Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security

  • Atlantic Council Announces Trey Herr as Director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative

    WASHINGTON, DC – The Atlantic Council today announced Trey Herr as Director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative in its Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. Dr. Herr will be central to further strengthening the Initiative’s continued work on cyberspace as a tool of statecraft in an era of expanding great-power competition where geopolitics and cybersecurity increasingly overlap.

    “Trey's extensive policy experience and creative mindset will play a key role in molding the Initiative's programming and impact. The international cyber community continues to face massive challenges - from navigating complex international supply chains to securing and protecting critical infrastructure and democratic institutions,” said Barry Pavel, Senior Vice President, Arnold Kanter Chair, and Director of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.


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  • Trump’s Iran Policy Is Undermining Gulf Oil Security

    How many oil tankers laden with Saudi or Emirati oil need to be attacked around the Strait of Hormuz for the US to use force in the Gulf? That is not an American problem, according to US President Donald Trump. The world’s major geopolitical chokepoint for global oil supplies, that Arabian Gulf countries leveraged in pursuit of garnering American support, against Iran has now become irrelevant under the Trump administration. Iran’s security wildcard—closing the Strait of Hormuz—has become obsolete. Six tankers sabotaged around the strait and the markets didn’t even flinch, with crude oil benchmark prices continuing to decline over the two-month period of the attacks. 

    The Trump administration buck-passing Gulf oil security has sent shivers down the...

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  • Collective Defense of Human Dignity: The Vision for NATO's Future in Cyberspace

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    An alliance under tension, NATO today faces the challenges of burden sharing, a multipolar world full of old adversaries and emerging challengers. In “Collective Defense of Human Dignity: The Vision for NATO’s Future in Cyberspace,” Christopher Porter, a nonresident senior fellow in the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council analyzes member states struggling with diverging stances on cyber defense policy and planning—especially on the issue of Chinese investment and deployment of high-speed 5G cellular networks. In these challenging times, dialogue on these issues often devolves into...

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  • Iran’s Crude Oil Exports: What Minimum Is Enough to Stay Afloat?

    With the US aiming to bring Iran’s petroleum exports to a complete stop through imposed sanctions, and Iran’s dependence on petroleum revenues, the Iranian government will do its utmost to secure the minimum required oil exports. But, what is that minimum? In order to perhaps find an answer, one needs to understand current Iranian macroeconomics.

    Crude oil exports is one of the main revenue sources of the Iranian government, as well as a major contributing engine for developing the country’s infrastructure and economy. Yet, only 17 percent of the Iranian GDP in 2018 and 30 percent of the government’s fiscal budget for the Iranian year 2019-2020 depend on petroleum exports.

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  • After Russian Air Defense Deal, Can Ankara and Washington Repair Their Relationship?

    The delivery of a Russian air defense system to Turkey has jeopardized the defense relationship between the United States and one of its most important NATO and regional allies.

    The first components of the Russian-built S-400 air defense system arrived in Ankara on July 12, according to the Turkish ministry of defense, beginning the fulfillment of an agreement Turkey signed with Russia in December 2017.


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  • Baltic Porcupine: Harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution to Defend the Baltic States

    baltic porcupine

    On June 27th, the Atlantic Council’s Transatlantic Security Initiative, part of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, hosted a panel discussion around defense and deterrence in the Baltic states at the Atlantic Council’s headquarters. This event also featured the launch of the Scowcroft Center’s latest issue brief, “The Melians’ Revenge: How Small, Frontline, European States can Employ Emerging Technology to Defend against Russia” by Dr. TX Hammes, distinguished research fellow at the Center for Strategic Research, part of the National Defense University. Atlantic Council board director Stephen Shapiro delivered welcome remarks, followed by keynote remarks by Dr. Hammes,. The discussion was moderated by Barry Pavel, Atlantic Council senior vice president and director of the Scowcroft Center.


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  • Iran’s Troubled Quest for Food Self-Sufficiency

    Modern Iran has been shaped by a long history of chronic food insecurity. In 1917-1918, during World War I, drought ravaged harvests while occupying British, Ottoman, and Russian troops requisitioned much of remaining food supplies. By some accounts, nearly half the nation’s population may have perished in the resulting famine.

    Again in 1942-1943, in the midst of World War II, as wartime cereal, meat and vegetable production fell, Anglo-Soviet occupation forces confiscated large quantities of Iranian food; commandeered the road and rail systems, in turn crippling food

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  • NATO’s Partnerships are Diverse, Valuable, and Flexible to the Circumstances at Hand

    As NATO leaders marked the seventieth anniversary of the Alliance in Washington on April 4, they highlighted its success in keeping the peace in Europe and protecting member countries. But NATO’s importance today goes beyond its borders as it continues to flexibly work with partner countries around the world to improve stability and security globally.


    Since its founding in 1949, NATO has grown from its twelve founding members to twenty-nine allies across North America and Europe. Outside of these allies, NATO has partnership agreements with more than forty countries. These include neighbors like Sweden, Finland, Austria, Switzerland, and Ukraine, as well as countries located further away, such as Australia, Japan, South Korea, Iraq, and Colombia. NATO partnerships enable cooperation through joint trainings and

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  • Hezbollah Won’t Stand Down in a US-Iran Conflict

    On January 28, 2015, a colleague and I were driving north in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley to report on the latest developments involving the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS), which was then occupying a desolate mountain range straddling the Lebanon-Syria border. Shortly before midday, we received news that Hezbollah had just launched an ambush against an Israeli military convoy on Lebanon’s southeast border. We immediately did a U-turn and began heading south.

    Attacks by Hezbollah in south Lebanon against Israeli forces had been rare since the end of the month-long 2006 war. But this one did not come as a surprise. Ten...

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  • With One Small Step, Trump Makes History in North Korea

    Trump, Kim agree to restart nuclear negotiations

    On June 30, Donald J. Trump became the first US president to set foot in North Korea. Trump made history when stepped across a low concrete marker accompanied by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and walked a few steps into the North. The two leaders agreed to have their negotiators resume an effort to reach what has so far been an elusive nuclear deal.

    “The United States, under the Trump administration, has disrupted the longstanding, but failing, US policies of past administrations by seeking to build trust from the top down,” said Barry Pavel, senior vice president, Arnold Kanter chair, and director of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.

    “This was helpful for reducing the near-term threat, but so far it is unclear whether it will help to achieve the denuclearization that we seek,” said Pavel. “How much trust building will be required before North Korea begins

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