About event

The National Defence Foundation is a non-Governmental organization and is organizing annual security Forums and Conferences. This time again, together with our partners, we are organizing - an annual “Vilnius Security Forum 2021” on the topic of “Western Readiness to Respond to Hybrid Threats” which will include: a conference/webinar in the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania.

Our goal is enhancing Lithuania’s national security via the organization of various projects and processes in Lithuania and the region overall. Among our primary activities is the delivery of strategic insights, assessments and recommendations to Lithuanian and foreign governmental and non-governmental institutions and policymakers. We believe “Vilnius Security Forum” can encourage an open discussion between our society, political leaders, governmental institutions, and non-governmental institutions may strongly contribute to the Regional security.

Date of the event



Dr. Laurynas Kasčiūnas

Is the Chairman of the National Security and Defense Committee of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania, he a political scientist, member of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania. In the pas he has worked in analytical work at various research centers, and has worked with colleagues on various analytical studies on Lithuanian national security and foreign policy issues. Also, he was a lecturer at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University

Mr. Don Bacon

Growing up and working on a farm in Illinois, Congressman Don Bacon learned first-hand about hard work and commitment. After graduating from Northern Illinois University, he began his military career by joining the U.S. Air Force and serving nearly 30 years, ultimately retiring as a Brigadier General. During his career, Congressman Bacon specialized in electronic warfare, intelligence, and reconnaissance. His career highlights include two tours as a Wing Commander, at Ramstein Airbase in Germany and Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Nebraska; group command at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona; squadron command in Arizona, and expeditionary squadron command in Iraq. In total, Congressman Bacon served 16 assignments including four deployments across the globe, three of which were in the Middle East, and one assignment to Iraq in 2007 to 2008 during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
Congressman Bacon’s military decorations include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, two Bronze Stars, two Legion of Merits, five Meritorious Service Medals, and the Aerial Achievement Medal. Additionally, he was selected as Europe’s top Air Force Wing Commander for his time at Ramstein Airbase, as well as recognized as a distinguished graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, Navigator-Electronic Warfare School, and Officer Intelligence School. Further, Congressman Bacon has earned two Masters Degrees, from the University of Phoenix in Arizona and the National War College in Washington D.C.
Elected to represent Nebraska’s Second District in 2016, he serves as the Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations. He also serves on the House Armed Services Committee. He and his wife Angie have three sons, one daughter, and six grandchildren.

Mr. Ilkka Kanerva

Is Chairman of Defence Committee at Parliament of Finland. Also he is a member of Speaker's Council, Forum for International Affairs, Head of the Delegation to NATO Parliamentary Assembly, deputy member of Foreign Affairs Committee and the Finnish Delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. Previously Mr. Ilkka Kanerva was Minister for Foreign Affairs (2007-2008), Minister at the Ministry of Finance (1991-1995), Minister of Employment (1991-1995), Minister of Transport (1990-1991), Minister at the Ministry of Finance (1989-1991) and Deputy Prime Minister of Finland since April to August in 1991.

Dr. Hans Binnendijk

Is a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council. He has served in senior positions on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff, the National Security Council, the State Department, and the National Defense University. In academia, he was Director of Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy and Director of Studies of London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies. Binnendijk is author, coauthor, or editor of about 20 books and has written over 200 articles, editorials, and reports. His most recent book is Friends, Foes, and Future Directions (RAND).

LTG (ret.) Heinrich Brauss

Lieutenant general (ret.) Heinrich BRAUSS was NATO Secretary General for Defense Policy and Force Planning from October 2013 to July 2018. In this role, he was also Division Chief of the Defense Policy and Planning Division of the International Staff of NATO and Chairman of the Defense Policy and Planning Committee of the North Atlantic Council. He was thus in charge of NATO's defense and strategic focus on the fundamentally changed security landscape since Russia's aggression against Ukraine in 2014 and the strengthening of NATO's deterrence and defense capability.

Mr. Marko Mihkelson

Is a Member of Estonian Parliament and he is a member of the Reform Party (Renew Europe). He is a Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Marko Mihkelson was first elected to the Parliament in 2003 and is currently serving his fitfh mandate. He has served in previous parliaments as a Chair of Foreign Affairs Committee, Chair of EU Affairs Committee and Chair of National Defence Committee. Between 2000 and 2003 he worked as the Director of the Baltic Centre for Russian Studies, from 1997 to 2000 he was the Editor-in-Chief of the biggest national daily newspaper Postimees and from 1994 to 1997 he was Postimees’s correspondent in Moscow. He has a MA degree in History from the University of Tartu. He is author of the books „Russia: In Dusk and Dawn“ 2010 and “The Disruptive Era” 2018 (both in Estonian).

Mr. Michael Rühle

Is currently Head of the Hybrid Challenges and Energy Security Section, in the Emerging Security Challenges Division in NATO’s International Staff. Previously he was Head, Speechwriting, and Senior Political Advisor in the NATO Secretary General’s Policy Planning Unit. Before joining NATO's International Staff in 1991, Mr. Rühle was a Volkswagen-Fellow at the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Sankt Augustin, Germany, and a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington, D.C. Mr. Rühle has published widely on international security issues in, among others, Asia Times, Comparative Strategy, International Affairs (Chatham House), NATO Review, Parameters, Politico, and The World Today. He is an Honorary Ancien of the NATO Defense College and a recipient of the Star of Lithuanian Diplomacy and the Bene Merito Medal bestowed by the Republic of Poland

Dr. Timo Hellenberg

Timo Hellenberg, (Dr.Pol. Sc., M.Sc.Econ.) is a CEO and founder of Hellenberg International Ltd and CEO of Hellenberg HK Limited. He has served as a Special Adviser (EU and Foreign Affairs) to two Prime Ministers of Finland and more than decade as a security consultant for the Finnish Government Council. He has 25 years of academic and crisis management researcher incl. at the United Nations (DRD). Board member of the Paasikivi Society; Board member of the Geopolitical Society of Finland; Member of the Finnish-Russian Scientific and Technical Committee; Board Member of the Baltic Civil Defence Network; Senior Advisor at the IMA (Washington); Member of the Advisory Board of the Cyberwatch Finland.

Mr. Konstantin Eggert

Konstantin Eggert MBE is a freelance journalist and political commentator. He writes a weekly column on Russian affairs for DW (Deutsche Welle), Germany’s international broadcaster. He also hosts ‘Trending’, DW’s interview programme. In 2016-2018 Konstantin Eggert was programme host and political commentator for TV Rain, Russia’s groundbreaking independent TV channel. He also worked for Kommersant, Russia's oldest private media group.n 2009-2010 Mr Eggert was Vice-President for Public and Government Affairs for ExxonMobil Russia Inc. In 2002-2009 he was Moscow Bureau Chief for the BBC Russian Service.
In 2008 HM the Queen created Mr Eggert Honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire. He is a summa cum laude graduate of the Moscow University Institute of Asian and African Studies, where he studied Arabic language and history. He speaks English, French and Arabic

Mr. Linas Kojala

Director of Eastern Europe Studies Centre. Mr. Kojala was also a Fulbright Fellow at Davis Center, Harvard University, where he continues to work as a non-resident expert on various projects. L. Kojala is also a PhD student at International Relations and Political Science Institute, Vilnius University. His research interests include foreign affairs, foreign relations of Russia and United States of America, European integration, security and NATO studies, information security.

Dr. Michał Bijak

PhD, DSc. Professor and Head of the Biohazard Prevention Centre at the Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection of the University of Lodz. Till April 2020 he was also Professor in Department of CBRN detection and decontamination of the Military Institute of Chemistry and Radiometry. Since September 2020 he has been appointed to be Vice Dean of the Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection of the University of Lodz. He is an international expert in the CBRN field. Prof. Bijak has PhD and DSc degrees in biological sciences with biochemistry as a speciality. Additionally he graduated studies "Dangerous materials and chemical rescue" at the Military University of Technology in Warsaw. Also, he completed the INTERPOL training course "Evidence Collection during a Biological Attack". He was an expert in "The Interministerial Task Force for improving arrangements of cooperation and management actions at the scene of a terrorist attack with CBRN agent". He is involved in European initiatives, i.e. was expert in European Commission initiative - CBRN Centres of Excellence in programme "Protection of CBRN facilities: EU and Serbia share best practices on their CBRN Action Plans" as well as in various CBRN international projects and training like QUINTETO+. Prof. Bijak was a Polish official representative in CBRN Advisory Group. Prof. Bijak closely cooperates with law enforcement and military institutions to ensure CBRN safety. He was a coordinator of 2 projects funded by the European Commission – SE-CBRN-URE and CBRN-POL. Currently, he is coordinating European Commission projects – MALL-CBRN and SAFE-STADIUM. Prof. Bijak is also an author of research papers related to the methods of bioterrorism detection and counteraction of this type of attacks published in the law enforcement journal and co-author of reaction procedures for CBRN threats for Polish law enforcement units. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he was the author of the book – Police actions in COVID-19 environment, which was one of the first guides for law enforcement describing how to operate in COVID-19 situation

Ambassador Žygimantas Pavilionis

Chair of Foreign Affairs Committee of the Lithuanian Parliament Ambassador Žygimantas Pavilionis is a career Lithuanian diplomat since 1993. He attended Vilnius University where he earned a master’s degree in philosophy and PhD in political science. Pavilionis was assistant director of policy from 1994-1995, leading political section of European Integration Department as Associate European Correspondent from 1995-1999. He worked in Brussels, Belgium, at the Lithuanian Permanent Mission to the EC from 1999-2002 as Co-Secretary of Association Council, Accession Conference to the EU, Deputy Chief Negotiator. Pavilionis was then promoted to lead the European Union Department from 2002-2004, became Political Director and Deputy Foreign Minister from 2005-2009. Most recently he served as Chief Coordinator for Lithuania’s presidency of the Community of Democracies (2009-2010), Lithuanian Ambassador to the US and Mexico (2010-2015) and Ambassador-at-Large for Europe’s East (2015-2016). In 2016 he was elected to Lithuanian Parliament by the votes of global Lithuanian diaspora and in 2020 reelected in Naujamiesčio – Naujininkų electoral constituency. Žygimantas Pavilionis currently serves as Chair of Foreign Affairs Committee of the Lithuanian Parliament and is the International Secretary of the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrat party

Dr. Pavel Usov

Is an advisor for Political Affairs in National Anti-Crisis Management and Lecturer in Warsaw University (East-European Studies) Dr. Usov received his Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Warsaw in 2003 and Masters in Political Science at the Belarusian State University. More recently, since 2017 he has been working as the head of the Center for Political Analysis and Prognosis. Additionally, since 2008 he has been an Expert and Analyst at the Belarusian edition of Radio Poland. Dr. Usov also has been a lecturer at the University of Warsaw in the field of history of Belarus, Russia, and geopolitics. Dr. Usov also has extensive experience teaching sociology of media, Eurasian Integration, Belarus and European Union relations. Dr. has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications and analytical and journalistic articles. His main research interests revolve around geopolitics, military security, integration of the post-soviet states and propaganda. Moreover, his book “Formation, consolidation and functioning of the neo-authoritarian regime in Belarus 1994-2010” was published by Polish Academy of Science. Dr. Usov has also applied his expertise as a political consultant in various electoral campaigns in Belarus.

LTC Valerijus Šerelis

Military service started in 1991, since then has occupied various positions. Two operational deployments (Special Operations Forces squadron Commander (CSOF EAGLE) and Lithuanian SNR (Senior National Representative) in OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom), Afghanistan. Military adviser to IMAR (Iraq Military Academy Ar Rustamajah), Lithuanian SNR in NTM-I (NATO Training Mission - Iraq). Later - Instructor Special Operations Forces / Information Operations, Project officer for module “The Nature of Insurgency and Counter- Insurgency” for JCGSC (Joint Command and General Staff Course). Baltic Defense College, Tartu, Estonia. Currently director of Institute of Military Studies, Lithuanian Armed Forces, Training and Doctrine command. Chair of Military terminology commission.

Mr. Rasmus Hindrén

Mr. Rasmus Hindrén is the Head of International Relations at the European Center of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats.
Mr. Hindrén joined the Center in October 2020, coming from the Ministry of Defence of Finland where he was Deputy Head of Unit for Defence Cooperation. He was Defense Counselor at the Embassy of Finland in Washington D.C. from 2017 to 2020. He has worked at the Ministry of Defense since 2008 in several positions dealing with multilateral and bilateral defense cooperation and planning. Before that he worked on security policy in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and was seconded to NATO International Staff as national expert (2007-2008). Mr. Hindrén served as Defense Adviser at the Permanent Representation of Finland to the EU (2011-2014).
Mr. Hindrén is a graduate of the University of Helsinki, Finland, and holds a master’s degree in Social Sciences (International Relations). He has authored several articles on security and defense policy.

Dr. Florian Hartleb

Dr. Florian Hartleb (born 1979 in Passau/Germany) is a political scientist and Managing Director at Hanse Advice in Tallinn, Estonia. He conducts research with a global focus on right-wing and left-wing extremism and terrorism, as well as on digitalisation. In the past, he worked for the German Parliament, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and the Estonian Office for equality. He is currently lecturing at Catholic University Eichstätt and University for Police Saxony-Anhalt and author of various books. In addition, he is a research associate at the Brussels-based Wilfried-Martens-Centre for European Studies. Recent Publications: Lone Wolves. The New Terrorism of Right-Wing Actors, Springer Nature, Cham/Schweiz u.a., 2020; e-Estonia. Europe´s Silicon Valley or a new 1984?, in: Denise Feldner (ed.): Redesigning Institutions: Consequences of and Concepts for the Digital Transformation, Springer Nature: Heidelberg et al. 2020, pp. 215-228; Materalizations of Populism in Today´s politics: Global Perspectives, in: Barbara Christophe/Heike Liebau/Christoph Kohl/Achim Saupe (eds.): The Politics of Authenticity and Populist Discourses, Media and Education in Brazil, India and Ukraine, Reihe: Palgrave Studies in Educational Media, London, Palgrave Macmillan 2021, pp. 31-52.

Mr. Michael Malm

Michel Malm is Senior Advisor at the Swedish Armed Forces Defence Staff, Department of Total Defence. Michael have among other things worked for the Swedish Air Force, The Swedish Defence University, The Swedish Defence Research Agency and the Baltic Defence College.

Ms. Dalia Bankauskaitė

Dalia Bankauskaitė is a Partnership Associated Professor at Vilnius University Communication Faculty and a Nonresident Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington, D.C. Her research is focused on the concept of total defense, namely, the whole of society approach and building societal resilience by mobilizing and motivating society. She has extensive professional experience in strategic communication in Lithuania, Ukraine, Georgia and the Baltic Sea region.

Mr. Justinas Lingevičius

J. Lingevičius is a PhD candidate at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University. His current research is focused on emerging technology and the changing security environment. J. Lingevičius has also published a number of publications on Lithuania’s foreign and security policy, security perception of small states, and NATO. He has experience in public sector as well as analytical work at various institutions or organizations (2017-2018 Acting Director of the European Integration Studies Centre; 2016-2019 Senior Editor at the Editorial Board of Politikon: IAPSS Journal of Political Science).

Mr. Aidas Petrošius

Aidas Petrošius is a political consultant, and media expert. For almost twenty years he served as a journalist covering local and international politics, economy and defence. As a political consultant, Mr. Petrosius took part in planning and executing more than a dozen electoral political campaigns. He was a spokesperson for 2003 Lithuanian presidential campaign and later, spokesperson for President-elect. He regularly delivers lectures and consultations to independent media, reforming governments and democratic politicians of Post-Soviet countries.
As a Subject Matter Expert on socio-political dynamics, Mr. Petrosius took part in planning and executing series of military exercises for NATO and Lithuanian Armed Forces.
Currently he heads business development at media analysis and research company Mediaskopas.

Sponsors, co-organizers and partners of this event:
Gynybos paramos fondas