AIIA National Office Hybrid (In-person in Canberra and online)
This event is brought to you by
Jānis Sārts, Director of NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence
Since July 2015, Jānis Sārts has served as Director of the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, based in Riga. The Centre is a multinational, cross-sector organisation, which provides comprehensive analysis, advice and practical support to the Alliance and allied nations.
As a recognised expert in strategic communications and emerging technologies Jānis Sārts has presented his views to Parliaments of the Federal Republic of Germany, France and Spain. In 2017, he testified before the Senate of the United States on Russia’s disinformation aims and practices. He is a regular speaker at the international conferences on the subjects of disinformation, social media impact and national security aspects of emerging technologies.
Jānis Sārts began his career in the Ministry of Defence in 1994. Over a 20-year career, he has served as Policy Director, Head of the Defence Section of Latvia’s Delegation to NATO and EU and Special Advisor to Georgia on defence reforms and NATO integration plans.
Before taking up his position at the Centre of Excellence, he was State Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Latvia for seven years (2008 – 2015). During this period, his responsibilities included oversight of defence reform, introduction of new capability development programmes as well as raising management efficiency across armed forces structures.
From 2012 to 2015 J.Sārts was Chair of the National Cyber Security Board. He was responsible for formulating and overseeing the implementation of Latvia’s cybersecurity policy, as well as increasing Latvia’s resilience against cyber-attacks during its EU Council Presidency in 2015.
Jānis Sārts holds a degree in History from the University of Latvia, has graduated from the NATO Defence College and has interned at the Swedish Defense Research Agency. He has received numerous state awards for his contribution to defence reforms, fostering Latvia’s membership to NATO and hosting the NATO Summit in Riga.
He has also contributed to a number of publications: Valker K. and Kupce I. (Eds.) “Nordic-Baltic-American Cooperation: Shaping the US-European Agenda” (Center for Transatlantic Relations SAIS, 2012); “Securing Digital Natives” in “Freedom, Security, Privacy. The Future of Childhood in the Digital World” (5Rights Foundation, 2020) and “Disinformation as a Threat to National Security”, in: Jayakumar S., Ang B., Anwar N.D. (Eds.) “Disinformation and Fake News” (Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore, 2020).
NATO, as a defensive alliance, plays a key role in protecting its member states from a range of direct and indirect threats emanating from its more immediate region. The nature of the current strategic environment, in particular the War in Ukraine, has a profound impact globally, including across the Indo-Pacific and Euro-Atlantic regions. To stay secure, NATO must look to the future together. NATO is reaching out to friends across the globe to clearly demonstrate unity of purpose, and the shared values and principles of such countries. In this talk, Mr Janis Sarts, the Director of NATO's Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, will reflect on NATO's 360-degree approach to collective defence and three core tasks, as outlined in it's 2022 Strategic Concept, namely deterrence and defence; crisis prevention and management; and cooperative security, and where like-minded nations from the region, including Australia, can play a cooperative role.
The NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence is recognised globally for its dedicated academic research, doctrine development, provision of education and training, and publications concerning this field of high-level international communication, and its annual hosting of the renown Riga STRATCOM Dialogue conference. During the period of 9 – 15th of February 2023, Mr Janis Sarts, the Director of NATO's Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, based in Riga, Latvia, will be visiting Singapore and Australia. During his visit, he will be meeting with counterparts across the Government, academia and strategic Think-Tanks, to discuss the important role of strategic communications in the current global environment, and especially in light of the ongoing conflict caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Director Sarts' visit also builds on strengthening the Australian-Latvian ties, as represented by the opening of the Latvian Embassy in Canberra in August 2022, during the official visit by His Excellency, Latvia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Edgars Rinkevics, and recognises the strong Latvian-Australian community of more than 20,000 people.