After two years of planning, we are delighted to announce the NATO SPS “Senior Leadership Roundtable on Military and Defense Aspects of Border Security in South East Europe” was held at the Aurora Resort and Spa in Berovo, Macedonia from 23-30 September 2017.

It was executed by the C4I & Cyber Center of Excellence at George Mason University, the Center for Technology and National Security Policy at U.S. National Defense University and the “General Mihailo Apostolski” Military Academy – Associate Member of the University of Goce Delchev – Stip.

This was the first NATO SPS senior leadership workshop in the region.  It is also the first NATO SPS grant ever executed by either the U.S. DoD or GMU. It aimed to serve as a platform for discussion and partnership development addressing Balkan cross-border threats to include violent extremism/terrorism, weapons smuggling, cyber and information operations as well as migration.

Keynote speeches were provided by

* Dr. Linton Wells II — GMU’s  C4I & Cyber Executive Advisor and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Network Information Integration (ASD/NII) and Chief Information Officer

*  Mark Laity — Head of Strategic Communications at NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE)

* Macedonian Vice-Minister of Defense Bekim Maksuti

* Brigadier General (ret, US-A) Russel Howard — founding director of the Counter Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and former head of its Department of Social Sciences

* Alan Brill — Senior Managing Director of Cyber Security at Kroll

Additional speakers included representatives from:

  • AT&T
  • Estonian Kaitseliit’s Cyber Defense Unit
  • C4I & Cyber Center of Excellence at George Mason University
  • George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies
  • GlobalFocus Romania
  • Norwegian Embassy
  • NATO Defense Enhancement Education Program (DEEP)
  • NATO HUMINT Center of Excellence (HCOE)
  • NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence (StratCom COE)
  • Cyber Engineering Research Institute at Sandia National Laboratories
  • United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
  • United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Program (UNICRI)
  • U.S. Joint Special Operations University (JSOU)
  • U.S. Naval Postgraduate School (NPS)
  • U.S. National Defense University
  • U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR).

Senior-level representatives from government, think tanks, NGOs, and academia from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Romania, Serbia and the United States took part.

A NATO IOS press publication of the findings is forthcoming. In addition,  several collaborative research projects were launched as a result of this highly-successful roundtable.

The concept, program and research were directed by Dr. Itamara Lochard who was awarded the NATO SPS grant on behalf of both C4I & Cyber Center of Excellence at GMU and U.S, National Defense University.  She will serve as editor of the of the book.

The NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) country co-director is Dr. Lazar Gjurov of the Macedonian Military Academy.  Other organizing committee members from the PfP military academy include the dean Dr. Orce Popovski, LTC Nikola Klentikov and Dr. Jugoslav Achkoski.  Dr. Dejan Rancic from the University of Nis in Serbia was also part of this collaborative team.