NATO and Defence – Virtual Workshop Panel 4


This event is organized as part of the Capacity-Building in the Age of COVID-19 Virtual Workshop Series.

This fourth workshop will focus on NATO and defence. Increasing superpower tensions since the early 2010s have put the risk of traditional, conventional interstate conflict back on the global security agenda in a major way, at the same time as states are competing in evolving domains such as cyber, space and AI. For an alliance like NATO, these issues raise the question of how well-equipped different member states are for defence, and how burdens are to be shared. Capacity-building is an important part of the alliance, manifested in military training activities and joint exercises. What challenges does COVID-19 raise for burden-sharing in NATO? How has it impeded joint activities? Has it caused member states to reconsider their commitments to investing in allies’ capacity for defence and in dimensions of capacity building, such as gender training, that often receive low priority? How has it changed the operation of capacity-building activities on the ground?

This event will be in English with simultaneous interpretation. Participants will be able to ask questions in French.

Capacity Building in the Age of COVID-19: Virtual Workshop Series

In the past decade, in a world with many different security challenges, the disastrous failures of direct interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and straitened budgets after the financial crisis of 2008, capacity-building became an increasingly important tool in international security. As states, international organizations and NGOs sought to bolster their partners’ abilities to deal with security problems in many different domains, including defence, counterinsurgency/counter-terrorism, and peace-building, capacity building was not only regarded as more sustainable over the long term than international intervention, it was also deemed useful to achieve better burden sharing.

The COVID-19 pandemic puts the requirements for and the uses of capacity-building in question. Moving personnel around and working side-by-side with partners now poses new health risks; the economic calamity which has ensued from the pandemic raises searching questions over how states and organizations will change their policy tools. Have states reconsidered their engagement in what were often treated as low-priority missions? Will they, instead, turn all the more to capacity-building so that others can take on security burdens? How have capacity-building needs and mission operations changed with the new emphasis on health security? Are these reversible or likely permanent changes? Will the difficulties of international cooperation be felt in this domain? This series of virtual workshops will address these and related questions. We will explore the state of capacity-building before the pandemic; assess its impacts on capacity-building operations in defence, COIN/CT, and peacekeeping operations; and analyze the challenges posed for the Canadian Armed Forces. The panels will bring together academic experts and policy-making practitioners to learn from each other.


Theodore McLauchlin

Theodore McLauchlin

+1 (514) 343-6111, poste 47668

Marie-Joëlle Zahar

+1 (514) 343-6111, poste 20325


Friday, November 20, 2020


10:00 - 12:00

Location Online Attendance Mode

Free Registration

Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces / Le Ministère de la Défense nationale et les Forces armées canadiennes