Recent Events

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.
On December 8, we partnered with the Norwegian Embassy for its annual Henry Bacon Seminar. This year’s seminar, The North Atlantic–Old Security Landscape Reemerging, focused on the growing security challenges in the North Atlantic, in light of Russia’s increasing assertiveness and military build-up in the region. With the new US administration preparing to take office, the event contributed to the conversations on the US’ future role in European and transatlantic security, as well as what steps NATO Allies and partner countries should take to bolster security and stability, particularly in the North Atlantic region. Expert panelists also explored Russia’s capabilities, modernization plans, and grand strategy for the region, as well as some of the broader threats related to maritime security and the GIUK gap.

The Atlantic Council supported the event, as a part of our long-standing partnership with the MOD, by furnishing select speakers, including Christine Wormuth, Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President of the Atlantic Council, and Magnus Nordenman, Director of the Transatlantic Security Initiative with the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council.
On November 29, the Atlantic Council hosted a unique joint roundtable on the future of US-Nordic Defense Cooperation. Janne Kuusela, Defense Policy Director at the Ministry of Defense of Finland, and Johan Lagerlöf, Defense Policy Director at the Ministry of Defense of Sweden led a private discussion on how both Finland and Sweden are approaching the current security environment in Europe. Participants provided insights on further opportunities for US-Finland-Sweden defense cooperation, especially for tackling emerging challenges in the Baltic Sea region. The discussants also explored the implications of the recent US election for the Nordic-Baltic region.
On November 18, the Atlantic Council hosted a private briefing for a delegation of rising leaders from the Finnish Parliament. The session featured keynote remarks by Ian Brzezinski and Robert Nurick, Senior Fellows at Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, and Fran Burwell, Vice President, European Union and Special Initiatives. Jorge Benitez, Director of NATOSource and Senior Fellow at the Scowcroft Center, moderated the discussion, which focused on the current security landscape in Europe and what the US election results mean for NATO and the US role in European security more broadly. The briefers also outlined the major political and economic challenges across the EU, and how European leaders might approach this new strategic environment, as well as the new US administration.
On October 26, the Transatlantic Security Initiative hosted a public discussion on “Bolstering Nordic Defense” at the Army Navy Club. The event served as the release of the Atlantic Council’s new issue brief: The Future of US-Swedish Defense Cooperation.
On October 25, the Transatlantic Security Initiative hosted a public conference on “Geopolitics, Security, and Energy in the Arctic” in partnership with the Arctic Energy Center. The discussions featured an opening keynote by Amy Pope, Vice Chair of the White House Arctic Executive Steering Committee, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Homeland Security Advisor at the National Security Council, and a closing keynote by ADM Robert J. Papp, Jr., USCG (Ret.), Special Representative for the Arctic at the Department of State and Former Commandant of the US Coast Guard.

The Arctic is an inherently challenging region to operate in, with vast distances, limited infrastructure, and harsh climate. As human activity in the region grows, these conditions give rise to a range of pressing security issues, from Russia's growing militarization of the region and China's interest in the Arctic, to disaster and accident response and search and rescue operations.

At the event, a leading group of officials and experts addressed these challenges and took forward the debate on how the opening Arctic region impacts US national security.
On October 19, the Transatlantic Security Initiative hosted a private strategy session with General Curtis M. Scaparrotti, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander of US European Command. General Scaparrotti discussed his assessment of the current threat environment, his strategic priorities, and EUCOM’s direction moving forward.
On October 18, the Transatlantic Security Initiative hosted a private roundtable discussion on “Shoring Up Security in the High North”. The session featured a keynote address by Admiral Haakon Bruun-Hanssen, Chief of Defense of Norway, and a moderated discussion led by Walter B. Slocombe, Secretary of the Board of the Atlantic Council.
On October 13, the Transatlantic Security Initiative hosted a private roundtable on “Enhancing Security and Defense in the Baltic States”. The session featured a keynote address by LTG Jonas Vytautas Žukas, Chief of Defense of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, and a moderated discussion led by James Hasik, Nonresident Senior Fellow for Defense with the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.


    

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