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In most countries, engagement with national security extends only to those pursuing it as their full-time careers: career soldiers and officers, blue-light personnel, employees of national security agencies. Among youth the situation is particularly worrisome: in most liberal democracies, only a very small share of young people participate in national security in some form.

That is a loss, because youth are an enormous resource as countries try to determine how they can better defend themselves against both military threats and new forms of aggression directed at civil society. RUSI’s Spring 2020 Modern Deterrence conference – organised in cooperation with the NATO Public Diplomacy Division – will highlight the positive role youth play in national security and how that role can be enhanced.

The conference features several innovative panels:

NATO and youth: this panel will feature three 16-17-year-old British school pupils interviewing three NATO officials explaining different aspects of what NATO does. We will select pupils who are eloquent and study politics and international relations as one of their core subjects. This panel will also feature a greyzone scenario table top exercise featuring NATO officials, the three interviewers and potentially additional participants.

The panel will be followed by a table-top exercise featuring NATO officials and a group of young people.

The second panel will feature recent graduates of innovative models in several countries (including Norway’s competitive national service in the armed forces; Denmark’s competitive national service in the Danish Emergency Management Agency and the armed forces; Italy’s servizio civile; the US Hacking 4 Defense programme for university students). Having completed in-depth national-security programmes, the panellists will share their important and highly relevant insights.

The third panel will feature senior officials from the countries with innovative national security models for young people featured in the second panel. They will discuss the opportunities and challenges of their respective models, including the ways in which those models could be adopted in other countries.

The conference will feature two keynotes.

Speakers will include:

  • The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP
  • Agostino Miozzo MD, Director-General, Ministry of Civil Protection, Italy
  • Pernille Reuter Eriksen, Permanent Under-Secretary, Danish Ministry of Defence
  • Madeleine Moon, former President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly


8:30am Registration

9am Welcome and morning keynote

9:30-10:15am Panel 1: What does NATO do? Interview with three senior officials conducted by three teenagers.

10:15-11am Panel 2: Narrated greyzone table-top exercise.

11-11:30am Coffee break

11:30am-12:45pm Panel 3: Young national security practitioners. Graduates of innovative national programmes discuss their training and lessons learnt.

12:45-1:30pm Lunch

1:30-2:45pm Panel 4: How to involve youth in national security. Senior officials leading innovative programmes.

2:45-3:15pm Closing keynote and final remarks


Standard: £450

RUSI corporate member: £300

Government: £250

RUSI Modern Deterrence funders attend free of charge

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