Diverging threat perceptions cause rising tensions within NATO. Some focus on Russia, others on challenges from the South or from Asia. Furthermore, there are significant differences in societal values, military spending, and security policies among NATO member states. At the same time, countries like Norway continue to base their defence on the assumption that the US is still as committed to its security guarantee to Europe as before.

The Military Power Seminar 2017 addresses these issues and challenges our established truths and assumptions. How do different European nations perceive the Russian threat? Will the US security guarantee still hold? What are the implications for the European armed forces? How will these implications influence Norway’s force structure and strategic posture? What should be the defence of Europe?





Welcome address, RADM Louise Kathrine Dedichen, Commandant at the Norwegian Defence University College


Introduction, Norwegian Minster of Defence, Frank Bakke-Jensen


Introduction and background: Threats and the perception of threats

Professor Walter Russell Mead, Hudson Institute: "The Status of the West": In his key note, Professor Mead addresses the state of the Western alliance after 9 months with Trump, various elections in Europe such as in France and Germany, as well as Brexit. Questions he will touch upon are how does the Trump administration see NATO? Under what circumstances will the US come to the aid of its European allies, and Norway in particular? What does the current US administration expect of Europe? This key note questions the validity of the basic tenets of the Norwegian total defence concept, namely the reliance on allied assistance.

Mr. Keir Giles, Chatham House: "The Status of Russia": Mr. Giles will critically assesses the political and military threat Russia represents today and in the next decade, addressing the Kremlin's view on the current security order in Europe and its likely strategic intentions in that respect. Furthermore, it will address Russia's actual military capabilities and force posture. Finally, Mr. Giles will address whether Europe should really be that concerned about its large eastern neighbor, putting emphasis on Norway in the light of its long history of peace and cooperation with Russia.


Q&A and discussions. Chair: Anders Romarheim, IFS




The current and emerging European military posture

What security threats determine the country's national defence priorities? How is Russia perceived? How is the current defence posture reflecting the above mentioned threat perceptions and priorities? How does the national fit into NATO Force structures, and how is the NATO commitment balanced with bilateral engagement with the USA? How will the above issues change over the next 5 to 10 years? Are there significant changes in the making?

Germany: Dr Claudia Major, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik

France: Mr Etienne de Durand, Directorate General for International Relations and Strategy

Great Britain: Dr Robert Johnson, University of Oxford

US: Andrew Michta, Dean, College of International and Security Studies, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

Norway: Prof Janne Haaland Matlary, Department of Political Science, University of Oslo and at the The Norwegian Defence Command and Staff College




Discussion and Q&A, Chair: Anders Romarheim, IFS




Karsten Friis, Head of Research Group on Security and Defense at NUPI: "Once upon the time there was a West?". Concluding reflections on the future of the Alliance. 


Conclusions: Ulf Sverdrup, Director, Norwegian Institute of Foreign Affairs (NUPI)