. Carol Evans – National Security Studies, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College


Lunch (Islandview Room)


Keynote Address: The Erosion of the U.S.-led Order
        Dr. Daniel W. Drezner, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
1430  Break
  Panels 2 – 4: Perspectives on a Changing International Order      
        The purpose of the next three regional panels is to examine stability or change in the international order in the Americas, the Atlantic area, and the Indo-Pacific. Panelists will reflect on the changes to the international order that they see in their particular region over the last decade and the security implications of those changes. How resilient are the norms of the liberal international order in these regions, and are they likely to be maintained without American leadership? What potential alternative international order we might see emerge in the region in the future?


Panel 2: The Americas

Chaired by:  Professor Joel Sokolsky, Royal Military College of Canada

  • Dr. Evan Ellis, US Department of State [invited-awaiting confirmation]
  • Dr. Kathryn Fisher, National Defense University
  • Dr. Sara McGuire, University of Pennsylvania 


Networking Dinner
Kingston 1000 Islands Cruises, Confederation Docks


Wednesday, 12 June 2019
Bellevue Room, 6th Floor, Holiday Inn


Breakfast (Islandview Room)




Panel 3: North Atlantic

Chaired by:  Professor Stéfanie von Hlatky, Queen's University

  • Dr. Mark Ozawa, Research Division, NATO Defence College
  • Robert Baines, President, NATO Association of Canada
  • Brigadier-General Frédéric Pesme, NATO International Military Staff




Panel 4: Indo-Pacific

Chaired by:  Professor Kim Richard Nossal, CIDP

  • Professor Sumit Ganguly, Indiana University
  • Lindsey Ford – Director of Political-Security Affairs, Asia Society Policy Institute [TBC]
  • Dr. Christopher Ankersen, Center for Global Affairs, NYU




Keynote Address: Challenges in Meeting Changes on the Ground
        Lieutenant-General Wayne Eyre, UNC Deputy Commander, United Nations Command, Korea


Panel 5: Commonalities and Security Implications

The final panel will synthesize previous panel and speaker insights, to distill overarching security implications. Panelists will discuss relevant security implications by assessing the impact of security competition, geopolitics, economics, and populist factors of change; organizational change within the institutions that facilitate or resist that change; a summary of critical U.S. dissonance and partner hedging; and an assessment of official and emerging legitimacy narratives. The discussion will establish the contours of international order transitions affecting military and policy practitioners.

Chaired by:  

  • Dr. Isaiah Wilson, Director, Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College
  • Kerry Buck, former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to NATO
  • Dr. Anna Geis, Chair of international and Security Studies, Helmut Schmidt University


Closing Remarks
        Major General John Kem, Commandant, U.S. Army War College

Co-hosted by the Centre for International and Defence Policy (CIDP) at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, the Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre (CADTC), the US Army War College (USAWC), the NATO Defense College in Rome, KCIS is widely acknowledged as Canada’s premier security strategy conference. The KCIS enjoys a proud tradition of bringing together academics and practitioners from around the world to explore salient security themes. Insights gained from conference dialogue inform the understanding and decision making of both policymakers and military practitioners.