The second panel of Georgia Defence and Security Conference involved discussion on modern complexities of the Total Defence. The session was moderated by the Chairman of the National Defence Committee of the Parliament of Estonia Hannes Hanso. Participants talked about the conceptual principles of the Total Defence and reviewed the experience of various countries.

According to the senior fellow of the Atlantic Council Ariel Cohen, for the practical implementation of the Total Defence concept a whole of government approach, development of the relevant legislation, conduct of regular inter-agency exercises, as well as informational and psychological resilience is necessary. In this regard, he emphasized on the importance of education in civil defence.

The Ambassador of Sweden to Georgia Ulrik Tidestrom shared practical experience of his country. As he noted, with the emergence of new threats, the defence budget is increasing and the military and the Total Defence capabilities are getting stronger. According to the ambassador, total defence is the preparation for war, which combines civil and military aspects and it is often called a response to hybrid challenges.

The Ambassador of Finland to Georgia Arja Makkonen highlighted Finnish approach to the Total Defence, which is manifested in strong cooperation with partners and robust territorial defence. She also talked about the role of the conscription service. The Ambassador noted that Strategic Communications is important against hybrid challenges, which requires rapid decision-making from the management. According to her, in order to achieve success in the fight against disinformation, alongside with pluralistic and objective media, it is necessary to have a critical mass, thus raising awareness in public schools is important.

Within the session, the First Deputy Minister of Defence Lela Chikovani thanked panel speakers for sharing their experience. She discussed the importance of the Total Defence and the steps made by the Ministry of Defence of Georgia in this direction.

Georgia Defence and Security Conference opened today at the hotel Hilton in Batumi. For the last 12 years Georgia Defence and Security Conference has become a unique forum to discuss the challenges against Euro-Atlantic security and regional stability. The conference will be attended by up to 300 participants, including high-ranking Georgian and foreign politicians, defence and security experts, representatives of civil society, media and academic circles.