Deadline 15 March 2022
The 21st Annual Conference of the
Euro-Atlantic Conflict Studies Working Group
of the Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institute
"Special Operations in Past and Present. Implications for policy makers”
23-27 May 2022
CALL FOR PAPERS
As defined by the NATO Standard Allied Joint Publication, Special Forces, or Special Operations Forces (SOF), are "specially designated, organized, trained, and equipped forces, manned with selected personnel, using unconventional tactics, techniques, and modes of employment." These small elite military units conduct a wide array of so-called Special Operations (SO), e.g. special reconnaissance and intelligence gathering, eliminating or capturing high-profile targets, Counter Terrorism (CT) activities, and providing military assistance to allied forces or foreign insurgency movements.
Throughout the 20th and 21st century Special Forces have been used as a ‘force multiplier’ during conventional wars as well as irregular (counterinsurgency) conflicts. After the Cold War ended, the geopolitical focus of the Euro-Atlantic armed forces shifted towards worldwide peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations. The ‘surgical instrument’ of Special Operations has proven to be a successful and increasingly popular method to prevent collateral damage during these expeditionary deployments. CT units have also risen to prominence after the September 11 attacks revealed the increased threat of international terrorist groups. The gained importance of SOF within this diffuse worldwide security context has recently warranted several nations to establish specific Special Operations Commands.
The aim of the 21st annual conference of the Euro-Atlantic Conflict Studies Working Group is to look deeper into the nature of Special Forces and their activities, as well as their embedding into national armed forces and civil society. Historical studies can provide relevant examples and lessons that may help better adapt the national defense systems to cope with current and future challenges. We encourage historical (going back as far as 1900) as well as contemporary analyses of specific case studies that bring valuable insights into this very current and dynamic topic. The covert nature of SO(F) can make it notoriously difficult to conduct (historical) research in this field of study. This conference may also serve as a platform to exchange experiences between researchers who have worked on this subject.
Apart from good examples of special operations, the key thematic areas to be addressed may include the following topics:
- Why do nations have Special Forces and conduct Special Operations? Has the purpose of SOF changed over the last 120 years?
- Operations and doctrine. How is SOF doctrine defined and in what sense is it different from conventional military doctrine? What kind of operations are designated as ‘special’?
- The ‘special’ training, organization and equipment of Special Forces. What makes these units so exclusive?
- The culture and traditions of elite military units.
- Confidentiality and secrecy. What is the importance of operational secrecy (OPSEC) for Special Forces? And how do governments deal with strict military confidentiality (e.g. in relation to their duty to inform parliament or to uphold public information acts).
- How are Special Forces and Special Operations perceived by civil society (e.g. by politicians, journalists, the movie and game industries and in popular literature)?
- Legal aspects and challenges of (unconventional and/or covert) Special Operations. How did and will countries and their armed forces deal with these?
- Special Forces and Counter Terrorism operations. What makes SOF suitable for, among other things, critical infrastructure/objects security and release, hostage release? What are the limits of their capabilities, of their types of operations?
- SOF in the maritime domain. What ‘special’ maritime (and amphibious) capabilities do naval Special Forces have? What is the role of these elite units in maritime CT (concerning ships, harbors, oil/gas platforms and other critical infrastructure/objects) and counter piracy operations? What types of obstacles do they face in carrying out such operations? What are the limitations of such operations?
The working language of the conference is English. The deadline for the submission of paper proposals (up to 500 words) and short CV is 15 March 2022. These should be send to Capt. N. (ret.) Mariusz Mięsikowski, DSc (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Prof. Dr. Jan Hoffenaar (email@example.com). The contributions to the conference will be published.
All those interested are encouraged to participate – both as presenters and as auditors.
Submission paper abstract 15 March 2022
Notification of abstract acceptance 30 March 2022
Day of arrival 23 May 2022
Day of departure 27 May 2022
Deadline submission paper/article for publication 30 September 2022
The conference will be held at the Polish Naval Academy (PNA) in Gdynia, 69 Śmidowicza Str. The Polish Naval Academy is located in the Oksywie district. The center of Gdynia, which is a tourist attraction with a recommended hotel, is 7 km away from the Academy. In urban conditions, with heavy traffic, the journey takes no more than 30 minutes (normal conditions up to 20 minutes). The PNA will provide transport from the hotel to the conference venue and back.
The participants will be accommodated at the Mercure Gdynia Centrum Hotel, 22 Armii Krajowej Str., at a special price (single bed 67 Euro/night, double bed 74 Euro/night including brekfast) - data for booking will be sent soon.
There is also possible to accommodate at the PNA hotel. Cost: single bed 27 Euro/night, double bed 36 Euro/night. Additionally, breakfast costs around 4-5 Euro. If some of the participants are interesting in, please directly contact with PNA POC (see information below).
The PNA will provide transport from the Lech Walesa airport in Gdańsk to the hotel and the return.
For further information concerning the administrative/logistical arrangements, you can contact with Katarzyna Andziulewicz (PNA POC): firstname.lastname@example.org.
The costs of international transportation and accommodation will be covered by the participants. As usual, there will be a 100 euro participation fee for covering costs of staff ride, conference materials, meals and refreshments.
The Conflict Studies Working Group is an important body establishing a permanent international dialogue on historical research from a wide range of national experiences. We look forward to your continued participation and support in Gdynia. Please pass along this information to any colleagues who do not receive normally our notices. We would be delighted to see them here as well.
We look forward to welcoming you in Gdynia in 2022!
|Rear Admiral, Prof. Tomasz Szubrycht, PhD, DSc Rector-Commandant, Polish Naval Academy of the Heroes of Westerplatte||Prof. Dr. Ben Schoenmaker Director, Netherlands Institute of Military History|