Headlined by dynamic speakers such as Mr. Steven Jermy (author of Strategy in Action and retired Royal British Navy Commodore), Lt. Gen. Dana Chipman, the Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army, and U.S. European Command's (EUCOM) own civilian deputy, Ambassador Lawrence E. Butler, the 5th annual joint EUCOM / Marshall Center International Legal Conference was held in Riga, Latvia 4-7 September.
With over 90 attendees from 25 nations participating, the conference theme was "Legal Advisors and Future Operations."
The Minister of Defense of Latvia, Dr. Artis Pabriks, spoke at the conference, for which substantial support was provided by the Republic of Latvia’s Ministry of Defense to underscore their commitment to the coalition interest on shaping our forces to meet future challenges.
Focusing on the decade to come, and the challenges that these experts imagine that we will face as a coalition, the conference aimed to get legal advisors "ahead of the curve" in shaping authorities and policies which will allow their national military and policy leaders to successfully confront the changing threats and challenges of the world defense environment.
Two areas which drew special interest and audience participation were briefings on the recent Libya operations and how they foreshadow future concerns over the basis of operations to protect civilian populations, as well as a presentation on the future of the armed forces of the Russian Federation by the Deputy Editor of the Ezhednevny zhurnal (www.EJ.RU), Mr. Aleksandr Golts.
Cyber operations, differing approaches to the role of the legal advisor in air targeting operations, and the growing use of the "Whole of government" approach to disaster relief and humanitarian assistance operations were some of the key topics tackled in break-out sessions and panel discussions by international experts during the conference.
The International Legal Conference, one of EUCOM’s signature engagement and strategy conferences, continued to push the U.S. and European audience to think ahead on pressing issues we will face in the next decade.
Fiscal challenges notwithstanding, the conference showed that more flexible, proactive military forces will be in growing demand post-ISAF for missions across the full spectrum of security operations.
With the excellent international partnership shown by the conference and the burgeoning network of thoughtful, networked legal advisors, the EUCOM/Marshall Center International Legal Conference continues to build and strengthen bridges between critical partner nations in Europe, the U.S., international organizations such as the EU, the ICRC and leading academic and expert commentators.