The 6th Annual Sovereign Challenge Conference featured 103 Foreign Defense and Military Attachés, Law Enforcement Attachés, and Diplomats representing 67 countries. The conference theme was Borders & Security: Similarities, Differences, and Shared Affinities. This conference explored a wide range of topics to include border control/management, trust, corruption/transnational crime, development of public support for education, a whole-of-government/whole-of-nation approach, and dealing with the unique challenges a border “ecosystem” presents. The concept of an ecosystem captures the complex dynamics whereby permanent residents and stakeholders of a border region increasingly interact with flows of humans, goods, information, cash, and other commodities. The degrees of permeability along any given border are best managed by information exchanges, policy coordination, and operational collaboration among all affected nations.
The 5th Annual Sovereign Challenge Conference featured a wide variety of presenters who captured the complexity of the global security environment, the challenges posed to national sovereignty, and the necessity for a shared and coordinated international effort to ensure stability and to protect national prerogatives to act. Included among these are:
a. Importance of understanding culture and acting on that understanding
b. Role of education in generating understanding, independent thought, progress, and stability
c. Need for collective effort as seen in the internationalization of the battlefield and the development of whole-of-government approaches
d. Threats posed by extremism and the roles of cultural understanding, education, and collective effort in confronting extremism
e. Importance of judicial and law enforcement approaches and solutions
f. Requirement for harmonized strategic communication strategies that are credible and effective in achieving desired outcomes.
Sovereign Challenge is a unique approach to solving the most important issue of our day. This conference and proceedings, as outlined in this report, bring us closer to that elusive goal of confronting those who would divide us and developing a comprehensive strategy that contributes to an international community of sovereign nations working together to effectively confront that threat.