David Wemer

  • The United States is Adapting to the Cyber Challenge, Says Top DHS Official

    One of the United States’ top cybersecurity officials noted the progress the US government has made in engaging potential domestic and international targets of cyberattacks, but argued that “information sharing is the minimum bar” the federal government should clear. According to Christopher Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the Department of Homeland Security, “we have to get beyond information sharing… to operationalizing information security.”

    Krebs, who spoke at the Atlantic Council’s eighth annual International Conference on Cyber Engagement in Washington, DC, on April 23, argued that more action is needed to defend US businesses and critical infrastructures as hostile nation states are ramping up their attacks on US entities.

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  • International Engagement Key to Building Cyber Resilience

    US and international cybersecurity officials called for greater international cooperation to combat Internet crime and malign cyber activity during the Atlantic Council’s 8th annual International Conference on Cyber Engagement (ICCE) in Washington, DC, on April 23.

    David Koh, who serves as commissioner of cybersecurity, chief executive of the Cyber Security Agency, and defense cyber chief in Singapore’s Ministry of Defense, called for likeminded nations to establish “a rules-based cyberspace based on applicable international law and the adoption of voluntary operational norms.” Koh argued that other global common spaces, such as maritime and aviation, are governed by complex international rule systems, and “cyberspace should not be any different from the physical domains.”

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  • Zelenskiy Wins: What’s Next for Ukraine?

    Following his landslide election as president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy must now turn his attention to following through on much-needed economic and anti-corruption reforms, all while continuing to confront Russia in Ukraine’s east and the illegal occupation of Crimea.

    The results of the April 21 contest, which saw Zelenskiy beat incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko, with nearly three-quarters of the vote was “clearly a vote for change,” according to Atlantic Council Eurasia Center Director John Herbst, who is a former US ambassador to Ukraine. Zelenskiy cannot be content with the margin of his victory, Herbst added, as “Poroshenko’s 2014 first round victory was also unprecedented and he was very popular at the time he won” before experiencing a decline in popularity.

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  • Why the US Marines Were Sent to Northern Australia

    Thousands of miles from home, 1,700 US Marines began slowly arriving for their newest mission. Their destination was not the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, however, nor the established bases of Europe and Japan, but the tropical city of Darwin, located far in Australia’s north.

    The contingent of Marines is the largest to visit Australia since Washington and Sydney agreed in 2011 to allow up to 2,500 US troops to use the country for basing and training. The deployment, known as Marine Rotational Force-Darwin, will remain in Australia’s north until October, primarily participating in large training exercises with Australian


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  • Congressional Russia Sanction Push Needs to Maximize Cooperation with Allies

    As the US Congress considers passing new sanctions to punish Russia for its aggression in Ukraine, interference in US elections, and material support for Nicolás Maduro’s regime in Venezuela, lawmakers should remain committed to a united approach with Washington’s European allies and ensure that the new legislation maximizes US cooperation with its partners, according to Atlantic Council Distinguished Ambassadorial Fellow Daniel Fried.

    Two current bills, the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression (DASKA) Actand the Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act , have been reintroduced in the US Senate as attempts to mandate the Trump


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  • Brussels Agreed to Brexit Extension to Avoid No Deal, EU Official Says

    By agreeing to extend the deadline for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) to October 31, EU leaders and British Prime Minister Theresa May “managed to avoid the most disruptive [potential] scenario, which would have been no-deal Brexit,” top European Commission official Valdis Dombrovskis said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on April 12.

    The extension, which would first be reviewed by the EU on June 30 but could last as long as October 31, would give the UK Parliament time to “reflect and work on what is really their preferred scenario,” Dombrovskis said.

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  • Libyan Conflict Could Worsen Migrant Plight, European Commissioner Warns

    The worsening security situation in Libya, where forces loyal to the leader of the self-styled Libyan National Army are attempting to seize the capital city, could make conditions even more dire for migrants in the country, the European Union’s Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on April 8.

    Libya is a main conduit used by traffickers to funnel migrants north onto Europe. Avramopoulos admitted that the conditions in migrant detention centers in the country, which drew international attention when a Somali man burned himself to death in November, are “a disgrace for the whole world.”

    “No one wants this. Not the European Union, not the international community, and certainly not the migrants who end up there,” said Avramopoulos. He maintained that the EU is “doing


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  • As it Turns 70, NATO Sets its Sights to the Future

    On NATO’s seventieth anniversary on April 4, foreign ministers from the twenty-nine allies, as well as the foreign minister of North Macedonia — soon to be the thirtieth member of the Alliance — met in Washington to discuss the growing threats the Alliance faces and the progress being made to strengthen it for the decades to come.

    Before the meeting, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said foreign ministers would “reflect on our achievements over these last seven decades, but we will also look to the future.” Speaking to reporters after the meeting, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the Alliance “took important decisions on urgent problem sets,” including burden sharing, Russia, and Afghanistan.

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  • Here’s What You Should Be Reading About NATO on its Seventieth Birthday

    NATO is being celebrated in Washington this week. The Alliance, which turned seventy on April 4, is marking its anniversary in the very town it was born.

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made history by becoming the first leader of the Alliance to address a joint meeting of the US Congress on April 3. He was treated like a rock star on Capitol Hill where lawmakers on both sides of the aisle showed their support for the Alliance. “The secretary general of NATO had so many standing ovations, I thought it was an aerobics class,” joked Atlantic Council President and Chief Executive Officer Frederick Kempe. 

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  • Germany Will Meet Its NATO Commitments, Foreign Minister Says

    Amid a storm of criticism from the Trump administration over its low level of defense spending, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas sought to allay concerns that Berlin was reneging on its commitment to increase its contributions to the NATO Alliance.

    “We will stand by our commitments,” Maas said on April 3 at the NATO Engages event in Washington. “I know that our budgetary process is sometimes difficult for outsiders to understand…however, we made a firm commitment to invest more money in our defense and we intend to keep our word.”

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