Georgia in the Western and Russian Military Prism:“If” or “When”?

June 15, 2020, Tbilisi, Georgia
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Conference Concept

Turbulent geopolitical developments in Eurasia and current volatile EU-US relations have significantly challenged the Euro-Atlantic security landscape and its primary institution, NATO. These unpredictable processes have far-reaching consequences for the Black Sea region and the South Caucasus, where Georgia represents a key Western ally. With these circumstances in mind, Georgia’s objective to become a full- fledged member of the Western political and military institutions acquires a much higher degree of  urgency. It also requires a thorough and plausible justification solidifying Georgia’s geostrategic relevance, military value, and contribution to the regional security. More importantly, the  strategic-military  nexus begs for a thorough academic investigation and conceptualization.

This conference will address issues surrounding Georgia’s potential NATO-membership, practicalities involved, progress review and NATO’s discernable credibility as a security provider. Conference speakers and participants will examine Russia’s political and military objectives in the South Caucasus and Black  Sea region, the risks of crisis and escalations, as well as ways of effective early warning, de-escalation strategies and preventive measures. Additionally, viable options that counter and minimize Moscow’s aggressive military posture throughout this strategically sensitive region will be addressed.

The conference will host three major thematic panels:

  • NATO-Georgia: Membership, Military Relevance and Article5
  • Russia and the South Caucasus: Military Posture, Escalation Risks and De-escalation Options
  • The Military Aspects of the Black Sea Security

As an additional event a pre-selected scenario-based simulation will be conducted with the active participation of students from different Georgian universities. This will allow students to grasp the real policy atmosphere and the gravity of implications caused by strategic decisions. During the simulation training, various scenario development and assessment techniques will be reviewed, alongside the respective impact and stakeholder analysis. This training will also provide students with the excellent opportunity of interaction with conference participants.

The University of Georgia is excited to host this second annual conference in June of 2020 and aims at promoting a high-level academic debate, in which leading European and American experts explore the range of provided topics and contribute to generating respective policy recommendations.

  • NATO-Georgia: Membership, Military Relevance and Article 5

  • Panel participants are invited to review in detail the military aspects of NATO-Georgia cooperation, ways the alliance can strengthen Georgia’s self-defense capabilities and deter Russia’s aggressive actions on the ground. Conversely, the discussion will also cover the progress made by Georgian defense institutions while transforming, pitfalls and challenges revealed, implementation of interoperability and resilience standards across military, government and society, as well as the force development strategies to meet best the Russian threat.
  • Russia and the South Caucasus: Military Posture, Escalation Risks and De-escalation Options

  • The main objective of the panel is to shed light on the military developments in the South Caucasus region, with the primary focus on the Russian military posture, dynamics and the analysis of its military capabilities on the ground. Participants will have to distill clear conclusions about the political/military (operational) objectives of Russia in the region, other non-military (so called hybrid) tools available in the arsenal and the potential consequences once fully implemented. Not least, the situation in the occupied regions of Georgia, Karabakh conflict, existing security arrangements and the possible scenarios of violent escalations, as well as options of the best de-escalation concepts and mechanisms (incl. EU and NATO contributions) constitute the core of the panel discussion.
  • The Military and Political Aspects of the Black Sea Security

  • Whether Georgia’s military reforms to meet NATO requirements or the Russian military footprint in the South Caucasus region, none of the particular military and military-political aspects can be reviewed in isolation, without the intensive application of the wider Black Sea security context. The effective installation of the Russian A2/AD in Crimea and the eastern shores of the Black Sea, the adherence of the freedom of navigation and the desire to bring more stability and security via more Europe and NATO in South Caucasus, inevitably opens door for a more complex, interdependent and multi-factorial analysis that brings multiple regions into play and links even more players across the Black Sea basin. Participants will be given the excellent opportunity to exchange their ideas and sharpen their analytical lens.
  • How to Respond

  • This panel will summarize the conclusions and findings discussed in the previous panels. Participants are invited to formulate and share the most effective methods to respond and minimize Russian malignant influence.

UG Security Platform