Events

Spain took the presidency of the ICE for 2024

2 February 2024

The message of Secretary of State Esperanza Casteleiro, Directora of the CNI, on the occasion of taking the Presidency of the Intelligence College in Europe

Dear colleagues, 

In 2019, the Intelligence College in Europe was born as an instrument for dialogue among the European Intelligence community, decision-making entities and society. The College aspired to stimulate strategic thinking and develop a European Intelligence culture, with the aim of reinforcing security in Europe. 

Counting on the real and effective commitment of all members and partners and with the support of the academic world, the College offers a different and distinctive format aspiring to make cooperation between European Intelligence Services visible, as well as to reach society and, particularly, decision makers. 

The path followed so far has been intense and exceptional, thanks to the contribution of all College members and, most especially, to the impulse and sustained effort of the Permanent Secretariat. 

As Secretary of State-Director of the Centro Nacional de Inteligencia, it is a pleasure for me to inform you that on 1 st February 2024 Spain will assume the Presidency of the College. With humbleness, eagerness and responsibility, Spain will try to be up to our predecessors and foster internal dialogue, the participation of all countries and the continuity of ongoing projects. 

Thanks to the support of our colleagues Romania and Norway in the Troika, this year will allow us to consolidate the project, stabilize 

its functioning and promote the academic network, which should be the College's main driving force. 

It is also the moment to move forward as regards its visibility. We aim to be a reference for European structures and decision makers. To this end, it is vital that European citizens get to know us and acknowledge the value offered by Intelligence and Security Services to their freedom and well-being. We need to continue working to reinforce the relation and collaboration with European institutions. However, it is also essential to improve communication and to particularly address the generations that are taking over as decision makers, participatory youth. 

Spain's unwavering dedication to Europe is thus confirmed in our commitment to the ICE project and our conviction of the College's contribution to the security of European citizens. 

Yours sincerely 

Letter from the Secretary of State Director of the CNI

1 February 2024

 Dear colleagues, 

In 2019, the Intelligence College in Europe was born as an instrument for dialogue among the European Intelligence community, decision-making entities and society. The College aspired to stimulate strategic thinking and develop a European Intelligence culture, with the aim of reinforcing security in Europe. 

Counting on the real and effective commitment of all members and partners and with the support of the academic world, the College offers a different and distinctive format aspiring to make cooperation between European Intelligence Services visible, as well as to reach society and, particularly, decision makers. 

The path followed so far has been intense and exceptional, thanks to the contribution of all College members and, most especially, to the impulse and sustained effort of the Permanent Secretariat. 

As Secretary of State-Director of the Centro Nacional de Inteligencia, it is a pleasure for me to inform you that on 1 st February 2024 Spain will assume the Presidency of the College. With humbleness, eagerness and responsibility, Spain will try to be up to our predecessors and foster internal dialogue, the participation of all countries and the continuity of ongoing projects. 

Thanks to the support of our colleagues Romania and Norway in the Troika, this year will allow us to consolidate the project, stabilize 

its functioning and promote the academic network, which should be the College's main driving force. 

It is also the moment to move forward as regards its visibility. We aim to be a reference for European structures and decision makers. To this end, it is vital that European citizens get to know us and acknowledge the value offered by Intelligence and Security Services to their freedom and well-being. We need to continue working to reinforce the relation and collaboration with European institutions. However, it is also essential to improve communication and to particularly address the generations that are taking over as decision makers, participatory youth. 

Spain's unwavering dedication to Europe is thus confirmed in our commitment to the ICE project and our conviction of the College's contribution to the security of European citizens. 

Yours sincerely 

Welcome to our newest partner, the Republic of Moldova

4 January 2024

The Intelligence College in Europe is proud to announce a new partner of our community – the Republic of Moldova, who will be the 31st country joining our common endeavour.  

Under the Romanian Presidency and with the full support of all our Members, starting December 16th, the intelligence community of Moldova will participate, upon invitation, in a series of ICE activities, such as Thematic Seminars. Through workshops, discussions and roundtables, these seminars are an opportunity to exchange views between intelligence services, as well as with experts from the public sphere.

We are confident that the work made by our community and the Republic of Moldova will increase our strength and will consolidate our efforts to develop a European common strategic culture.

Italian Award “A Thesis for National Security”. Conclusion of the fifth edition.

22 November 2023

From left to right: Mario Parente, AISI Director, Elisabetta Belloni, DIS General Director, Alfredo Mantovano, Delegated Authority for the Security of the Republic, Giovanni Caravelli, AISE Director

Promoted by the Italian Intelligence System, “A Thesis for National Security” is an initiative dedicated to university students, who graduated presenting dissertations on intelligence-related topics.

The fifth edition (2021-2022) offered 10 prizes worth €2,500 each for the best master thesis, rated no less than 105/110, on the following topics: geopolitics and international relations; threats to national security; law, doctrine and history of intelligence; economic and financial security.

The Award has seen a constant increase in the number of applications over the years. With the participation of graduates from 50 Italian universities, the last edition confirms the value of the relationship between intelligence and academia to promote a shared culture of security.

On 20th October 2023, the awards ceremony of the fifth edition was held at the headquarters of the Italian Intelligence System, in the presence of Alfredo Mantovano, the Undersecretary of State to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers - Delegated Authority for the Security of the Republic, and the Directors of the Italian Intelligence Community.

Selected by an internal Committee, the winners are:

Giulia del Re – University of Naples 'Federico II’ – “ERROR 403: old and new categories applicable to cyber warfare”

Davide Fortin – Ca' Foscari University of Venice – “Europe in the Sahel: an analysis of the European counterterrorism structure between past and present to understand its action”

Lucia Frigo – University of Trento – “Post-Brexit European Security: the future of EU intelligence sharing, sanctions and defence-industrial cooperation with the United Kingdom”

Martina Gambacorta – Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna – “The Strategy of Contemporary Anarchists: an analysis of the Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI/IRF)”

Alessandro Imperia – University of Rome 'La Sapienza' – "Golden Powers between State and Market. An interdisciplinary and comparative journey between Italy and the USA in search of new perspectives (and tools) of public and private law'

Martina Messa – Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan – “Geopolitics of the energy transition: the consequences of remodelling the energy system on conflicts for resources in the Wider Mediterranean”

Beatrice Olivieri – LUISS Guido Carli of Rome – “Safeguarding national security interests: an overview of global screening procedures on foreign direct investment”

Edoardo Pellegrini – University of Trento-Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna of Pisa – “Technical Standardization as a tool for international powers to build their technological and geopolitical position: the China case”  

Flavio Saia – University of Palermo – “The financing of terrorism: an empirical analysis of emerging patterns and modi operandi”

Luca Taiana – University of Milan – “People's Republic of China, international infiltration patterns and strategies”

The sixth edition of the Award will be published shortly on the Italian Intelligence website www.sicurezzanazionale.gov.it.

Narcotrafficking: A European perspective

21 November 2023

SIRP has organized a course on Narcotrafficking: A European perspective, which delved in different aspects of this phenomenon.

We kickstarted our quest by actively shifting our focus to Mapping the Network, aiming at pinpointing and comprehending the lifelines of this illicit trade—the production zones, transit routes, and distribution hubs. Our analysis exposed Europe's dual role as a market and a critical nexus in this global trafficking dilemma.

Secondly, we scrutinized the Socio-Economic Implications, unravelling how narcotrafficking weaves into the socio-economic fabric of our nations, affecting economies, altering employment landscapes, and testing the resilience of our societies.

Moreover, in discussing Future Projections and Solutions, we brainstormed proactive measures, pursued innovative solutions, and reinforced collaborative efforts to mitigate this issue.

This module taped into a reservoir of expertise. Experts from Europol provided insights that illuminated the latest criminal activities across Europe. The Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre - Narcotics (MAOC-N) illuminated the tactical aspects of intercepting drug shipments. Similarly, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) delivered a data-centric analysis of drug trends.

Complementing this, we heard from the Portuguese services, who shared invaluable national strategies and experiences, alongside the maritime authority's specialized knowledge in protecting our seaways. The participation of SICAD demonstrated how we can bridge law enforcement efforts with health services, advancing strategies for demand reduction and harm prevention. Additionally, saw how the collaborative nature of investigative journalism, working in tandem with law enforcement and intelligence agencies, can bolster our efforts. The information journalists uncover is often instrumental in initiating investigations, shaping policy, and fostering an informed public discourse. Two daring investigative journalists took us behind the scenes of their deep dive into the notorious South America - Africa - European route.

Seminar on Intelligence and Decision Making, Madrid

9 November 2023

On September 19 and 20, 2023, the Seminar on Intelligence and Decision Making,
organized by the Intelligence College in Europe (ICE) and the Centro Nacional de Inteligencia (CNI) of Spain, took place at the José Ortega y Gasset-Gregorio Marañón Foundation (FOM) in Madrid.

The seminar was inaugurated by the Secretary of State Director of the CNI, Esperanza Casteleiro, and had the participation of the Secretary General of the CNI himself, Arturo Relanzón, and that of different European Intelligence Services, managers of the public and private sector, heads of office and senior officials of several European security institutions and academics from different countries.

The participation of prestigious academic staff and private companies favored the plurality of points of view and enriched the dialogue, achieving a much broader and more valuable vision of the needs of Intelligence consumers. The level of representation of some of the highest EU clients of Intelligence has helped bringing in interesting feedbacks and points of view, in many cases different from the national points of view. To be noted, also, the active and dynamic presence of both EU SATCEN and EU INTCEN’s directors, who have helped the attendees to better understand the relations between national and European decision-makers on one side and the degree of intelligence support given to the EU institutions on the other side.

The selected attendees were managers coming from both the European intelligence & security community and from the European civil society, be them Academics working in the field of European affairs, Defence, Intelligence and security or EU officials.

During the seminar, issues of foresight and strategy were analysed, taking into account different angles, with a specific focus on the technological (including the impact of AI) and the psychological ones. In a second time, the precise added value of Intelligence for decision making was discussed, insisting on the challenges created by the multiplication of information sources, very often generating more noise and confusion than clarity.

Then, the issue of the relationship between intelligence producers and consumers was addressed thoroughly. Most of the interventions, both from the roundtable panels and from the attendees, were insisting on the need of creating a sense of trust and reliability and on the importance of a sound feedback between consumers and producers. It encourages endorsing a more open and dynamic dialogue between both parties and reinforcing intelligence and security culture, especially inside the European institutions.

This seminar established itself in a specific line of events and seminars intended to dig in on how to provide a better service to the decision makers. In this sense, it could be seen as complementing the joint Egmont Institute and Belgian intelligence community’s seminar on “How to implement Strategic Issues in the Intelligence work” that took place in May/June this year.

New lines of effort

While opening this high level Seminar, the Spanish Secretary of State has insisted on the need to go forward in terms of relations between the Intelligence sector and the European decision-makers, before detailing the role ICE could play in reinforcing the needed common intelligence and security culture. Mrs Esperanza Casteleiro, then, concluded by presenting the new axis of developments of the next, Spanish, ICE Presidency.

In particular, she stated “The ICE allows us to show at European level the efficient collaboration among the Services, counting on the collaboration of academics and researchers. In this sense, I think it is very important to inform the citizens of the European Union about the added value provided by the Services Intelligence to their freedom and well-being.

ICE also aims to be an instrument for enhance the knowledge of Intelligence Services by young people. Youth will be responsible for the future of Europe, so it is crucial they can recognize Intelligence as one of the main guarantors of the security and European values.

It will also be essential to emphasize the role of women in the field of intelligence.

Spain (…) has supported the College from the very beginning and has actively participated in all its initiatives.

During the next year 2024 Spain will assume the presidency of the College of Intelligence in Europe. We will try to prioritize dialog between the European Intelligence community and the decision-making authorities, showing the efficient collaboration existing among the various European Intelligence Services, as well as the importance of the Academia. It is a question of whether decision-makers know the value of Intelligence, or whether it is lost in the enormous amount of information they receive every day. It is also a question of involving the decision-maker in the Intelligence elaboration processes. At the end, it is a question of improving the understanding between producers and consumers. It is time to push the dialog between the community European Intelligence and the decision-makers, to encourage a culture of intelligence that promotes to have an Intelligence more useful and timely.

The collaboration among the Services is close, exhaustive and old. (…) there is no awareness of such extensive collaboration between the Services. The College is the first Service Forum to be born with the aim of showing this existing collaboration.

Although national security is the exclusive competence of States, as provided for in the Treaty on European Union, cooperation in the field of Intelligence extends to the Union, whose institutions receive Intelligence from the various services through INTCEN. It can be assured that the Intelligence Services are fully involved in strengthening the value of Intelligence in the European Union.

Likewise, Intelligence Services need that the value of Intelligence is taken into account by European institutions, so that the tools and methods for the elaboration of Intelligence were understood and preserved. Privacy and security should not be exclusionary.”

Postgraduate Course ‘Intelligence and the Military’

8 November 2023

From October 2nd to October 6th the postgraduate course ‘Intelligence and the Military’ took place in The Hague, the Netherlands. This event was hosted by the Faculty of Military Sciences of the Netherlands Defence Academy (NLDA) and supported by the Dutch Defence Intelligence and Security Service under the framework of the Intelligence College in Europe (ICE). Around 30 participants from 15 countries attended, coming from the full range of ICE member intelligence organizations.

The recent conflict in Ukraine and the tragic events in Afghanistan in the summer of 2021 clearly illustrate the complex environment in which military forces have to operate. In general, the environment in which Western militaries operate has been defined as “new wars”[1], hybrid or grey zone conflicts. These conflicts are characterized by different combinations of state as well as non-state actors and threats that blur the distinction between peace and war. Stability is threatened by large-scale displacement of people, fragile or failing economic, political, and social institutions, random and systematic violence against non-combatants and widespread lawlessness. As the war in Ukraine has demonstrated, this does not exclude regular military warfare. Yet, there is a blurring of roles and domains, of domestic and foreign, civil and military intelligence, and between the strategic, operational and tactical levels of warfare. Compounding to these challenges are the many innovations that take place at high speed and influence the way military organizations are doing intelligence.

Therefore, governments spend heavily on intelligence to support their militaries at tactical, operational and strategic levels. This happens in many different mission areas, abroad as well as at home, and in various contexts including counter-terrorism, homeland security and peace and stability operations. Overall, however, only limited scholarly emphasis has been put on intelligence and the military. As a result, the main academic intelligence journals only occasionally publish on this topic[2]. It appears not much has changed since Michael Handel[3] noted how “the most exhaustive military histories scarcely discuss the weighty contribution of intelligence activities”. At universities and defence academia the topic does not receive much attention either. Meanwhile, military intelligence schools focus mostly on providing practical tools and techniques, such as analytic techniques or counter intelligence measures.

This course sought to address this gap by reflecting on the role of intelligence in the military and providing new conceptual as well as empirical perspectives. It evolved around five themes; ‘Defence Intelligence providing strategic-level intelligence support’, ‘Military Intelligence supporting military operations’, ‘Countering Hybrid Threats’, ‘Technology and Innovation’, and ‘The Role of Intelligence in the Russo-Ukrainian Conflict’. Being a postgraduate course, the main objective was to bring together practitioners of intelligence and academic experts to engage in substantive dialogue. This stimulated knowledge development and deeper understanding on the topic of intelligence and the military. During each session, sufficient time was devoted to exchange perspectives, experiences and insights. An important element of this course was social interaction. Besides the regular coffee and lunch breaks, the programme offered a guided field trip to The Hague and several joint dinners which created room for informal discussions and relations. From the reactions of participants, it could be noted that the course was a successful contribution to the ICE aims of developing a shared intelligence culture in Europe and fostering mutual understanding.


[1] Mary Kaldor, New and old wars: Organized violence in a global area. Third edition. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012).

[2] Sebastiaan J.H. Rietjens, “Intelligence in defence organizations: a tour de Force,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 35, No. 5., 2020, p. 717-733.

[3] Michael Handel (ed.), Intelligence and Military Operations (Abingdon: Routledge, 1990), pp. 74.

Thematic Seminar on “How to implement strategic issues in the intelligence work?”

13 October 2023

On 31st of May and 1st of June 2023, the Belgian Security (VSSE) and CUTA, with the support of the Royal Military Academy and the Institute Egmont, organised a Thematic Seminar on “How to implement strategic issues in the intelligence work?” which attracted a very large affluence, gathering 80 participants from 23 countries and international organisations. This event was inaugurated on Tuesday 30th by a welcome dinner under the auspices of the Deputy Administrator General of the VSSE, Mr Pascal PETRY, and the commanding officer of the Royal Military Academy, Admiral Yves DUPONT.

M. François FISCHER, Director of the ICE Permanent Secretariat, welcomed the participants and reminded them how important strategic culture is, giving as an example that, if Ukraine wins its war against Russia, it will be because it changed its paradigm and distanced itself from the soviet culture.

The Director of international relations at VSSE gave some introductory observations on strategy: strategy and objectives work together, but objectives should be defined before the strategy can be developed. Defining a strategy follows therefore a top-down-logic, to which the military in general and military services in particular are more used, compared with other services, where events (such as terror attacks) often let no or few time for a strategic approach.

Prof. Dr. Sven BISCOP from the Egmont Institute gave his vision on the question “What is strategy?” The purpose of strategy is to define the conditions that have to be fulfilled to continue one’s way of life, while the “grand strategy” defines the national security of a country, which will mobilise all its resources to defend it. “Grand strategies” are not secret, nor do they evolve quickly, but in case of a (rare) systemic shock.

Colonel Eric KALAJZIC from the Belgian Royal Higher Institute for Defence gave an insight on “what is strategic intelligence and its purpose”. He defined strategic intelligence as the information needed to formulate policy and plans at international and national levels, which distinguishes itself therefore from operational or tactical intelligence. Strategic intelligence needs national or international guidance, whereas the operational level of intelligence analyses this guidance, and the tactical one involves concrete planning.

The Romanian representative focused on “the use of indicators in anticipatory analytical processes”. The strategic foresight, as the ability to anticipate what will happen in the future, is no easy task for human beings, who are susceptible to cognitive biases: imagining the future is not instinctive and they tend to find the future in the past, or expect their counterpart to react like them. Foresight needs adapted instruments (not only classified information is relevant, but also open-source information, since it relates to the analysed topic) and manage expectations: errors are also opportunities to learn, improve, and adapt.

Two high level practitioners, the strategic advisor of the Dutch GISS and the Head of the Strategic foresight in the ACOS Strat of the Belgian Ministry of Defence, presented then “effective methods to identify strategic challenges”:

  • Our Dutch colleague detailed an efficient method regarding scenario building. It is used to eliminate cognitive, cultural or institutional biases, blind spots, and tunnel vision through a number of systematic steps of tasks. This method is not focusing on the predictability but on the conceivability of future developments.
  • Our Belgian colleague detailed the interest of Strategic Foresight Analysis (SFA), which examines the interactions between drivers of change and gives a broad, but useful, look at the future in social, technical, environmental, economic, and political domains.

The a.i. Director of the Belgian Coordination Unit for threat Analysis (CUTA), welcomed the participants for the second day of the seminar. He reminded them of the importance to prioritise when anticipating threats and preventing crises, as well as to establish a well-functioning cooperation with the partners. He insisted on the need to dispose of a robust system of intelligence sharing and the need to invest in technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and data analysis to deliver exploitable output to decision makers.

Two speakers from the British Cabinet Office explained the “policy-operations link: translating strategic challenges into intelligence action”. After a presentation of the intelligence policy in general and the role played by the Cabinet Office in particular, they detailed the cross-governmental and cross-community approach adopted, from the group dedicated to national security to the operational contributions ensuing.

Dr. Christiane HÖHN, Principal adviser to the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (EU CTC) intervened on “how to have a global approach?”. She addressed the ways to define strategic objectives in CT, insisting on the essential role of Security and intelligence inputs, and the need for them to be transformed into action and tools, and how operators can impact strategic choices.

The Strategy Advisor from the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spoke about the “Practical achievements – the Belgian national security strategy”. Listing first the six vital interests of the Kingdom of Belgium, he reminded that the national security is an umbrella document not going into granularity (CT or Defence strategies being sub-strategies). Every six months, all personnel are reviewed to assess the realisation of these priorities.

Mr. Wiktor STANIECKI, Deputy Head of the Security & Defence Policy Division of the European External Action Service (EEAS) presented “the EU Strategic Compass”. It contains a public threat assessment, taking stock of the main conclusions of SIAC’s EU Threat Analysis, concrete proposals with specific target dates, and prescribes a regular review process at Council and European Council level.

Mr Cesar BALGUERIAS, Policy Advisor to the Director of EU INTCEN, presented the position of the Single Intelligence Analysis Capacity (SIAC) in the EU security strategy. SIAC provided the EU institutions with a threat analysis in 2020, which was reviewed in 2022, integrating strategic threat analyses from national services in a multilateral context.

The Director of the intelligence production unit in NATO JISD presented the “NATO strategic concept”, a 360-degree approach including a strong collaboration both among the Allies and with NATO partners. She addressed collaborative projects with NATO partners on hybrid threats, cyber, space, manipulation of democracies, and use of technology against our armed forces.

Conclusion

Due to the high interest in the subject, the informal atmosphere, and its diversified setup, bringing together intelligence practitioners, academics, think tankers, and decision-makers (recipients of strategic intelligence or people involved in the prioritisation), the Thematic Seminar was both intensive and intense.

During this seminar, participants were given the opportunity to ask questions and address issues related to their daily work, as well as problematics most important to them, making it particularly interactive.

This first ever ICE seminar in Brussels shows also all the interest of such events, giving the opportunity to make selected EU outreach actions and to flag the high degree of cooperation within our European intelligence and security community.

Thematic Seminar - Russian Threat – the 10-year perspective

4 October 2023

The Czech Security information service (BIS) hosted a thematic seminar in Prague on the topic of Russian threat – the 10-year perspective. The seminar took place on May 23 – May 25, 2023.

The two-day seminar was divided into four blocks: first one focused on Russia as a security threat for Central Europe and Western countries in general in 10 years, the second on the future of Russian relations with the rest of the world, namely China and African countries. The third dealt with the issue of energy and its use as a Russian weapon (again with the 10-year perspective). The last block consisted of several short presentations of Czech security services and other state institutions on the main seminar topic.

In the upcoming years, Russia will remain a security threat for the West, mainly because of the nature of the Russian regime. To understand Russia’s position and motivation of its leaders, cultural proximity or economic dimension are among least relevant categories. Russians perceive their country as the greatest, unique and victorious. They believe that Russia’s role in European and world history is unique. The source of this feeling of uniqueness is ideology, which reflects, and is strengthened, by vastness and remoteness of Russian territory.

Russia has never taken seriously the liberal view, where interdependence softens competition and builds trust, and where economic relations are more important than power priorities. The main goal of the Russian elites is to maintain unlimited power inside Russia and the maximum possible influence in the world. Putin has built a neo-Soviet regime and it is unlikely that there will be a radical change in this development trajectory, regardless of him staying in office.

Further developments, diplomatic pushes and the promoting of economic attractiveness can all be expected to be part of a common China-Russia strategic plan for the coming few years. The next Xi-Putin Summit, to be held in Beijing probably in autumn, promises to be an interesting yardstick as concerns progression and what is yet to come in terms of global realignment.

Russia and China share domestic and international interests. In the Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on the International Relations Entering a New Era and the Global Sustainable Development (February 4, 2022), Russia and China declared a “no limits friendship” and rejected universalism when it comes to political system and values. From their perspective, certain states attempt to impose their own “democratic standards” on other countries. Russia and China agree, “Advocacy of democracy and human rights must not be used to put pressure on other countries. No country is superior to others, no model of governance is universal, and no single country should dictate the international order”. Russia and China promote a “truly multilateral world order” and “greater democracy in international relations”. They declared friendship with no “forbidden” areas of cooperation and perceive themselves as “responsible global powers”.

Russian presence in Africa will be weakening in the upcoming years and it will be limited to the conflict-ridden regions. As African leaders will be aging, Russia is going to lose its historical ties to African countries. It will compete with China for influence in the region.

Russia’s economy is weak and declining. At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, its share on the global economy was approximately the same as that of China. In 2020, China’s share on the global economy was 17.5%, while that of Russia was some 1.78% and it was predicted to keep declining in every year over the following decade.

Russia’s economy is resource-based and its structure is under-developed. In 2021, fuel and energy accounted for 53.8% of Russia’s export revenues, metals and metal products for 11.2%. Several times in the past Russia declared that it would diversify its economy and develop a technological sector, yet it has never succeeded and it is unlikely to succeed in the foreseeable future either.

Russia has learnt from the Western sanctions imposed on it after its annexation of Crimea. Between 2014 and 2022, the country prepared itself for the effects of potential sanctions by developing self-sufficiency in supplies of basic foods, restructuring its official reserves, decreasing dependency of government debt financing on foreign investors, making legal arrangements for making departure of foreign firms from Russia difficult, etc. For all these reasons, as well as for the pervasive evasion of sanctions, the current sanctions against Russia so far have not affected the Russian economy as much as it had been expected.

Estimated impact of Western sanctions on Russia’s GDP relying on comparisons of predicted Russian GDP growth before and after the invasion of Ukraine suggests that the country’s real GDP of 2022 was 7–10% below what it would have been had sanctions not been applied following the invasion. This reduction in GDP growth is likely to continue through 2023 and early 2024.

Over the time, Russia is likely to keep developing alternative trading patterns that will dampen any future impact of sanctions, primarily through third-country re-exports – some via China, most via Turkey and Central Asian countries, but also UAE, Armenia and Georgia. These countries benefit from the war and sanctions imposed on Russia and the flight of Russian capital from Russia. While Russian economy is shrinking, their economies are expected to grow at around 5% growth on average. About 15,500 Russian companies are currently registered in Kazakhstan – 100% increase since last year. Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are in a customs union with Russia and, on the other hand, Turkey is in a customs union with the EU.

When it comes to Russian military, Russia has suffered huge losses and achieved less than anticipated after invading Ukraine (in February 2022). The main reasons were both operational (low numbers of soldiers, poor planning and assumptions, difficult logistics in the vast Ukrainian territory) and structural (soldiers with limited education and capabilities, unwillingness to use conscripts and to mobilize, corruption and ineffective spending in the military). In the conflict, Russia has burned part of its military depots and suffered huge personnel causalities. If Russia improves its arms production, it can re-equip its units by 2028–2030. Personnel replenishment can be quick in terms of numbers; however, replenishment in terms of quality will last perhaps a decade.

From the perspective of the USA (or the UK and some other West-European countries), there is a linear relationship between how much Russia is weakened and the threat Russia poses to them. For CEE countries, the situation is more complicated. The key pillar of our security is the US presence on the continent. If the USA decides to withdraw (e.g. because Russia is no more a credible threat), our security position might be worse than before the war.

We believe that the event was enriching for both the intelligence services representatives as well as the members of the academy.

International Association for Intelligence Education (IAFIE) & IAFIE European Chapter

4 October 2023

Annual Conference – Copenhagen (11-13 September 2023)

The Director of the Permanent Secretariat of the Intelligence College in Europe (College) participated in the Annual Conference of the International Association for Intelligence Education (IAFIE) held in Copenhagen from 11 to 13 September 2023, in joint AIFIE and AIFIE European Chapter format.

This Conference, which was held on the premises of the Danish Defence College, was jointly organised by the Danish and Norwegian authorities (via their Defence Universities) after intensive preparation.

The event, of great scope and high visibility within the western community of Intelligence Studies and Intelligence training centres, was open to university leaders in Intelligence Studies, heads of training centres and many executives of private intelligence companies working for the Services or in good "intelligence" with them.

The programme was very dense and comprehensive, going through numerous round tables or parallel panels, many interesting and stimulating themes for any academic involved in the field of Intelligence / Security Studies or any Director of National Intelligence Academy, Director of Programs or research programmes within the professional training centres of intelligence services.

First of all, this allowed to identify new fields of study, the axes of publication, the most original researchers, to discuss problems encountered at the pedagogical level or new themes to be addressed. It also allows, beyond this monitoring & research function, to maintain and enrich its network of contacts between people sharing the same values and the same security rules.

The Intelligence College in Europe, through the voice of its Director, took advantage of this event to make itself better known in academic circles and to strengthen its interactions in the field of Intelligence Studies.

The Director was able to present the development of the College's training and outreach activities as well as the development axes towards young generations and a more robust European intelligence and security culture. Active participation in multiple round tables and informal contacts with researchers also made it possible to identify future topics of cooperation or action for the College's Academic Network.