RIGA, Latvia – The second NATO Resilience Symposium was held in Riga, Latvia, from April 25 to 27. This year’s theme was “Resilience in the Age of Disruption”. 

The NATO Strategic Concept 2022 underscores resilience as a critical enabler to fulfill the Alliance’s core tasks. The aim of the NATO Resilience Symposium 2023 was to promote resilience, primarily as a national responsibility, but also as an important aspect of NATO’s deterrence and defence.

The symposium helped explore key issues on the resilience agenda, with topics ranging from societal resilience and critical infrastructure security to the possibility of recognizing big data as a new baseline requirement for NATO.

The event was jointly organized by NATO International Staff’s Defence Policy and Planning Division and Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (HQ SACT), and hosted by the Latvian Government.

The Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) supported the event by providing a variety of resilience-related displays at the symposium marketplace that provided valuable insights on how the Centre strengthens NATO’s resilience through exercises and wargames.

The JWC’s thematic stands included custom-built wargames on areas, such as, operational level civil-military interaction on national resilience and humanitarian assistance and disaster response, as well as key information about how the Centre helps improve resilience awareness during the JWC-directed exercises.

More than 250 people attended the symposium including senior civilian and military leaders from Allied and partner nations, NATO and selected NATO Centres of Excellence, international and non-governmental organizations, academia, and industry.

Speaking at the opening session of the symposium, the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Latvia, Ināra Mūrniece, explained that Latvia was currently developing its comprehensive national defence system, which involved all capabilities “from modern weapon systems to well-prepared society and state institutions”.

“Preparedness, readiness and willingness of the whole society is essential to overcome any type of crisis. Therefore, we are strengthening our psychological resistance,” she said, adding: “With this aim in mind, we are implementing state defence studies curriculum that will be compulsory for all Latvian schools in 2024.”

The Minister added: “Resilience first arises in people’s minds and hearts. And, only then, it’s implemented in real-life actions.”

The Latvian Prime Minister, Krišjānis Kariņš, addressed the participants next, stressing that the most inspiring example of military, civilian, and political resilience was happening in Ukraine right now, in its war against Russia.

“What is a resilient society? We don’t need to look far; we simply look at the Ukrainians. It’s not just the soldiers on the frontline, it’s all the way through society.”

The Prime Minister underlined the need to continue strengthening our resilience in “military, societal, and political spheres” to ensure our readiness to face any threats to the security of our nations.

NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană, virtually addressed the symposium, saying that resilience was “our first line of defence and a fundamental aspect of our deterrence and defence”.

“When President Putin first ordered his tanks to roll cross the border, he expected Kyiv to fall within days and the rest of the country to follow in a matter of weeks. He was wrong. He underestimated the resilience of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people,” the Deputy Secretary General said, underlining that resilience helps us to “prevent, to persevere, and bounce back” from attacks of all forms.

The Deputy Secretary General then talked about the recent events in NATO’s resilience agenda, including the NATO-EU Joint Declaration, which focuses on resilience and the protection of critical infrastructure, amongst other topics.


“With our colleagues in Allied Command Operations and through our two subordinate commands, the Joint Warfare Centre and the Joint Force Training Centre, we continue to build increasingly sophisticated resilience aspects into our exercises and wargames.”

Vice Admiral Guy Robinson
HQ SACT Chief of Staff


Also speaking at the opening session, Vice Admiral Guy Robinson OBE, Chief of Staff at Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (HQ SACT), explained Allied Command Transformation’s contribution to resilience through the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept, NATO Defence Planning Process, and Common Funded Capabilities.

Vice Admiral Robinson also highlighted the importance of exercises and wargaming to help achieve stronger resilience.

“With our colleagues in Allied Command Operations and through our two subordinate commands, the Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) and the Joint Force Training Centre, we continue to build increasingly sophisticated resilience aspects into our exercises and wargames,” the Vice Admiral said.

In addition to the JWC displays, other marketplace stands included NATO’s layered resilience, resilience data analytics, a simulation game on local-level crisis management, Latvian national defence training, as well as best practices for the resilience of undersea infrastructure.

These displays were provided by HQ SACT, the Strategic Wargaming and Cyber Department of the German Military Academy, the Latvian Government, and the Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation of the NATO Science and Technology Organization.

During the closing session on April 27, Vice Admiral Robinson referred to the NATO Exercise STEADFAST JUPITER 2023 (STJU23) – the largest NATO command post exercise in modern warfare – saying that the exercise would provide an opportunity for HQ SACT to observe the layered resilience concept this fall.

Directed by the JWC, STJU23 is designed to strengthen low- and high-intensity warfighting skillsets of the NATO Command and Force Structure Headquarters in all domains, using multiple joint operations area (JOA) scenarios. Amongst the other training objectives, the Article 5 exercise will focus on the military resilience concept.

NATO Strategic Concept 2022 states that the Alliance will "pursue a more robust, integrated and coherent approach to building national and Alliance-wide resilience against military and non-military threats and challenges to our security, as a national responsibility and a collective commitment rooted in Article 3 of the North Atlantic Treaty."


Photos From NATO Resilience Symposium 2023