Commanders Series

On March 29, the Atlantic Council hosted Commandant of the Marine Corps General Robert B. Neller for a strategic look at the US Marine Corps. The event featured a moderated discussion led by Kevin Baron, Executive Editor of Defense One.

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On May 4, the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center for International Security hosted Chief of Staff of the Army General Mark Milley at the Army and Navy Club on Farragut Square in downtown Washington DC. Dr. Nora Bensahel interviewed General Milley after his opening statements and a welcome by former Secretary of the Army John McHugh and Saab North America Executive Vice President Dr. Joseph Evans. The interview featured a wide range of topics which he provided his unique perspective and humorous as well as serious thoughts. This event is a part of the Commander Series – the Atlantic Council’s flagship speakers’ forum for senior military leaders. The series provides a platform to discuss current strategic issues with an impressive audience drawn from across Washington’s policy community, including think tanks, media, industry, embassies, and the US government.

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Deborah Lee James, secretary of the US Air Force, said the transatlantic community is facing significant challenges

In light of numerous instances of Russian aggression around the world, the transatlantic security community must stand together in a coordinated show of force so as to deter Russian revanchism, Deborah Lee James, secretary of the US Air Force, said at the Atlantic Council on December 19.

“The transatlantic security community… is facing greater challenges today than at any time since the end of the Cold War,” said James. She said that Russia’s infringements upon the security of other nations are “poking and testing and pushing and seeing what the response will be.”

“We have to have resolve and we have to have an active response,” she said.

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On July 13 the Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security hosted a Commanders Series event with Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, the Commander of US Southern Command, on US SOUTHCOM's strategy for Latin America. The issues discussed included the strategy that SOUTHCOM was asked to execute, how SOUTHCOM aims to execute that strategy, and the regional trends that will influence SOUTHCOM’s present and future operations.

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General Neller discussed the current state and the future of the US Marine Corps, given a rapidly changing and turbulent global security environment. Called an "innovative strategist" by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, General Neller outlined his priorities for the Marine Corps and discussed how the service can help the United States achieve its strategic defense objectives.

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On December 1, 2015, the Atlantic Council hosted General Mark Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, for a Commanders Series event entitled, "The Future of American Airpower." In a discussion moderated by the Council's Barry Pavel, Vice President, Arnold Kanter Chair, and Director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, General Welsh spoke to a distinguished audience of government officials, military personnel, corporate executives, and academics about the current and future state of American airpower. His comments focused in particular on the unique challenges faced by the US Air Force, among them the evolving threat of ISIS, a resurgent Russia, increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, the growing volatility of the space domain, and the uncertainty caused by political and budgetary dynamics here in the United States.

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Head of US Southern Command says terrorists could one day use criminal networks

A demand in the United States for drugs—specifically cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines—is devastating communities across Latin America, says Marine Corps Gen John F. Kelly, Commander of US Southern Command.

Illegal trafficking networks pose not just a security threat, they also have corrosive effects on governance and the rule of law countries in which they operate. In fact, cocaine-related corruption is a significant problem in the police and judiciaries in Central America, Kelly said at the Atlantic Council May 19.

“The reason these countries have these problems is because of drug consumption in the United States,” he said. In every drug deal “there are hundreds of people who have lost their lives in the process of that cocaine being … dealt into the United States.”

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Please join the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security for a Commanders Series event with General John F. Kelly, Commander of US Southern Command, to discuss the future of US defense cooperation in Latin America.

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On Wednesday, January 21, 2015, the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security welcomed Michael Vickers, the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, to a public address entitled "Intelligence in a Dynamic World." Vickers discussed current and developing threats from the perspective of intelligence, before looking forward to how we might deal with them.

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Please join the Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security on January 21, 2014 from 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for a Commanders Series event with Dr. Michael G. Vickers, under secretary of defense for intelligence, to discuss the role of defense intelligence in tracking consistently morphing security threats at a time when technology has increased the ability of individuals and states to counter US intelligence methods.

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