Recent Events

On April 14, 2017 the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security hosted a conversation with the honorable Jin Liqun, president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The discussion focused on his vision for the development of the AIIB, its approach to providing financing for Asian infrastructure, and the AIIB's internal governance process, as well as his thinking on multilateralism in the Asian-Pacific region. The AIIB celebrated its first year of operations in January and to date has invested over $2 billion in twelve projects across Asia.

Following a warm welcome and introductory remarks by Fred Kempe, president and CEO of the Atlantic Council, President Jin proceeded to outline ongoing improvements and future expansions to the AIIB. He introduced AIIB’s current objective to bridge relations between Asia and the United States and followed with the slogan, “our bank is lean, clean, and green” and emphasized the importance of operating the AIIB according to the highest international standard. President Jin stated that over the span of two years AIIB has dramatically grown, bringing together 52 member states, with another 18 prospective candidates. It is in the forefront of the promotion of infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific region and developing countries.
On Wednesday, April 19, the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security and the Global Energy Center co-hosted a conversation on energy innovation and entrepreneurship in the Middle East featuring Dr. Julia Nesheiwat, presidential deputy envoy for hostage affairs at the US Department of State; HE Majid Al-Suwaidi, consul general of the United Arab Emirates in New York; and Mr. Salah Tabbara, general manager of ALBina Industrial Construction Company and moderated by Ms. Mirette Mabrouk, deputy director and director of research and programs of the Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

Dr. Nesheiwat presented a global perspective, detailing the proliferation of clean energy as well as the decreased cost to deploy these systems. She noted that renewable energy sources accounted for 55% of new energy developed in 2016, and at 23% lower cost than in 2015. In 2016 solar power cost 17% less to produce, onshore wind cost 18% less, and offshore wind cost 28% less – making these industries even more competitive with fossil fuels. She also discussed the importance of economic diversity to protect the state against market shock in the oil and liquid natural gas markets during supply fluctuations and under threats from violent extremism, this holding especially true for the Gulf states.

HE Al-Suwaidi zeroed in on the UAE, discussing innovative programs like Masdar City, partnerships with Pacific Island states, and the mandate for 27% of the Emirates’ energy demand to be supplied by renewable technologies. He explained that the UAE has known from early on that oil and natural gas are finite resources. Diversifying into aviation, finance, and tourism have proven lucrative for the Emirates, and a strong sense of environmental stewardship has steered innovation away from fossil fuels. The country’s current green growth strategy is pushing for meaningful sustainability in both economic and environmental sectors. Al-Suwaidi also explained how the UAE’s Masdar initiative has invigorated innovation research and development, from partnerships with MIT to bring students from around the globe to participate in innovation competitions, to the Masdar City project,  which he described as a “living lab” for new technologies to be field-tested.
At what point does a cyberattack become an act of war? Should the government react to a cyber-attack on the private sector? Is cyber privateering the answer to the government’s woes? These were some of the questions students (including this author) contended with at the Atlantic Council’s 2017 Cyber 9/12 student challenge on March 17 and 18.

Held at American University’s Washington College of Law, this was the fifth and biggest iteration of the annual student competition. Forty-five teams from 32 universities from across the United States took on the roles of cyber policy experts advising the National Security Council on how to react to a fictional cyber catastrophe.
On March 7, the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security hosted a discussion on the rise of intra-Asian defense cooperation, its significance to regional dynamics, and potential implications to the US and global power dynamics. Recent partnerships range from Japan’s defense cooperation with the Philippines and Vietnam, as well as India-Vietnam, Australia-India-Japan-US, Malaysia-Indonesia-Philippines maritime cooperation, and others.

Following a warm welcome and introductory remarks by Mr. Barry Pavel, Senior Vice President and Director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Mr. Gordon Lubold, Pentagon reporter at The Wall Street Journal moderated the panel on the increase of Asian defense spending and the evolving network of intra-Asian defense coalitions. The panel featured Ms. Lindsey Ford, director of Asian security at the Asia Society Policy Institute; Rear Admiral Michael McDevitt, senior fellow at CNA Strategic Studies; Mr. Randy Schriver, founding partner at Armitage International LLC; and Mr. John Watts, non-resident senior fellow of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council.
On Wednesday, February 8, Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative, the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCD COE), and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands launched the Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations.
“A Nonstate Strategy for Saving Cyberspace,” the newest Atlantic Council Strategy Paper, written by Jay Healey and featuring a foreword by Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Jeff Moss, posits that the only way to ensure cyberspace remains as free, resilient, secure and awesome for future generations is to flip the relationship between Internet attackers and defenders, making cyber defense easier than offense. This is only possible, Healey argues, when new technology, policy and practice are applied patiently, internationally, at scale, and with the private sector out front.

The paper’s launch event began with a run through of the pertinent points of the report by Healey. He was then joined by Brunswick Group’s Siobhan Gorman and MITRE Corporation’s Bobbie Stempfley for a conversation on the report’s recommendations, which was moderated by the Wall Street Journal’s Shane Harris. The panel engaged with members of the audience throughout the discussion to encourage greater dialogue and debate.

The Atlantic Council Strategy Papers series is designed to enrich the public debate and build consensus on the great strategic challenges of our time, as well as to help shape strategic thinking in US and allied governments, the private and nonprofit sectors, and the global media. Check out the entire series on the Strategy Initiative's microsite, ACStrategy.net.
Science fiction has helped everybody from NASA to technology companies explore possible futures. The United States Marine Corps, long known for innovation in warfighting and force development, also embraces the medium. The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab’s Futures Directorate, in an effort to improve how Marines understand the operating environment of 2030 to 2045, has developed a creative collection of imaginative short stories and graphic art. With Marines and other service members writing the narratives, abstract concepts and far-out technologies become tangible and impactful. This publication complements the benchmark Marine Corps Strategic Environment Forecast report and continues Marine Corps efforts to envision, anticipate, and prepare for the dynamic challenges ahead.
The Presidential Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity turned its report in to the President on December 1, 2016. Established in February 2016 by executive order, the Commission was charged with making recommendations to “address actions that can be taken over the next decade” to improve national cybersecurity. The Commission’s recommendations are expected to include information for government agencies, private companies, and other stakeholders, covering a wide range of activities in cyberspace, emerging technologies, the Internet of Things, and industry best practices.
On December 20, The Hon. Deborah Lee James, Secretary of the US Air Force returned to the Atlantic Council for a special roundtable discussion with junior staff members on “Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in National Security: A conversation with the Hon. Deborah Lee James.” The session featured a keynote address by the Secretary, and a moderated discussion and Q&A led by Lauren Speranza, Assistant Director, Transatlantic Security Initiative, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

Secretary James has been a vocal champion for issues relating to diversity and inclusion during her tenure as the Secretary of the Air Force, introducing various initiatives to increase opportunities for women and minorities in service. She joined junior staff members to speak on an array of lessons for female foreign policy professionals, sharing her own career story, answering questions, and discussing approaches and innovative ways to deal with challenges women face in the industry.
On December 16, the Atlantic Council hosted private roundtable discussion with John Manza, NATO’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Operations. Manza provided an update on the planning and execution of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in Central and Eastern Europe.

Manza has served as NATO’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Operations since July 2016. Recently, he has expanded his duties at NATO having been appointed the Alliance’s Senior Civilian Representative in Baghdad, where he will be standing up the new NATO Mission to Iraq. Previously, Manza served as Director for NATO Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. His career includes positions at NATO (Kabul), the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense, as well as 20 years in the Marine Corps, with deployments to Central America, Asia and the Middle East.


    

RELATED CONTENT