No Fair-Weather Instrument: The Need to Rethink Military Confidence Building in Europe

We will discuss Benjamin Schaller's paper, "No Fair-Weather Instrument: The Need to Rethink Military Confidence Building in Europe" and its implications for Arctic security.

Speaker: Dr. Benjamin Schaller, University of Tromsø — The Arctic University of Norway

Respondent: Rolf Tamnes, Professor in modern history and security policy



If you would like to participate in this online seminar, please register here. All participants will receive the paper and a Zoom invitation in advance.



The current crisis of confidence in Europe has clearly had an impact on defence and security relations between Russia and the West. Against this backdrop, the relatively constructive and well-functioning working relations that currently hold among arms control units clearly stand out, calling for a critical rethinking of how confidence- and security-building measures (CSBMs) contribute to increasing levels of trust among OSCE participating States. This paper outlines a new analytical framework that allows us to better understand how CSBMs contribute to increased levels of trust between arms control units, offering us interesting new perspectives on how to enhance their positive effects on defence and security relations in times of increased political tension and distrust. The main takeaway of this new perspective is that CSBMs are not essentially dysfunctional but that many of their trust-building effects target the wrong actors and levels in defence and security politics. Amid the current crisis in European security, governments ought to focus on multilateral forms of verification, strengthen military-to-military contacts, find ways to extend the effects of CSBMs beyond the relatively small arms control community, and invest in more targeted confidence building at a higher political and military level. 


Speaker bio:

Dr. Benjamin Schaller is a recent PhD graduate from UiT – The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø and a fellow of the Harvard Arms Control Negotiation Academy. His research interests include arms control and military confidence-building, NATO-Russia relations, Arctic security, and Nordic Defence Cooperation. He is the winner of the 2020 OSCE Essay Competition on Conventional Arms Control and Confidence- and Security-Building Measures and has previously worked at the German Federal Foreign Office where he was responsible for policies in the area of arms control and military security, in connection with the German chairmanship of the OSCE in 2016. From March 2021, he will begin working as policy officer for the Federal Ministry of Defence in Berlin. ​


Respondent bio:

Rolf Tamnes has been a Professor at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies for many years. He served as the Institute’s Director for 16 years (1996–2012). He has published extensively on transatlantic, Norwegian and Arctic security.

Published Feb. 3, 2021 4:10 PM - Last modified Feb. 11, 2021 8:01 AM