Mr. Mark Laity – Keynote Speaker: NATO SPS G5631: “Senior Leadership Roundtable on Information-Related Hybrid Threats in SE Europe”

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Mr. Mark Laity

Director, Communications Division
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE)

Mark Laity has been involved with the media, information and Strategic Communication for four decades as a journalist, and then in a variety of posts as a spokesman and senior manager for NATO. His experience covers all levels, from the political and strategic, to the frontlines of major conflicts and peacekeeping missions. He is now the Director of the new Communications Division created in 2017 at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe (SHAPE).

Mark joined NATO after 22 years in journalism, mostly in the BBC. This included 11 years as the BBC’s Defence Correspondent. He reported from the frontlines of most major conflicts of the nineties, but particularly the break-up of Yugoslavia. In 1999 his reporting on the Kosovo conflict and the NATO air campaign against the Milosevic regime made him a familiar face worldwide. He provided a similar analytical role reporting for BBC Radio during the Gulf war in 1990-1991, based in Saudi Arabia.

In 2001, he deployed for six months to what is now North Macedonia, initially as personal adviser to the Macedonian President at a time when that country was on the verge of civil war. When a NATO military force was deployed he became the Media Adviser to the commander and civilian spokesman for the successful Operation Essential Harvest.

From 2000 to 2004, Mark served as the Special Adviser to the Secretary General of NATO, Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, and also as NATO’s Deputy Spokesman. He had a wide variety of policy and media roles, including a year as NATO’s Spokesman, special responsibility for liaison with the military and oversight of information campaigns on NATO operations. In 2005, he was the first civilian Chief of Public Information and the first Chief of Strategic Communications (StratCom) at SHAPE. He was also the leading figure in first establishing and then developing StratCom within NATO, especially in the military from 2005-2006. His office led the creation of NATO’s innovative Military StratCom policy. It now oversees its implementation and further development in NATO operations.

Prior to his StratCom post, he spent nine months in Afghanistan as the NATO Spokesman in Kabul and Media Adviser to the ISAF Commander. He was the first holder of that post. For his service in Afghanistan he was awarded NATO’s Meritorious Service Medal. He has since completed two further tours in Afghanistan in 2008 and 2010.

Born in Truro, Cornwall, Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts (with honors) and a Master of Arts from the University of York, England. He is an Associate Fellow at the King’s Centre for Strategic Communications at King’s College London.