Policy Areas

The Security & Defence Agenda (SDA) has been at the heart of the Brussels policymakers community for over a decade. It raises awareness by anticipating the political agenda and focusing attention on European, transatlantic and global security challenges. Its ensures the voices of all stakeholders are heard by gathering representatives from NATO and the EU, national governments, industry, academia, think-tanks and the media. The SDA places emphasis on topical, lively and innovative formats of debates giving all stakeholders an opportunity to voice their opinions.




The SDA provides Brussel's premier platform for the discussion of relations between NATO and the EU. The evolving nature of the transatlantic relationship and the reform challenges that face the Alliance are core themes. The post-Afghanistan NATO, partnerships or Ballistic Missile Defense all continue to be the object of SDA discussions. The SDA's annual conference is the flagship component of the Brussels defence and security calendar.


The SDA has hosted successive NATO Secretary General; from the patronage of Lord Robertson at its foundation to the current co-presidential direction of Jaap De Hoop Scheffer and Javier Solana. The SDA has also welcomed  key actors such as Robert Gates, Madeleine Albright, Pierre Vimont, Gen. Jean-Paul Palomeros, Giampaolo Di Paola and Jim Jones .


Robert Gates
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense 

Jaap De Hoop


Former NATO

Secretary General

Madeleine Albright

Former US Secretary of State

Javier Solana

Former EU High Representative for Common Foreign
and Security Policy

Pierre Vimont

Executive Secretary General, EEAS

 Gen. Jean-Paul Palomero
Supreme Allied Commander Transformation



Home Affairs

EU home affairs and so-called "homeland security"continue to be a dynamic and ever-changing topic for debate, including civil protection and police cooperation, critical infrastructure protection, border security, and CBRN threats.


The SDA regulary hosts the highest officials in these areas, including Cecilia Malmström, Kristalina Georgieva, and Stefano Manservisi from the European Commission. National representatives such as Jane Lute have also shared their perspectives at the SDA. The technical and organisational challenges that underpin policy decisions have been explored through the operational expertise of figures such as Ilkka Laitinen.


Rob Wainwright
Director of Europol

Cecilia Malmström

European Commissioner for Home Affairs


Director of the International Center for Counter-Terrorism

Brig. Gen. Ilkka Laitinen

Former Executive Director of FRONTEX

Kristalina Georgieva

European Commissioner for Int. Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response

Stefano Manservisi
Director General for Home Affairs in the European Commission



Defence economy

The SDA continues to chart developments in capabilities defence industrial base, maintaining a dialogue with the stakeholders that make up the European and US defence economy. Europe and NATO have been seeking a more integrated defence market, that will bring greater value for money from state defence budgets and increased research and innovation for this important sector.


Key voices have included industry leaders, and Defence Ministers like Pieter De Crem. Central institutions figures such as Claude-France Arnould have also contributed. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the SDA has headed the budget cut debate, asking the tough questions such as: What equipements should now be slashed? How far Smart Defence is more than a slogan? What is the added value of multinational projects?


Gen. Stéphane Abrial

Former NATO Supreme Allied Command Transformation

Patrick Auroy

NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment

Pieter De Crem

Belgian Minister of Defence

Claude-France Arnould

Chief Executive Director, European Defence Agency

Michael Gahler

Member of the European Parliament

 Michel Barnier

Vice-President of the European Commission


New threats

The security and defence challenges faced by Europe, the transatlantic alliance and the world are increasingly unpredictable. The SDA hosted a working group on biothreats when it was first set up in 2002, and works on issues ranging from the global commons, climate change to energy security.

Its cybersecurity initiative has become one of its flagship projects, bringing together key figures from across the Atlantic. We have hosted figures such as Susanne Weber-Mosdorf or Alain Hubert, bringing the perspective of non-defence experts to security topics. The SDA has welcomed key cyber-stakeholders such as Neelie Kroes, Michael Daniel, Troels Oerting, Paul Timmers, Annemarie Zielstra, Koen Gijsbers. Find out more about the SDA's cyber-security initiative.


Neelie Kroes 

Vice-President of the European Commission

Michael Daniel 

Special Assistant to the U.S. President and White House Cybersecurity Coordinator

Jane Lute 

Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security

Troels Oerting 

‎Head of the European Cybercrime Centre

Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar 

Cyber-security policy advisor, European External Action Service

 Koen Gijsbers

General Manager, NATO Communications and Information Agency