Kingston Conference on International Security

KCIS Series 2006-2019

Held in Kingston in the spring, the Kingston Conference on International Security focuses on timely issues in defence and security. Since 2006, the conference has established itself as a leading international event featuring high-level security and defence experts from Canada and abroad. The conference is co-organized by the Centre for International and Defence Policy at Queen’s University, the Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre, the US Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute and the NATO Defense College.

The partners jointly identify thematic priorities each year, working together to develop a multifaceted program, following a careful analysis of emerging trends. This conference is meant to inform debate and advance knowledge in the field of security and defence by identifying priorities in military affairs and convening world-class experts to engage with a series of common questions. At the same time, the focus of KCIS is not exclusively on the military.  Each year, the conference provides in-depth analysis on defence policy priorities with a particular strategy in mind: advancing knowledge by tapping into research and expertise from academia, government, the armed forces, the private sector, and NGOs.

Select a conference year below to access the conference description, report and presentations.

2019 – A Changing International Order

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The 14th annual Kingston Conference on International Security (KCIS) theme, A Changing International Order? Implications for the Security Environment, examined indicators of change across three regions (Indo-Pacific, Europe, and the Americas), explored trends in an attempt to predict a transforming international order, and debated the security implications associated with that change. 

KCIS2019: Key Insights

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The 14th annual Kingston Conference on International Security (KCIS) theme, A Changing International Order? Implications for the Security Environment, examined indicators of change across three regions (Indo-Pacific, Europe, and the Americas), explored trends in an attempt to predict a transforming international order, and debated the security implications associated with that change.  

  • International order undergoes constant change.  It is difficult to determine if current changes constitute a fundamental inflection point, or a natural adaptation of the existing system and relative leadership roles over that system.
  • The international order is transitioning back to a multi-polar dynamic, with a commensurate return of great power politics.
  • China’s ascendency as a global economic power (and as a result, military power) is challenging U.S. leadership over the international order, and China is replacing the U.S. as a regional hegemonic influencer in Asia.
  • The U.S. is the manager and enforcer of the current international order.  If the U.S. role changes, the status quo order is likely to change.
  • Resurgence of nationalism and populism in domestic politics around the world is altering international relationships, which are trending towards issue-specific, bi-lateral partnerships, and away from comprehensive, multi-lateral agreements.
  • Institutions of international order are an important component of the international order system. Existing institutions reinforce and manage the status quo order, new and emerging institutions may pose a significant challenge to the status quo.
  • Arguably, it is the inability to manage a smooth transition, not the change in international order leadership, which poses the greatest threat to peace.

This year’s conference theme emerged from a discussion among conference organizers following the Trump-Trudeau exchanges surrounding the G7 summit in Charlevoix, Quebec in June 2018. Conference organizers on both sides of the border wondered if the Trump administration represents an aberration, or an inflection point indicating a fundamental shift in the norms of international relations, perceptions of national interest, and the foreign policies used to pursue those interests. The discussion quickly turned global.  Other populist-nationalist movements, such as Brexit in Britain, the Five Star Movement in Italy, the Arab Spring – in Anbar, Egypt, and the Maghreb; and the emergence of nationalist leaders around the globe, such as President Vladimir Putin (in Russia), President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (in Turkey), Prime Minister Andrej Babis (in the Czech Republic), President Jair Bolsanaro (in Brazil), and Prime Minister Narendra Modi (in India) suggest the populist-nationalist trends extend well beyond the U.S., and Western politics. Currently 20 countries around the globe are under some form of populist government. A general dissatisfaction with the status quo order, spurred by fears of persistent conflict, economic instability, divisive ideologies, mass migration, and societal demographic shifts indicate the world may be on the cusp of a fundamental shift in the international order.


Expand for presentations from the KCIS 2019 Conference

Panel 1: Drivers of Change

  • Prof. William G. Braun, III,  Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College (Presentation)
  • Dr. Sara Bjerg Moller,  School of Diplomacy and IR, Seton Hall University 
  • Dr. Carol Evans,  National Security Affairs Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College (Presentation)

Panel 2: The Americas

  • Ferry de Kerckhove, Canadian Global Affairs Institute
  • Dr. Kathryn Fisher, College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University (Ft Bragg) 
  • Dr. Sara McGuire, University of Pennsylvania 

Panel 3: North Atlantic

  • Dr. Marc Ozawa, Research Division, NATO Defense College (Presentation)
  • Robert Baines, NATO Association of Canada  
  • Prof. Stephen M. Saideman, Norman Paterson School of Internaitonal Affairs, Carleton University 

Panel 4: Indo-Pacific

  • Ali Wyne, RAND Corporation 
  • Prof. Sumit Ganguly, Indiana University Bloomington 
  • Dr. Christopher Ankersen, NYU Center for Global Affairs 

Panel 5: Commonalities and Security Implications

  • Dr. Anna Geis, Helmut Schmidt University 
  • Major General John Kem, U.S. Army War College 


  • Ben Rowswell, President, Canadian International Council
  • Dr. Daniel Drezner, Professor, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University (Presentation)
  • Lieutenant-General Wayne Eyre, UNC Deputy Commander, United Nations Command, Korea

2018 - The Return of Deterrence


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The thirteenth iteration of the Kingston Conference on International Security (KCIS), which took place 11–13 June 2018, continued the proud tradition of the event, bringing together practitioners and academics from around the world to discuss theory, explore practical issues, and to share ideas. This year’s theme, The Return of Deterrence: Testing Credibility and Capabilities in a New Era, re-introduced and re-booted concepts and understanding of deterrence, and outlined the challenges that face NATO in particular in attempting to practise deterrence in a threat environment that is very different to that of the Cold War. 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, the US Army War College, and the NATO Defense College in Rome, KCIS is widely acknowledged as a forum for informed debate on defence and security; the discussion and debate that occurred during KCIS 2018 promise to be of significant value to policymakers, academics, and military personnel alike.


Expand for presentations from the KCIS 2018 Conference [now available for download]

Panel 1: The Foundations of Deterrence

  • Amy Woolf, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress [video]
       Strategic Deterrence over the Years: The Evolution of Declaratory Policy 
  • Paul Bernstein, Center for the Study of WMD, National Defense University [video]
       Contemporary Deterrence Challenges 
  • Dr. Jacek Durkalec, Center for Global Security Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory [video]
       The Foundations of Deterrence 

Panel 2: NATO's Defence and Deterrence Debates

Panel 3: The Evolving Character of Deterrence

  • Kristin Ven Bruusgaard, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University [video]
       Relearning Deterrence for Modern Conditions
  • Dr. Cori E. Dauber, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill [video]
       Deterrence in the Online Space
  • Colonel Walter Wood, Acting Director-General Cyberspace, Canadian Armed Forces [video]

Panel 4A: Deterrence in Asia

  • Dr. David Lai, Asian Security Affairs, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College [video]
       Deterring China? [1.1 MB]
  • Dr. Jae Ku, US-Korea Institute, Johns Hopkins SAIS [video]
       Deterring North Korea
  • Dr. C. Christine Fair, Security Studies Program, Georgetown University [video]
       Filling the Deterrence Gap in India: The Need for Sub-conventional Deterrence

Panel 4B: Deterrence in NATO's Southern Fank

Panel 5: Deterrence Policy and Implications for Military Strategy

  • Prof. Stephen M. Saideman, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University [video]
       Deterrence and Reassurance in the Incredible age of Trump
  • Loren DeJonge Schulman, Center for a New American Security [video]
       Deterrence in Real World Decisions
  • Prof. Hugh White, Australian National University [video]
       Deterring Moscow's and Beijing's challenges to the post-Cold War Order

2017 - Developing the Super Solider: Enhancing Military Performance

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12-14 June 2017
Marriott Residence Inn, Kingston Water's Edge, Kingston, Ontario

How can military leaders develop soldiers to ensure unity of purpose, optimal physical and cognitive performance, resilience, and ethically applied fighting spirit? How can the armed forces balance military effectiveness with a stated commitment to reflect society’s values and norms? How do we anticipate individual soldier enhancements required to maintain a competitive edge at the individual level of performance?

The 2017 edition of the Kingston Conference on International Security examined how best to advance soldier performance to maintain a competitive advantage. Achieving sustainable outcomes in operations relies on sound military strategy and weapons, but also on individual service members performing effectively across multidimensional roles. Looking to the future, senior military leaders and defence officials strive to develop ‘Super Soldiers’ understood as the enhancement of critical skills, from physical and cognitive abilities, to social, cultural and ethical understanding.

Expand for presentations from the KCIS 2017 Conference now available for download

Panel 1: Overcoming Human Limitations

Panel 2: Enhancing Physical Performance

Panel 3: Achieving Cognitive Dominance 

Panel 4: Increasing Social Awareness

Panel 5: Improving Soldier Resilience 

Panel 6: Considering Ethical Implications 

  • Dr. Charles (Tony) Pfaff, Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College 
       Ethics of Soldier Enhancement 
  • Dr. Jesse Kirkpatrick, Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, George Mason University 
       Super Soldiers and Virtue 
  • Dr. Steven Kornguth, Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas Austin 
       Considerations of Ethical Implications in Generating of Super Soldiers [PDF 30kb] 

2016 - Engagement Between Peace and War: How Soldiers and Military Institutions Adapt

KCIS2016: Engagement Between Peace and War

13-15 June 2016
Marriott Residence Inn, Kingston Water's Edge, Kingston, Ontario

Today, military operations are conducted across a broad spectrum of conflict. How do we prepare our armed forces to achieve policy objectives in the ambiguous space between peace and war? What cultural awareness and human interactive skills would enhance the military's ability to conduct operations at the lower end of the spectrum of conflict? What are the defence policy, training and doctrinal implications?

The 2016 edition of the Kingston Conference on International Security will examine how soldiers and military organizations adapt to rapidly changing conflict dynamics, but also, how they play a part in managing peace. In this environment, land forces continue to play a highly-relevant role through engagement in the space between peace and war. Special attention will be focused on how to address rivals who challenge Canada, the United States and their allies in the “gray zone” and who employ tactics that are associated with “hybrid warfare”. Topics will include current security assessments, soldier competencies, professional military education, institutional adaptation and capabilities, as well as policy implications.



Expand for presentations from the KCIS 2016 Conference now available for download

Panel 1: The Evolving Security Environment: Threats and Strategies

  • Andrew Carswell, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) [PDF 698kb]
  • Alemero Retief, Group Security - Risk and Human Rights, Rio Tinto
  • Professor Bert Tussing, Homeland Defense and Security, US Army War College 
  • Diego Ruiz-Palmer, Special Advisor to the Secretary General for Economics and Security, NATO HQ [PDF 536kb]

Panel 2: The Evolving Security Environment: A Military View

  • Nathan Freier, National Security Studies, US Army War College [PDF 1.12mb]
  • Heather Hrychuk, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC)
  • Rear-Admiral Darren Hawco, Chief of Force Development, Canadian Armed Forces [PDF 880kb]

Panel 3: The Soldier: Defining and Creating Competencies

  • Dr. Ann-Renée Blais, Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis (DGMPRA) [PDF 372kb]
  • Dr. Anna Sackett, US Army Research Institute for Behavioral and Social Sciences [PDF 681kb]
  • Colonel Jonathan Shaw, Command Chaplain, US Army Europe [PDF 660kb]
  • Professor Stéfanie von Hlatky, Centre for International and Defence Policy, Queen's University (CIDP)

Panel 4: Educating for the Unknown

  • Major-General Eric Tremblay, Canadian Defence Academy (CDA) [PDF 1.2mb]
  • Major General William E. Rapp, Commandant, US Army War College
  • Dr. Guillaume Lasconjarias, NATO Defense College [PDF 1.5mb]

Panel 5: Institutional Learning and Adaptation

  • Dr. Bastian Giegerich, The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) [PDF kb]
  • Caroline Leprince, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) [PDF 422kb]
  • Friedrich Schröder, German Federal Foreign Office [PDF 404kb]
  • Colonel Scott Kendrick, Army Capabilities and Integration Center, US Army (ARCIC) [PDF 285kb]

Panel 6: The Political Dimension

  • Dr. Paula G. Thornhill, RAND Corporation
  • Vice Admiral, US Navy (R) Kevin Green, Robertson Blodgett Consulting LLC
  • Lieutenant-General (R) Stuart Beare, Tri-Leaf Insights Inc.


  • Lieutenant-General Guy Thibault, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, Canadian Armed Forces
  • General Sir Richard Barrons KCB MBE, former Commander Joint Forces Command, British Army

Dinner Fireside Chat "Gray Zone Competition and Conflict: Challenges for Allied Security Institutions"

  • Nathan Freier, National Security Studies, US Army War College
  • Jill Sinclair, External Engagement & Partnerships, Canadian Defence Academy
  • Loren DeJonge Schulman, Center for a New American Security

2015 - Robotics and Military Operations

11-13 May, 2015
Marriott Residence Inn, Kingston Waters Edge, Ontario

As stability in the Middle East further deteriorates due to the actions of territorially expanding terrorist groups and fragile states, governments are cautious of missions in the region as they recover from extended wars in the region, shrinking defence budgets and novel threats from non-state actors. Robotics and autonomous systems that preserve manpower and enhance soldier effectiveness offer attractive investment opportunities for developing a more efficient military force capable of operating effectively in the future environment.

Research and Industry Exhibit

KCIS 2015 featured a Research and Industry exhibition for private sector companies and research organizations to showcase new technology and products to a multisector audience. Exhibitors and sponsors were able to engage security-sector practitioners and the operational community on cutting edge innovations in robotics and autonomous systems. The KCIS 2105 agenda, which ran at the same time as the exhibition, covered policies, doctrines, operational requirements and capabilities related to the use of robotics in military operations and gave companies valuable insight into the challenges that face modern security forces.

NATO Defence College in Rome, Italy: Sponsor of KCIS 2015


United States of America Embassy: Sponsor of KCIS 2015


MDA, Communications and Information Company: Sponsor of KCIS 2015


Meggitt Target Systems: Sponsors of KCIS 2015


Vanguard Magazine: Sponsor of KCIS 2015



Expand for presentations from the KCIS 2015 Conference available for download

Panel 1: State of the Art: Current and Emerging Technologies

  • Dr. Peter Staritz, Intelligent Robotics Lab, Lockheed Martin [PDF 1.9mb]
  • Dr. Simon Monckton, Defence Research and Development Canada [PDF 2.7mb]
  • Dr. Jean-Charles Ledé, DARPA Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment [PDF 8.9mb]

Panel 2: State of Play: Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) in Recent Operations (Allies and Adversaries

  • Lieutenant-Commander John Keenan, Canadian Army Counter-IED Task Force [PDF 6.0mb]
  • Lieutenant Colonel John Fontenot, 18th Reconnaissance Squadron, US Air Force
  • Donald Sando, Capabilities Development and Integration for Maneuver Branches [PDF 2.3mb]

Panel 3: State of Governanace: Law and Policy

  • Professor Kenneth Anderson, American University Washington College of Law
  • Dr. Gilles Giacca, International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Prof. Dr. Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg, Europa-Universität Viadrina [PDF 4.9mb]

Panel 4: Ethical Implications

  • Dr. George Lucas, US Naval Academy
  • Wendell Wallach, Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, Yale University

Panel 5: Assessing, Detecting and Responding to RAS Threats

  • Dr. Guy Vézina, Director General Science & Technology Army [PDF 359kb]
  • Colonel Richard Dickson, Canadian Army Land Warfare Centre

Panel 6: Force Development Strategies: Revolution vs Evolution

  • Major-General Stephen Bowes, Chief of Force Development, Canadian Armed Forces [PDF 425kb]
  • Major General Robert Dyess, Chief of Force Development, US Army

Panel 7: Policy Recommendations

  • Professor Elinor Sloan, Carleton University
  • Professor Kim Richard Nossal, Queen’s University
  • Tony Battista, Conference of Defence Associations Institute


  • Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, U.S. Army Capabilities Integration Center [PDF 682kb]
    Military Review [PDF 3.9mb]
  • Dr. Peter W. Singer, New America Foundation
    Robots, Autonomy, and the Next World War

2014 - CBRNe: The Ongoing Challenge

12-14 May, 2014
Marriott Residence Inn, Kingston Waters Edge, Kingston, Ontario

As events like the Boston Marathon bombings, the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and the nuclear weapons policies of North Korea demonstrate, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive events continue to pose a major challenge for contemporary international security policy. Whether the result of accidents or politically motivated acts, explosions or the uncontrolled release of chemicals, biological agents or radioactive contamination into the environment—CBRNe events—can potentially cause massive human and environmental damage.

While accidental CBRNe events continue to be of major concern to governments and first responders, it is the threat of politically motivated CBRNe events that is particularly challenging. Both governments and non-state actors have access to the means of triggering a CBRNe event, and thus the control and management of these challenges acquires an added level of complexity. For armed forces, CBRNe must involve a multidimensional and whole-of-government approach to international security. Diplomacy and intelligence are needed for dealing with governments and non-state actors seeking to use CBRNe threats for political purposes. Inter-departmental and inter-governmental cooperation is necessary to ensure co-ordinated responses, both internationally and nationally; including the involvement of first responders at the local level.

How can these multidimensional challenges to international security be best managed by Canada and her allies? That is the central question posed by the 2014 Kingston Conference on International Security. The conference will examine the evolution of the CBRNe threat in contemporary global politics, and how the threat is managed at three different levels: the global level, where the nuclear and chemical weapons programs of some states are deemed to threaten international security; the regional North American level, involving trans-border cooperation with the United States against politically-motivated CBRNe acts; and the local level, where coordination with first responders is crucial for the effective deterrence and management of CBRNe events.



Expand for presentations from the KCIS 2014 Conference available for download

Panel l: From NBC to CBRNe: The Evolution of a Threat

  • Colonel Jeff Brodeur
  • Dr. Robert Bunker
  • Marius Grinius [PDF 119kb]

Panel ll: The Current Threats - Global

  • Dr. Erika Simpson
  • Amy Smithson, PhD
  • Chrystiane Roy

Panel lll: The Current Threats - Regional

  • Dr. Bruce E. Bechtol
  • Dr. Roger Kangas
  • Dr. Peter Jones [PDF 860 kb]

Panel lV: The Current Threats - Local

Panel V: The International Challenges

Panel Vl: The Domestic Challenges

Panel Vll: Policy Implications

  • Yves Goulet
  • Dr. Anna Gray-Henschel
  • Professor Frank Harvey [PDF 725kb]

2013 - Ethical Warriors: The Profession of Arms in Contemporary Perspective

10-12 June, 2013
CLFCSC, Normandy Hall, Fort Frontenac, 1 Ontario Street, Kingston, Ontario

Has war-fighting evolved over the past ten years of continuous war-fighting since the events of September 11, 2001, and what impact has this evolution had on Western armed forces, particularly their armies? Has the public perception of the countries that deploy troops changed significantly towards expectations of ethical and moral conduct of their armed forces in such operations? How have operations in a theatre marked by targeted killings, drone strikes, counter-insurgency, and “green on blue” attacks affected the armies that have fought in these wars? What impact have these operations had on our understanding of just war? How can armed forces maintain leadership development and the successful reproduction of skill sets accumulated during a decade of conflict? What “lessons learned” from earlier eras can be applied for what might be an extended period when the armed forces might not be called on to engage in combat operations? How do armed forces respond ethically to the health and well-being of those members of the armed forces who have served in high-tempo conflict overseas? What challenges do political leaders and armed forces leaders face as they seek to entrench military professionalism and the profession of arms?



Expand for presentations from the KCIS 2013 Conference available for download

Opening Keynote:

  • Dr. Asa Kasher, Tel Aviv University, Israel
    The Profession of Arms: An Ethical Approach

Panel 1: Just War and the Profession of Arms

  • Dr. David Whetham, King's College London at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, UK
  • Dr. Stéphanie A.H. Bélanger, Royal Military College of Canada

Panel 2: Civil-Military Relations

  • Ambassador Tim Martin , Canadian Ambassador to the Republic of Colombia
  • Professor Steve Saideman, Paterson Chair in International Affairs, Carleton University [PDF 1.9mb]

Panel 3: Perspectives from Other Allies

  • Brigadier Barry Le Greys, British Defence Advisor, British High Commission
  • Dr. Henrik Heidenkamp, Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Steve Mott, Australian Army Liaison to the Canadian Forces

Panel 4: Ethical Warriors: Developing the Ethic

  • Dr. Deanna Messervey, Director General Military Personnel Research & Analysis, National Defence [PDF 156kb]
  • Dr. Olenda Johnson, Strategic Leadership and Leader Development, U.S. Naval War College [PDF 936kb]
  • Francis Clermont, Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruitment School

Panel 5: Expanding the Ethic: Health and Well-being

  • Dr. Alice Aiken, Director, Canadian Institute for Military and Veterans Health
  • Dr. Peter Bradley, Royal Military College of Canada

Panel 6: Meeting the Challenges

  • Brigadier-General Eric Tremblay, Commandant, Royal Military College of Canada
  • Dr. Don M. Snider, Center for the Army Profession and Ethic (CAPE), US
  • Dr. Joel Sokolsky, Principal, Royal Military College of Canada


  • General (ret.) Walter Natynczyk, former Chief Defence Staff, Canadian Forces
    Military Leaders and the Ethics of Messaging

2012 - International Security in an Age of Austerity

 11-13 June, 2012
Residence Inn by Marriott, Kingston Water's Edge, Kingston, Ontario

The seventh annual Kingston Conference on International Security (KCIS), International Security in an Age of Austerity, was held on June 11-13, 2012 in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. The conference was organized by the Centre for International and Defence Policy and the Defence Management Studies program at Queen’s University, the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) of the U.S. Army War College and the Land Force Doctrine and Training System of the Canadian Forces. It was designed to explore the wide range of security and economic challenges facing Western countries in coming years and outline strategies for coping with these threats in a period of dramatically declining defence expenditures.

While the recession triggered by the 2008 financial crisis seems to have abated in North America, the effects of the collapse of the U.S. financial sector are still being felt worldwide. Several European states are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, while even those countries that have managed to avoid outright insolvency, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, have amassed unsustainable levels of government debt. Confronting the fiscal challenges facing Western countries will require dramatic reductions in government spending, which includes funding related to security and defence. However, while it cannot be denied that Western countries are now entering a period of austerity, a number of questions remain unanswered.

Of particular relevance is the manner in which governments should manage competing priorities, such as balancing the need for security against the desire to rein in massive deficits. In a world plagued by threats from a wide range of state and non-state actors, should national militaries seek to retain existing capabilities, albeit on a smaller scale, or should they sacrifice one aspect of their defence posture to retain a decisive advantage in another? If so, what impact will these shifts have on how countries conceptualize threats to their security and, perhaps more importantly, how they respond to instability abroad? At the same time, if a choice must be made between competing priorities, would it be more prudent to focus on combat capabilities that provide the capacity to prevail in the battlespace on the one hand, and on the other hand security cooperation or stability operations that shape the security environment? Both positions have merit, but in an era of economic instability retaining the capabilities to maintain extensive combat capabilities as well as the ability to conduct stability operations in failed or fragile states may be a luxury that many countries cannot afford. How then to balance these conflicting pressures and ensure that the resources allocated to defence spending are used as efficiently as possible? And how can the armed forces stimulate support from national governments that may be forced to choose between military spending and domestic entitlements?

Ultimately, KCIS 2012 sought to explore these questions and suggest different ways forward as defence budgets enter a period of steady decline. As the age of austerity shows no sign of drawing to a close, this conference represented a valuable opportunity to discuss policy options with a wide range of experts, observers and stakeholders in the broader defence community, and contribute to a dialogue on how best to cope with the changes to come.  To read the complete proceedings, select the link below to download the conference report.



Expand for presentations from the KCIS 2012 Conference available for download

Panel 1 - Identifying Threats, Vital Interests and Core Values

  • Rear-Admiral Ron Lloyd, Chief of Force Development, Canadian Forces [PDF 1.1mb]
  • Ambassador Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Stimson Centre [PDF 918kb]

Panel 2 - Framing the Strategic Options

  • Dr. Frank Milne, Economics Department, Queen's University [PDF 166kb]

Panel 3 - Approaches to Reshaping the Defence Budget

  • Dr. Markus Kaim, German Institute for International and Security Affairs, SWP-Berlin [PDF 203kb]
  • Dr. Andrew Dorman, King's College London [PDF 652kb]

Panel 4 - From Strategy to Operations

  • Dr. David Betz, Department of War Studies, King's College London [PDF 96kb]
  • Dr. Peter Gizewski, Centre for Operational Research and Analysis, Defence Research and Development Canada [PDF 2.9mb]
  • Dr. David Moore, Centre for Defence Acquisitions, Cranfield University [PDF 1.2mb]

Panel 5 - Implications for the Military

  • Major General Jeffrey Snow, Strategy, Plans and Policy, G-3/5/7, U.S. Army [PDF 2.5mb]
  • Cindy Williams, Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology [PDF 352kb]


  • LTG (ret) Keith Dayton, George C. Marshall Center for European Studies
    The Future of International Security [PDF 1.7mb]

2011 - The Changing Arctic

KCIS 2011 The Changing Arctic Banner

13-15 June 2011
Residence Inn, Kingston, Ontario

For most of their history, the states of northern Eurasia and North America have directed their foreign policies anywhere but northward. In the early twenty-first century, however, the emergent forces of globalization and climate change have turned a vast, inhospitable region from a neglected back yard to an international arena where the evident benefits of cooperation must compete in the minds of governments with traditional tendencies toward rivalry and the consequent risk of intensified conflict. Rapid physical changes in the region have opened up the prospects of new shipping routes, access to mineral resources and fisheries, opportunities for scientific research, and the accompanying risks to a fragile environment, to aboriginal ways of life, and to national and international security.

Most immediately affected by these changes are the states bordering on the region - Canada, the United States, Russia, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark (and, by association with the last three, the European Union). But while there is no parallel here to the Antarctic's status as a "common heritage" of humanity insulated from territorial claims, states from well outside the region have asserted - if only through symbolic actions - their national interest in its scientific and environmental prospects, its security and, above all, its resources. Transnational corporations, NGOs and other non-state actors, as well as international organizations such as the Arctic Council and NATO, also crowd onto the stage. And the voices of the aboriginal peoples, in both national and international fora, are being heard as never before.

Most of the states ringing the Arctic have, in recent years, begun to develop strategic visions to frame or accompany the mix of social, cultural, environmental and economic policies through which they have sought to manage their sectors of the region, including their territorial waters. Abundant evidence of well-established cooperation among them has, in recent years, come to be overshadowed by rhetoric of rivalry and conflict, usually focused on territorial claims. Accompanying these competing national interests are varying understandings of security in the region, from narrowly military to comprehensive, and from national to multilateral. For the armed forces of Canada and the United States, therefore, the Arctic poses a set of questions transcending those that challenged them during the Cold War.

The conference deliberated on these questions through four panels, interspersed with keynote speakers who introduced and highlighted the major issues. This conference was hosted and organized by Queen's Centre for International Relations (QCIR), and The Defence Management Studies Program at Queen's, together with the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College (USAWC), and the Canadian Land Forces Doctrine and Training System (LFDTS).



Expand for presentations from the KCIS 2011 Conference available for download

Panel 1: Conflict and Cooperation: The Geo-politics of the Arctic

  • Professor Stéphane Roussel, Université du Québec à Montréal
    The Geopolitics of the Arctic: Competing Models of Governance [PDF 1.9 mb]
  • Dr. Suzanne Lalonde, Université de Montréal
    ​International Law: A Stabilizing Force in the Arctic? [PDF 2.8 mb]

Panel 2: Sovereignty: Borders and Security

  • Dr. Rob Huebert, University of Calgary
    The Resolution of Boundary Issues in the Arctic is Only the Beginning.... ​ [PDF 5.9 mb]
  • Niklas Granholm, Swedish Defence Research Agency
    Sovereignty: Borders and Security in a New Arctic [PDF 7.5 mb]
  • Dr. Lassi Heininen, University of Lapland, Finland
    Changes on Northern Geopolitics: from a Frontier (of Confrontation) to a Region of Peace [PDF 7.5 mb]

Panel 3: The Rush for Resources: Costs and Benefits

  • Peter Slaiby, Vice President, Shell Oil Alaska Venture 
    Shell Global Arctic Portfolio [PDF 1.9mb]
  • Professor Marianne Douglas, Canadian Circumpolar Institute, University of Alberta 
    The Rush for Resources: Did Berger and Norway get it Right?  [PDF 8.4mb]

Panel 4: Stepping into the Future

  • Dr. Andrea Charron, Carleton University and the Royal Military College of Canada  
    2013 and Beyond: North America and the Arctic Council  [PDF 652kb]
  • Peter J.V.C. de Groot, Queen's University  
    Polar Bears and Sovereignty: A Case Study of a Unique Research and Military Collaboration  [PDF 9.5mb]


  • The Changing Arctic.  Commodore John Newton, Canadian Navy  
    The Changing Arctic [PDF 870kb]
  • Rear Admiral David Titley, Oceanographer of the US Navy 
    Arctic Security and the US Navy [PDF 6.9mb]
  • Professor Lawson W. Brigham, University of Alaska Fairbanks  
    Uncertainties, Scenarios and Wild Cards [PDF 9.3mb]

2010 - Security and Governance

KCIS 2010: Security and Governance: Foundations for International Security

21-23 June 2010
Four Points by Sheraton, Kingston, Ontario

Most of the violent conflicts to which western armed forces have responded over the past two decades have had their origins in the incapacity of states to perform their most basic function - to provide for the safety and security of their citizens. Governments of states variously described as fragile, failing or failed are marked by weak public administration, notably though not exclusively in the provision of public services related to security and the rule of law. Because these conflicts generate civil conflict which is destructive of societies, economies and cultures within states and liable to spill over into broader interstate and regional instability, the international community has found itself increasingly engaged in attempts to foster effective governance strategies, most often during or immediately after civil or transnational wars. Western armed forces and police have gained considerable experience in reforming security institutions and training personnel at the national and local levels, while at the same time coping with difficult issues of civil-military relations. How to provide the human, technical and tactical capabilities for effective national and local security in these countries, how best to deploy international military and civilian forces for such purposes, and how to recognize when the job is well-enough done to permit gradual or complete disengagement - these are the central questions that will animate KCIS 2010.

Violent civil and regional conflict generated by the incapacity of states has been witnessed in the Balkans, Africa, Southwest Asia and Latin America. While culture and geopolitics may make for variations in the regional expression of such conflict, fragile and failed states and the international responses to them also have many striking common characteristics. It thus makes sense to adopt a comparative perspective in exploring the links between weak domestic security governance and threats to national and regional security, and in examining the role of international security forces in assisting in the development of more effective local and national security structures. Building such capacity to the point where full responsibility for security can safely be left to local and national authorities is a critical task for the international community in all these regions, as is recognizing and acting appropriately when that point has been reached.

The conference, hosted and organized by Queen's Centre for International Relations (QCIR), and The Defence Management Studies Program at Queen's, together with the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College (USAWC), and the Canadian Land Forces Doctrine and Training System (LFDTS), deliberated on these questions through four panels, interspersed with keynote speakers who introduced and highlighted the major issues for policy-makers.

  • The Roots of Insecurity: National, Regional and Global;
  • Governance Strategies: What Works?;
  • Military Initiatives in Creating Stability and Good Governance: Case Studies;
  • and International Military Engagement & Disengagement in Unstable States and Regions.




Expand for presentations from the KCIS 2010 Conference available for download

Panel I

  • Nathan Freier, Center for Strategic and International Studies [PDF 428 kb]
  • Dr. Stephen Saideman, Canada Research Chair International Security and Ethnic Conflict, McGill University [PDF 858 kb]

Panel 2

  • Andy Tamas, Tamas Consultants [PDF 4.1 mb]
  • Discussion Handouts from Andy Tamas, Tamas Consultants [PDF 319 kb]
  • Glen Milne, Strategic Facilitation, Innovation & Training [PDF 817 kb]

Panel 3

  • Dr. Hilton McDavid, The University of the West Indies, Jamaica [PDF 2.4 mb]
  • Brigadier-General Denis Thompson, Commander Task Force Kandahar, Canadian Forces [PDF 2.9 mb]

Panel 4

  • Colonel Dominic McAlea, Deputy Judge Advocate General, Canadian Forces [PDF 1.0 mb]


  • Lieutenant-General Peter Devlin, Commander of the Army, Canadian Forces
    The Army's Contribution to International Security and Governance [PDF 2.9 mb]
  • Joseph Quesnel, Frontier Centre for Public Policy
    Good Governance and Stability: Lessons From Indian Country [PDF 253 kb]

2009 - At Home in the Americas

At Home in the Americas:

Canada, the United States, and Hemispheric Security

10 - 12 June, 2009
Kingston, Ontario

At the beginning of the 21st century neither the United States nor Canada has devoted a great deal of attention to Latin America and the Caribbean, even though the countries of the western hemisphere are increasingly interdependent with respect to political, economic, immigration, and humanitarian affairs. Although we have witnessed an encouraging wave of democratization in Latin America and the Caribbean, in some countries civil unrest, new forms of authoritarian populism driven by economic inequality, powerful drug cartels, and violent transnational criminal organizations are transforming security relations in the region. These developments pose new challenges to Canada and the United States.

In early 2008 the Harper government announced that Canada would develop a new “Americas Strategy” to coordinate Canada’s policies in the region. The new American administration has also hinted that it too may review its many policies in the western hemisphere. In these circumstances, therefore, it is appropriate that we look closely at security challenges and national and international security policies in the western hemisphere.

Distinguished scholars, military officers, diplomats, and officials from governments, non-governmental organizations, and international institutions met to discuss security challenges in the western hemisphere and Canadian and US military, police, and diplomatic strategies to address them. The conference was hosted and organized by Queen's Centre for International Relations (QCIR), and The Defence Management Studies Program at Queen's, together with the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College (USAWC), and the Canadian Land Forces Doctrine and Training System (LFDTS).

Four expert panels addressed the following themes:

  • The Security Environment;
  • Building Security in the Americas;
  • North American Security Perspectives; and
  • Expectations and Strategies.


Expand for presentations from the KCIS 2009 Conference available for download

  • Barbara P. Billauer, Foundation of law and Science Centers (FASC)
    Environmental Security [PDF 1.7 mb]
  • Dr. Norman A. Bailey, Professor, Institute of World Politics
    Iran's Influence and Activities in Venezuela and in the Region [PDF 1.7 mb]
  • Captain(N) Casper Donovan, Director, Maritime Staff, Canadian Forces
    Building Security in the Caribbean: The Flexibility of Canadian Sea Power [PDF 2.9 mb]
  • Dr. Román D. Ortiz, Coordinator - Security and Defense Studies Area, Fundacion Ideas Para La Paz (FIP)
    Dealing with a Perfect Storm? Strategic Rules for the Hemispheric Security Crisis [PDF 127 kb]
  • Lieutenant General Thomas Turner, Commanding General, United States Army North
    Continental and Hemispheric Security and Defense [PDF 1.3 mb]
  • Admiral Jorge Humberto Pastor Gómez, Chief of the General Staff, Mexican Navy
    The Mexican Navy's point of view on Continental Security and Defense [PDF 6.6 mb]
  • Colonel(R) Dr. Arturo Contreras Polgatti, Chairman, National Academy for Political and Strategic Studies, Chile
    Quo Vadi South American [PDF 1.5 mb]
  • Colonel(R) Dr. Richard Kilroy, Professor of International studies and Political Science, Virginia Military Institute
    Toward a New Trilateral Security Relationship? United States, Canada and Mexico 2010 [PDF 3.1 mb]
  • Dr. Stephen Randall, Director, Institute for United States Policy Research, University of Calgary
    Canada and Hemispheric Security [PDF 2.7 mb]
  • Dr. Abelardo Rodriguez Sumano, Professor, Universidad de Guadalajara
    Mexico's Challenges on National Security in a Geopolitical Context [PDF 1.7 mb]

2008 - Wars Without Borders

KCIS 2008: Wars Without Borders

17 - 19 June, 2008
Kingston, Ontario

The third annual Kingston Conference on International Security, hosted and organized by Queen's Centre for International Relations (QCIR) and The Defence Management Studies Program at Queen's, together with the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College (USAWC), and the Canadian Land Forces Doctrine and Training System (LFDTS), took place on June 17-19, 2008, on the theme Wars Without Borders. With the aim of learning to better define and respond to the "new wars" of the 21st century, approximately 150 participants from government, the military and academe heard keynote speakers and panels reflecting on recent experience in Afghanistan and Iraq, in Africa, and in the Western Hemisphere.

The title and theme of the 2008 conference quite expectedly brought to mind warfare as a geographic phenomenon - as aggression without regard to the territorial boundaries that define states. But the panelists and other participants engaged in a wider discussion and debate on the idea of wars without borders situated in other meanings and concepts. In particular they used the conference theme to place these wars in a bold, modern context. They were described, for instance, as wars within territories but not about territory, since in many cases traditional borders have little intrinsic meaning. Wars without borders were described also as wars among the people in which the people were themselves the preferred targets for all belligerents, and where civil constraints and laws - two other kinds of borders - are often stripped away. Some speakers described the new wars as borderless in the sense that they seem to have broken way from the traditional Clausewitzian politics/warfare nexus and are now merely irrational conflicts.

In all the regions under review during the conference, participants found a common thread: the wars we are confronting today are often wars conducted without territorial, legal, political, or moral boundaries. From these presentations and discussions participants reached a general consensus that governments and armed forces that might become involved in the new borderless wars of the 21st century will have to develop new and unprecedented ways of preparing for the consequences and contradictions that they will encounter.


Expand for presentations from the KCIS 2008 Conference available for download

  • Colonel Alex Crowther, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College
    Iraq: Model for the New Wars [PDF 97.3 kb]
  • Major-General Marquis Hainse, LFDTS, Canadian Forces
    Afghan Case Study [PDF 2.6 mb]
  • Ambassador (ret) John Shram, Queen’s University
    Canadian Peacekeeping and Peacekeeping Interventions [PDF 29.2 kb]
  • Ambassador Cynthia Efird, International Affairs, US Army War College
    Violence Without Borders - The Case in Africa [PDF 281 kb]
  • Ambassador Albert R. Ramdin, Asst. Secretary General, Organization of American States
    Security in Latin America [PDF 2.6 mb]
  • Gabriel Marcella, Department of National Security & Strategy, US Army War College
    The Colombia-Ecuador Crisis 2008 [PDF 184 kb]
  • Dr. Arturo Contreras, National Academy for Political and Strategic Studies, Chile
    Asymmetric Armed Conflicts [PDF 7.0 mb]
  • Major-General Sergio Etchegoyen, Escola de Commando e Estado-Maior do Exercito, Brasil
    Brazil - Lessons Learned [file available on request]
  • LCol (ret) William Bentley, Canadian Defence Academy
    Broadsword or Rapier [PDF 179 kb]
  • Kevin Rex, Afghanistan Task Force, Canadian International Development Agency
    Development in the New Context [PDF 2.6 mb]
  • Caryn Hollis, Partnering in US Army Southern Command
    Partnering for Hemispheric Security [PDF 26.6 kb]
  • Daniele Riggio, Public Diplomacy Division, International Staff, NATO HQ
    Adjusting to New Conflicts [PDF 36.5 kb]

Articles and Interviews

  • "Relearning History's Lessons on Holistic Operations", Chris Thatcher, Transformation, Vanguard Magazine, March/April 2008
  • "Today's lessons for tomorrow's wars", MGen Marquis Hainse, LFDTS, article on Vanguard,, July 2008

2007 - Stability Campaigns

KCIS 2007 Stability Campaigns: Do We Learn?

26 - 28 June, 2007
Kingston, Ontario

This year’s conference brought together leading representatives of government, the military, international institutions and universities to reflect on how best to prepare military commanders and government officials to plan and conduct complex stability campaigns. The primary purpose was to gain a better understanding, not only of what has been learned from previous campaigns, but also – and more importantly – how military and civilian leaders “learn to learn”, that is, how they acquire the capacity to comprehend the situations they are in, and to respond effectively. Panels focused on learning at the strategic and operational levels, on learning by non-military actors, and on the role of the academic, policy and media communities. Keynote speakers included the Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of Defence; Major General Mike Ward, Chief of Force Development, Canadian Forces; Stephen Johnson, US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and Colonel Mike Capstick, SA, CLS, Canadian Forces. See below for available downloads.

The conference was hosted and organized by Queen's Centre for International Relations (QCIR), and The Defence Management Studies Program at Queen's, together with the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College (USAWC), and the Canadian Land Forces Doctrine and Training System (LFDTS). 

Articles and Interviews

2006 - Defence Development and Diplomacy

Defence Development and Diplomacy

The Canadian and US Military Perspectives

21 - 23 June, 2006
Kingston, Ontario

Queen's Centre for International Relations (QCIR), and The Defence Management Studies Program at Queen's, together with the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College (USAWC), and the Canadian Land Forces Doctrine and Training System (LFDTS) hosted a colloquium at Kingston, Ontario on 21-23 June 2006 entitled, "Defence, Development, and Diplomacy (3D): Canadian and U.S. Military Perspectives." This colloquium brought together over 130 Canadian, U.S. and other international government and academic experts, think tank members, and university faculty members.

The Canadian military representation was led by Lieutenant General Andrew Leslie, Chief of the Canadian Land Staff; Lieutenant General Michael Gauthier, Commander of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Command; and (by Video teleconferencing) Brigadier General David Fraser, Commander of the Canadian Brigade operating under NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) auspices in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The U.S. military representation was led by Major General Charles Jacoby, Commander, U.S. Army, Alaska and former Deputy Commander, U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, 2004-2005; and Brigadier General Frederick Rudesheim, Deputy Director for Political-Military Affairs, Western Hemisphere at the Joint Staff, J5.

All the participants, through a robust program of panels and question and answer discussions, examined the considerable experience of both the U.S. and Canada in the use of military, diplomatic, and economic instruments to deal with the full spectrum of non-traditional and traditional security threats in the contemporary global security environment. Given the likelihood that individual national powers,such as the U.S. and Canada; and international organizations, such as the United Nations, NATO, and the OAS (Organization of American States),will be increasingly expected to provide the leverage to ensure peace, security, and stability in an increasing number of post-conflict and stabilization situations over the next several years, this colloquium was considered to be a very timely and important effort.