Kingston Conference on International Security

Kingston Conference on

International Security

Kingston Conference on

International Security

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KCIS 2018 web banner | 11-13 June 2018


What are the implications of re-emphasizing deterrence in defence policy? What is the appropriate balance of capabilities and political commitments to restore a credible defence posture while keeping the door open for constructive dialogue with Moscow and Beijing?

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In Western Europe, NATO’s defence capabilities must be able to both deter adversaries and reassure allies. Canada, along with the US, Germany and the UK, have become lead nation for one of the four battlegroups in the Baltics and Poland. Yet even with NATO’s enhanced forward presence, it is not yet clear what deterrence will entail: is it a return to the Cold War or is deterrence in a more hybrid conflict environment fundamentally different? What is the respective importance of conventional forces, nuclear weapons and missile defence in upholding deterrence and reassurance?

Since the Euromaidan revolution in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea in 2014, deterrence has made a comeback for the West in general and NATO in particular. To be sure, deterrence was always central to the transatlantic security architecture during the Cold War. In the post-Cold War era, out-of-area operations and security cooperation with partner nations captured the attention of Western armed forces, with a concomitant decline in the centrality of deterrence as a theoretical and policy concept. With the transformation of great-power politics in the last decade, however, we have seen the re-emergence of deterrence in Western policy as the United States and its allies are increasingly confronted with challenges in relations with both the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China.

This year, KCIS examined the evolving role and force posture of Canada, the United States and its allies in both Europe and the Asia-Pacific with regards to conventional deterrence, [cyber deterrence, gray-zone deterrence], missile defence and nuclear deterrence. Sessions include the history and theory of deterrence; the relationship between reassurance and deterrence; conventional deterrence in a number of regional contexts, including Europe and Northeast Asia; the future of nuclear deterrence, including missile defence.

KCIS Sponsors: Canadian Army, Centre for International and Defence Policy, Strategic Studies Institute-USAWC, NATO Defense College
KCIS is a partnership between the Centre for International and Defence Policy at Queen's University; the Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre; the Strategic Studies Institute at the US Army War College; and the NATO Defense College, Rome.