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08 April 2024

London Defence Conference 2024 to focus on deterrence and countering rising global security threats

Leaders, policymakers, politicians, academics and industry experts will gather this May at King's College London to discuss threats, deterrence and policies to counter present and future security challenges.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in conversation with Iain Martin, Director of the London Defence Conference
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Iain Martin, Director of the London Defence Conference, at the 2023 London Defence Conference.

With Europe urgently reevaluating its defence capabilities amid escalating geopolitical tensions and ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, the theme of the second annual London Defence Conference is “Deterrence: Building Capacity to Counter Global Threats”.

The focus of the conference is international, but in a UK general election year the conference will also call on Britain's major parties to explain their policies on defence and working with allies.

The conference, organised in partnership with the School of Security Studies at King’s College London, will be held at Bush House, London, from 21 to 23 May 2024. Through panels and keynote addresses attendees will join discussions on the core challenges facing regional and global security.

Last year’s conference centered on the theme “Stronger security in a fast-changing world” and featured notable speakers including UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, President of Poland Andrzej Duda and the Rt Hon John Healey MP, UK Shadow Secretary of State for Defence.

This year’s London Defence Conference is taking deterrence as its theme. This choice seems daily more timely in the face of increasingly complex risks and threats, including war in Europe, concerns about nuclear proliferation, threats from non-state terrorist organisations and technical advances in weaponry and communications. This year’s London Defence Conference will provide a vital forum for political leaders and defence experts to discuss how best to increase global security.

Lord Salisbury, Chairman of the London Defence Conference

The three-day event will begin with a focus on nurturing future leaders in the field of security and defence. The inaugural day, which has been curated by students from the Department of War Studies at King’s, will offer undergraduate and postgraduate students from universities across the UK the opportunity to engage in discussions on geopolitical challenges and network with leaders and practitioners in security and defence. The following two days will host policymakers, defence experts, military leaders, academia, industry and representatives from the media.

Building on the success of last year’s conference, I am thrilled to announce the introduction of a dedicated day designed by and for students. This unique opportunity will enable our students to directly engage with seasoned professionals in the fields of security and defence. By fostering such dialogue, we not only nurture the next generation of leaders but also enrich the discourse surrounding defence and security policy.

Professor Shitij Kapur, Vice-Chancellor & President of King's College London.

Access to the London Defence Conference 2024 is by invitation only. For further information, please visit the official London Defence Conference website.

For media enquiries contact Lauren Midgley at

About the London Defence Conference:

The London Defence Conference is the annual, geopolitical, defence and security gathering held in partnership with the world-leading King’s College London School of Security Studies, drawing together policymakers, academic experts, industry and media.

Established in 2023, the conference is led by an organising committee comprising:

  • Lord Salisbury, Chairman of the London Defence Conference
  • Iain Martin, Director of the London Defence Conference and columnist for The Times
  • Professor John Gearson, Head of the School of Security Studies at King’s College London
  • Professor Wyn Bowen, Professor of Non-proliferation and International Security in the Department of War Studies and Co-Director of the Freeman Air & Space Institute at the School of Security Studies, King’s College London
  • Neil Brown, Commodore RN (Rtd), Geopolitical Strategist, Deltroit Asset Management Senior Associate Fellow, Council on Geostrategy
  • Hillary Briffa, Lecturer in National Security Studies, and Assistant Director of the Centre for Defence Studies in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London.

King’s School of Security Studies is a global leader in the fields of security, defence and war studies and is home to one of the largest multidisciplinary groups of scholars dedicated to the study of these subjects in all their aspects. The School can trace its antecedents back to the study of Military Sciences in the mid-1800s and the establishment of a chair of Military Studies in 1927.

In this story

Wyn Bowen

Professor of Non-Proliferation and International Security

Hillary  Briffa

Lecturer in National Security Studies

John  Gearson

Head of the School of Security Studies

Shitij Kapur

Vice-Chancellor & President of King's College London