Sunday, January 3, 2010

Upcoming conference: "Ballistic Missile Defense: Global and Regional Dynamics"

Happy New Year everybody. In case you are pondering what to do with the New Year's resolutions and the (hopefully still) many blank pages in your calendar, here is a suggestion: Martin Senn from the Blog organizes a conference on "Ballistic Missile Defense: Global and Regional Dynamics" that will take place from February 18 to 19, 2010, in Vienna. It sounds very promising:

The decision of the Obama administration to shelve the deployment of missile defense components in Poland and the Czech Republic was greeted by many commentators and statesmen as a departure from the missile defense policy of the Bush years. Instead of prioritizing the protection against a distant threat of intercontinental ballistic missiles, the current US administration has shifted the focus on the manifest threat of missiles with shorter ranges and plans to deploy more reliable and technologically mature defense systems. Washington’s missile defense agenda thus changed in terms of priorities, but on the whole it remains very ambitious. As the Obama administration envisages networks of sea- and land-based defense systems to protect US allies and assets in Europe, the Middle East and East Asia, the coming years will witness the deployment of missile defense systems at an unprecedented scale and pace.

The conference “Ballistic Missile Defense: Global and Regional Dynamics” convenes international experts to discuss the current state, prospects and impact of various missile defense initiatives on a global and regional level. As for the global level, the conference seeks to explore the background of the Obama administration’s reorientation in the realm of missile defense and to assess its impact on great power relations as well as its compatibility with global zero as the new long-term goal of US arms control policy. A further focus is on multilateral instruments for the prevention of ballistic missile proliferation and their (possible) relation to missile defense. On a regional level, the discussion deals with the causality of the current rush towards missile defense in East Asia and the Middle East and how the deployments will affect regional stability.

The conference is part of a joint research initiative on ballistic missile defense between the International Security Research Group at the University of Innsbruck and the Armament & Defence Technology Agency of the Austrian Armed Forces. In the run-up, a group of natural scientists will discuss technical aspects of missile defense in a workshop headed by Dr. Peter Sequard-Base of the Armament & Defence Technology Agency (click here to download the workshop program).