NATO conference in Berovo, fYR of Macedonia


After two years of planning, the NATO SPS “Senior Leadership Roundtable on Military and Defence Aspects of Border Security in South East Europe” took place at the Aurora Resort and Spa in Berovo, fYR of Macedonia, 23-30 September 2017. 

It was executed by the C4I & Cyber Centre of Excellence at George Mason University, the Centre for Technology and National Security Policy at U.S. National Defence 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 speakers were:

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

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

* Vice-Minister of Defence Bekim Maksuti – fYR of Macedonia

* Brigadier General (ret, US-A) Russel Howard — founding director of the Counter Terrorism Centre 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 Defence Unit

* C4I & Cyber Centre of Excellence at George Mason University

* George C. Marshall European centre for Security Studies

* Global Focus Romania 

* Norwegian Embassy 


* NATO Defence Enhancement Education Program (DEEP)

* NATO HUMINT centre of Excellence (HCOE)

* NATO Strategic Communications Centre 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 Defence 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, fYR of Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Romania, Serbia and the United States took part. 

A NATO IOS press publication of the findings is forthcoming. Several collaborative research projects were launched because 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 centre of Excellence at GMU and U.S, National Defence University. She will serve as editor of the book. 

The NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) country co-director is Dr. Lazar Gjurov of the 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.

Nikola Kletnikov as member of organizing committee of NATO SPS “Senior Leadership Roundtable on Military and Defence Aspects of Border Security in South East Europe” and member of ASPires project team during conference gave presentation and introduced participants with ASPires project.

Participants of the conference show interest about using of sensors and drones in the project as well as developing of algorithms. 

Also, representatives from USA express interest for future cooperation between different institutions from USA which are involved in dealing with forest fires.