The mission of the Asia Security Initiative is to create an Atlantic-Pacific Community that brings together the United States with its European and Asia-Pacific allies and partners to assess the long-range trajectory of the region and develop a strategic perspective for adapting and revitalizing the rules-based international order. The Asia Security Initiative will advance its mission by:
  • Leveraging the Atlantic Council’s strong partnerships in Europe to strengthen linkages and expand areas of cooperation across Asia, North America, and Europe; and
  • Working wherever possible with China and other countries with the goal of having them actively adapt and participate, over time, in an updated rules-based international order.

A fundamental premise of the Initiativeis that the future of the Asia-Pacific ultimately will be determined by the countries of the region, with the United States and Europe as essential partners in this process. The Initiative also will seek to address the opportunities and challenges in the region by: 
  • Providing strategic foresight through projection of political, economic, technological, environmental, and other long-range trends that are shaping the region;
  • Designing forward-looking strategies enabled by foresight to reach desired future scenarios;
  • Highlighting the interplay between economic and security issues;
  • Engaging key regional stakeholders and voices from the Asia-Pacific directly and consistently in the Center’s work; and
  • Providing a platform for fresh voices from the next generation of leaders and thinkers in all its efforts.

Key Projects


Shaping the Asia-Pacific Future

This project seeks to formulate practical policy recommendations related to some of the most pressing and fundamental requirements for long-term security and prosperity in the region. It focuses on the development of durable understandings and measures affecting strategic military stability, and on fostering effective institutions and agreements supporting the open and rules-based movement of goods, services, and capital. The Scowcroft Center will develop actionable recommendations to governments through consultation and dialogue with forward-thinking individuals and collaborative partners in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Southeast Asia Seminar Series

The purpose of this Series will be to analyze, discuss and promote the issues of key significance to the Southeast Asia region. It would provide a public forum to facilitate a necessary conversation in Washington, DC that is not currently occurring. The series will address a diverse range of issues related to developing sustainable, rules-based economic growth and security throughout the Southeast Asia region through public and private events. These events would include both security-focused topics in addition to utilizing the Council’s breadth of expertise to examine broader trends and cross-functional topics such as energy markets, climate change, and UNCLOS.

Cross Border Oil and Gas Pipelines Project

The landscape of global energy markets is changing with developing Asia, stagnating Europe, rising oil and gas production in non-OPEC countries, and the U.S. shale revolution. The transformation of the global energy supply-demand structure is powerfully influencing regional energy market dynamics and geopolitical relationships. At the nexus of these changing dynamics is growing competition to develop a number of major Asian and Eurasian pipelines to transport oil and natural gas across the region. Key producer and consumer states across Eurasia have strategic reasons to forge new transit routes and diversify supply lines with new overland and undersea pipelines. This project will result in a book that examines what, beyond market reasons, brings countries into binding cross-border oil and gas pipeline deals. Building on the principal investigator’s Ph.D. dissertation, the book will explain why some proposed cross-border pipeline projects succeed while others fail and how political and economic factors play out interactively in the decision-making of cross-border pipeline projects.

Water and US National Security

The project is designed to answer a core question—how should American strategists incorporate water into US national security objectives? The goal is to determine the concrete actionable steps necessary to integrate water into policy toward regions of high geostrategic relevance to the United States, with a particular focus on Asia’s water tower. This project will pursue two major ends. First, project staff will seek to influence thinking about water and America’s strategic ends within the US government’s foreign and security policy apparatus. Emphasis will be on the next administration’s first year in office. Second, project staff will focus on the significance of Asia’s water tower for regional geopolitics and, thereby, US foreign and security policy within Asia. While this element of the project is designed to understand how water is shaping regional geopolitics in areas of strategic concern to the United States, the larger question is how the United States government ought to organize to address water insecurity in a region containing its global peers, nuclear-armed rivals, and billions of people.

US-Japan Global Futures Partnership

This partnership aims to develop a major body of work aimed at advancing US-Japan relations and the role of the alliance and the economic partnership in the broader strategic environment throughout Northeast Asia and the world. This partnership will serve as a key element in the Council’s broader efforts to expand its Asia-related efforts, with specific emphasis on developing a body of Japan-based programming. A series of public events and private roundtables on key elements of the future of the US-Japan global partnership will be organized. Based on the outcomes of the convening sessions, the Council will produce a report on the future of the US-Japan global partnership, its implications for regional and global dynamics, and suggested policy recommendations.

The Future of the US-Republic of Korea Relations Forum

This forum provides a platform to discuss the highest-priority strategic issues between the United States and Korea and the implications these issues could have for broader regional dynamics. The forum will host an impressive audience drawn from the Washington, DC policy community, and will include think tanks, media, private industry, and US and foreign government representatives. The keynote speech will feature US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who will provide remarks on the near- and longer-term outlook for the United States in maintaining a strong presence within an uncertain and dynamic security environment in the Asia-Pacific, especially through its alliances and partnerships in the region, and with a focus on the United States and ROK. Other public and private sessions at this Forum will feature topics such as the interplay between security and economic issues, trade, energy security, and emerging technologies.

US-Republic of Korea Smart Partnership: New Cooperation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The project will feature roundtable discussions exploring US-Republic of Korea (ROK) cooperation in key areas related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with a focus on the development and use of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology, and the Internet of Things. These roundtables will bring together US, European, and Korean experts from the commerce, trade, energy, and industrial communities. Each roundtable discussion will yield two written papers for a total of six. These six papers will be compiled into an Atlantic Council report and will be supplemented with actionable policy recommendations. The final report will be released at a conference in Seoul, South Korea in early 2018.

The US-Japan Alliance and Future of the Asia-Pacific Regional Trade Architecture

The project will feature roundtable discussions exploring US-Republic of Korea (ROK) cooperation in key areas related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with a focus on the development and use of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology, and the Internet of Things. These roundtables will bring together US, European, and Korean experts from the commerce, trade, energy, and industrial communities. Each roundtable discussion will yield two written papers for a total of six. These six papers will be compiled into an Atlantic Council report and will be supplemented with actionable policy recommendations. The final report will be released at a conference in Seoul, South Korea in early 2018.

US-Republic of Korea Smart Partnership: New Cooperation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The project will feature roundtable discussions exploring US-Republic of Korea (ROK) cooperation in key areas related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with a focus on the development and use of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology, and the Internet of Things. These roundtables will bring together US, European, and Korean experts from the commerce, trade, energy, and industrial communities. Each roundtable discussion will yield two written papers for a total of six. These six papers will be compiled into an Atlantic Council report and will be supplemented with actionable policy recommendations. The final report will be released at a conference in Seoul, South Korea in early 2018.

The US-Japan Alliance and Future of the Asia-Pacific Regional Trade Architecture

In the aftermath of US rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), uncertainty looms over the future regional trade architecture. Can Japan’s effort to move a free trade agenda forward centered on the TPP-11 and EU-Japan, as well as other bilateral and multilateral efforts to uphold TPP-level standards for a rule-based system become the norm? How does US absence from TPP impact China-led efforts to finalize Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations impact the TPP-11? What are the challenges to both regional and global trade from growing protectionist trends, and particularly, Chinese mercantile trade and industrial policies, as well as the growth of digital commerce and emerging technologies? In response to these and other important questions, this project will seek to provide concrete recommendations on the future of US-Japan and regional trade in light of the end of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and rise of Chinese mercantile trade and industrial policies.

Visiting Asian Research Scholar Program

The purpose of the Visiting Asian Research Scholars Program is to allow the Council to host more fellows from the region to complement its growing body of work on Asia. With this program, the fellows will have the opportunity to exchange ideas with Council’s experts and staff, other visiting scholars, neighboring institutions, and the foreign policy community in Washington, DC. This program will provide an increased diversity of perspectives and help enrich the Council’s policy and strategy analyses, international connections, and global perspectives.

Cross Strait Seminar Series

This project looks broadly at major security and economic issues impacting the strategic landscape in the Asia Pacific and how they will affect the US-China-Taiwan trilateral relationship. Topics of discussion include growing Asian defense spending, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the challenge of Chinese cyberattacks and espionage, and the impact of nationalism on security in East Asia.  As part of the series, the Atlantic Council leads a high-level delegation of former government officials to Taiwan for meetings with Taiwanese government officials, think tank experts, and business leaders.

RELATED CONTENT