NATO's Strategic Warfare Development Command

Identifying Non-Military Trends Shaping the Future Military Instrument of Power

March 20, 2023


NATO’s Allied Command Transformation Strategic Foresight Branch recently conducted a one-day workshop, hosted by the Latvian Ministry of Defence, to better forecast the impacts of emerging trends ahead of the Strategic Foresight Analysis 2023 Report.

Allied Command Transformation is engaging in comprehensive and robust futures research to advance its Strategic Priority of ‘better understanding’ by examining the future operating environment of NATO’s Military Instrument of Power. These efforts will enable NATO to be more proactive in shaping the strategic environment to the Alliance’s advantage and ensure its Military Instrument of Power remains fit for purpose into the future. In support of these efforts, Allied Command Transformation’s Strategic Foresight Branch is conducting workshops with Allies, Partners, and academics to inform the development of the Strategic Foresight Analysis 2023 Report.

To this end, the Strategic Foresight team recently conducted an unclassified hybrid workshop in Riga, Latvia to discuss how global drivers and future developments will affect the non-military instruments of power. Participants included analysts from four Centres of Excellence, including the Hybrid Centre of Excellence in Helsinki, as well as academics and subject matter experts from 11 Allied and Partner nations. While drawing on knowledge from across the Alliance and its Partners, particular emphasis was placed on integrating perspectives from the Baltic region.

The director of Latvia’s Defence Policy Department, Ginta Brūmane, provided insights on the evolution of the strategic security environment from a Latvian perspective. She noted that Russia’s war against Ukraine has, and will continue to shape the future security environment. Accordingly, this has led to a renewed focus on deterrence and defence in cooperation with allies, as well as resilience building to avoid future strategic shocks.

Participants also discussed the evolution of the strategic security environment and the Diplomatic, Information, and Economic Instruments of Power. The consensus from the participants was that the Euro-Atlantic region is contested and that systemic competition, instability, and uncertainty define the future security environment. The characteristics of this competitive security environment would not result in a competition between two superpowers as during the Cold War. Rather, these dynamics would likely result in regional level competition that would target NATO’s cohesion through economic and informational means. As such, societal resilience will become essential when developing and defining new concepts of deterrence.

On behalf of the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Philippe Lavigne, Allied Command Transformation thanks all of the participants who shared their expertise and insights at the workshop, as well as Latvia for graciously hosting the workshop in Riga.