Interview with General José Conde de Arjona, Spokesperson of FEINDEF and Chief of Institutional Support of the Spanish Ministry of Defence.
ESD: FEINDEF is taking place for the first time this year. What were the main reasons behind organising this exhibition? Can you explain the concept?
General Conde: Europe is at a difficult crossroads and is committed to strengthening the European pillar for security and defence, which is well supported by Spanish society. In this situation, FEINDEF represents the intention of Spain and its industry to become a meeting place for industry, universities and military and civil administrations to pave the way for the new European defence industry based on industrial consortia, research and innovation and dual technologies.
ESD: To what extent do you expect FEINDEF to be internationally oriented, both in terms of exhibitors and visitors/delegations? Or is it the intention to showcase national capabilities in support of the Spanish armed forces?
General Conde: FEINDEF is intended to demonstrate the performance of Spanish and international industry, with around 20% to 30% of exhibitors coming from abroad. However, the main objective of FEINDEF in this first edition is to establish itself as a defence and security reference and to meet the expectations of more than 150 exhibitors and almost a hundred official delegations from all over the world.
ESD: How many exhibitors do you expect, and what are the main capability segments addressed with the exhibition?
General Conde: The exhibition area was initially designed to cover 10,000 square metres and was then expanded to 14,000 square metres with 150 stands. All capability segments are presented.
ESD: Who is allowed to visit FEINDEF and what does it cost?
General Conde: As a professional security and defence fair, FEINDEF is open to members of industry, armed forces and security forces, research institutions, science and related institutions. Access is free for professionals after registration on the FEINDEF website.
ESD: We understand that the exhibition is supported by the Spanish Ministry of Defence. What exactly does this support consist of?
General Conde: The Spanish Ministry of Defence is aware of the benefits of common defence and has therefore worked closely with the organisers from the outset, helping to win the support of other ministries and making FEINDEF a national brand exhibition.
ESD: To what extent will FEINDEF be different from previous HOMSEC exhibitions?
General Conde: HOMSEC should be remembered as the first relevant event of its kind in Spain. FEINDEF was launched as an initiative of the Security and Defence sector, with the aim of strengthening the development of new European Union defence policies and as an event that will strengthen the Spanish position and thus garner institutional support.
ESD: Will FEINDEF be held regularly, for example on a biannual basis?
General Conde: FEINDEF is planned on a biennial basis; however, the raised expectations open up possibilities to establish it as Spanish Global Brand and to be developed on other domains. The future will tell.
The interview was conducted by Jürgen Hensel.