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New Project on UK and Polish Defence Policy

‘NATO after the Warsaw Summit 2016: British-Polish Perspectives in an Uncertain Security Environment’


The CEP has been awarded a grant from the Noble Foundation to fund a two year project on UK and Polish defence policy, as part of the foundation's Programme on Modern Poland.

In a February 2016 visit to Warsaw, UK Prime Minister David Cameron called for a ‘full strategic partnership with Poland”, he added “I want to make a success of the vital NATO summit here in July and work to strengthen the eastern flank of the alliance… standing up to Russian aggression”. The Polish government recognises the vital role the UK plays in European defence and seeks full British support for any further strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank. Both countries participated in the recent joint military exercise Anakonda-16 in Poland, alongside other NATO partners and the UK has also committed 1,000 military personnel to the Polish-led Very High Joint Task force in 2020. Moreover, the 2016 UK-Poland Quadriga meeting between Foreign Ministers and Defence Ministers of both countries reaffirmed the centrality of NATO for both Poland and the UK and highlighted the challenges of adapting NATO to new and future threats, without losing its core function as a territorial defence organisation.

It is against this backdrop that the project will shed light on and investigate British and Polish perspectives on security and defence policy within the framework of the evolution of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Taking as its starting point the NATO summit in Warsaw in July 2016 we will conduct research into how the decisions taken there and the subsequent evolution of the Alliance’s role will shape British and Polish security and defence policies in the context of an uncertain security environment. In turn, the project will seek to map and assess areas of convergence and divergence between the two countries vis a vis NATO and a range of broader security issues.

The NATO summit in Warsaw comes at a critical time for Poland, the UK and the wider Euro-Atlantic community. Four points come to mind here: First, Russian foreign policy towards its near abroad continues to be a force for destabilisation and revisionism, which is felt particularly acutely in Poland and Central Europe and which has led to a beefing-up of NATO’s physical presence in the region. Meanwhile, in the South, Europe is struggling to find sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and NATO has been asked to play a role, at least in maritime operations. Third, the UK is in the midst of redefining its relations with the EU which will be sure to affect the domain of security and defence cooperation amongst European states. Finally, there is the question of future NATO enlargements and the building of security relations with Georgia, Ukraine and to a lesser extent Moldova. These four factors, briefly described here, demonstrate the multifaceted and uncertain environment within with NATO is evolving. Crucially, as large and important players within the Alliance, both British and Polish voices count and will palpably contribute to the redefining of NATO and how the community responds to these challenges.

The project will bring together teams from Poland and the UK to create new research synergies to explore the evolving nature of NATO at a critical point in time. The project will research UK and Polish perspectives on the following areas of major importance for the transatlantic alliance:

NATO’s Eastern Flank – Addressing Russian Influence

Changing Threat Perceptions – Balancing Old and New Priorities

Adapting to New Realties – Defence and Military Reform in Europe

Forging New Partnerships  - Relations with Third Countries

The overall aim of the project is to analyse how Poland and the UK interpret the challenges they face in security and defence policy and to then outline how perhaps, a renewed Polish-UK tandem could promote bilateral interests within NATO. This is an under researched area, but one which holds great promise to highlight Polish-British cooperation and also to create a bilateral research team with a sustainable research agenda based on strong academic foundations.

Project Teams

Royal Holloway

Dr Alister Miskimmon – NATO, European Security, UK Policy - Principal Investigator

Prof Ben O’Loughlin – Strategic narratives and soft power influence in UK foreign policy.

Dr Michelle Bentley – Threat perception, Weapons of Mass Destruction and transatlantic relations.

Dr Tom Dyson – Defence policy and military reform in Europe. Gerda Henkel Foundation Research Fellow.

Dr Joanna Szostek – Hybrid War and perception of Russian foreign policy and media in Eastern Europe. Marie SkÅ‚odowska Curie Postdoctoral Fellow .

Ms Pauline Heinrichs – Comparative counter-terrorism policy in EU member states. PhD researcher.

Warsaw Team

Prof Kerry Longhurst – Polish Foreign and Security Policy, Eastern Europe, Strategic Cultures. Co-Investigator

Dr Marcin Zaborowski – Evolution of NATO, Transatlantic Relations, Polish Security and Defence Policy, Ballistic Missile Defence

Prof Marek Chichocki – Strategic Issues in Central Europe, Polish society and politics

Prof Alexandra Richie – Central European History, Polish Politics and Society

Octavian Milewski – NATO evolution, Defence and Security in the Wider Europe 

Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2016 at 03:27PM by Registered CommenterDr Alister Miskimmon | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

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