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Security & Defence PLuS Participates in the 2024 London Defence Conference

31 May, 2024

Last week, Security & Defence PLuS attended the 2024 London Defence Conference (LDC), hosted by the King’s College London School of Security Studies. The three-day conference brought together security experts, political leaders, and academics for panel discussions, keynotes, and conversation sessions on the theme of “Deterrence: Building Capacity to Counter Global Threats.”

The conference began on May 21 with a “Future Leaders Day,” allowing students and young professionals to share their views on geopolitical challenges with leaders and practitioners in security and defence. Over the following days, keynote speeches were delivered by Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo Albin Kurti; Rt Hon Grant Shapps, MP, the Secretary of State for Defence; Deputy Prime Minister Rt Hon Oliver Dowden; and the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski.

AUKUS was discussed across a range of panels, including its contribution to deterrence in the Indo-Pacific, the progress of Pillar I, and the opportunities and challenges related to Pillar II. An invitation-only parallel roundtable titled “Making AUKUS Work” was hosted at Australia House. AUKUS is clearly seen as one of several important minilateral approaches to international security being pursued by like-minded countries in the face of challenges posed by authoritarian states.

In a standout discussion on deterrence and readiness, Australia’s Ambassador to the United States, Kevin Rudd, argued that AUKUS “potentially opens up a whole new world for allied democracies writ large, but we – as the three initial partners – are just at third base.”

In a discussion on the Indo-Pacific region and its changing security landscape, former Australian politician Hon George Brandis noted, “AUKUS represents a closer integration of the research and development efforts of the three nations than ever before. It also acknowledges the intellectual and research capabilities of universities in the UK and Australia, which will be hugely beneficial to the United States.” Iain Martin, Director of the London Defence Conference, also praised the AUKUS partnership as “absolutely transformative” and voiced his concern that it doesn’t receive sufficient attention in the UK.

Security & Defence PLuS Senior Leadership Team member Professor Wyn Bowen has been on the LDC organising committee since the establishment of the event in 2023, and published a joint LDC Paper with Professor Mathew Moran titled Do Sanctions Deter? Security & Defence PLuS Research Fellow Dr Sarah Tzinieris also contributed a paper with Dr Zeno Leoni: Rethinking the Western Alliance. The conference provided our team an opportunity to network with industry players, government officials, and academics, and to promote the mission of Security & Defence PLuS and its three major work streams: research, education, and partnerships.