Please join the Atlantic Council’s Transatlantic Security Initiative, in the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, in partnership with the Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of Lithuania, for a hybrid public conference, “From Ideas to Implementation: Priorities for NATO’s Vilnius Summit” on Friday, May 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET at the Atlantic Council’s headquarters(1030 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005, 12th Floor, West Tower Elevators) and virtually.

More than a year after Russia’s brutal, illegal, and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, the transatlantic community remains at a critical juncture. Looking towards the Vilnius Summit in July 2023, NATO must urgently deliver on its reaffirmed commitment to Euro-Atlantic collective security and its reinforcement of the Eastern Flank in the face of ongoing Russian aggression. At the same time, it needs to prepare for an evolving security environment that includes emerging challenges like China, climate change, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

How can NATO move from a Summit of Ideas in Madrid to a Summit of Implementation in Vilnius? What concrete steps should NATO take to reinforce the Eastern Flank as part of a strategy of deterrence by denial? How can the Alliance defend against both immediate and long-term threats? What role should the United States and its allies and partners play in supporting Ukraine, and how can NATO reinforce its commitment to an “open door policy” for prospective new members?

To address these questions, the Atlantic Council is organizing the second iteration of its high-level, public NATO curtain raiser discussion. This conversation will take place in-person and virtually and will be broadcast on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. To receive the event information, please register above.


8:30– 8:35 a.m.

Welcome remarks

Dr. Matthew Kroenig, Vice President and Senior Director, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, Atlantic Council

Keynote remarks

H.E. Arvydas Anušauskas, Minister of National Defense, Republic of Lithuania  

8:35 – 8:40 a.m.
8:40 – 9:15 a.m.

A video message from Minister of Defense of Ukraine H.E. Oleksii Reznikov

H.E. Oleksii Reznikov, Minister of Defense, Ukraine

A message on NATO public diplomacy

A video message on the importance of NATO public diplomacy and allied strategic communications and the necessity to maintain our democratic values and transparency to the transatlantic community in a geopolitically contested environment.

Linas Kojala, Director, Eastern Europe Studies Centre

9:15 – 9:20 a.m.
9:20 – 10:10 a.m.

Deterrence by denial: Reinforcing NATO’s Eastern Flank 

At the NATO Summit in Madrid, the Alliance agreed to momentous changes in response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and an overhaul to NATO’s collective defense and a new Strategic Concept. NATO strengthened its force posture on its eastern flank and agreed to deploy higher readiness forces and stockpiles under a new force model. Ahead of the 2023 Summit in Vilnius, the Alliance finds itself at a critical juncture as it looks to implement the strategies agreed upon last year. What concrete steps should NATO take to reinforce the eastern flank, and move towards a strategy of deterrence by denial? How can the Alliance maintain unity while pursuing higher readiness levels throughout the Alliance?  What are the critical gaps that need to be bridged to strengthen the Alliance’s posture, and how can equitable burden-sharing be achieved? Finally, what is the role of US leadership in driving and supporting these changes? 

Samuel J. Brannen, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Plans and Posture in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (OUSDP), Department of Defense

The Hon. Rose Gottemoeller, Steven C. Házy Lecturer, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University; Former Deputy Secretary General, NATO

Dr. Michael E. O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Director of Research, Foreign Policy, Brookings Institution

Moderator: Vivian Salama, National Security Reporter, The Wall Street Journal

A message from Ukraine

A video message from Ukraine on Ukrainian resilience and civil resistance in the face of Russian aggression. 

Introducer: Rima Ziuraitis, Managing Director, Blue/Yellow for Ukraine USA

Blue/Yellow for Ukraine, a non-government organization that has been supporting Ukraine’s armed resistance since 2014 and providing Ukrainian soldiers and volunteers with non-lethal supplies to help them battle Russian aggression.

10:10 – 10:15 a.m.
10:15 – 11:05 a.m.

US leadership in addressing the authoritarian threat

The United States has led the transatlantic community in providing military, humanitarian, and economic aid to Ukraine, and reinforcing its defense posture in Europe, with largely bipartisan support. As Russia’s war in Ukraine enters a stalemate stage, what role should the United States play in maintaining momentum in NATO and globally? How can constructive US leadership be exercised to confront Russia across domains? What role should the US Congress specifically play?  

The Hon. Jeanne Shaheen, U.S. Senator (D-NH), US Senate

Amb. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Former U.S. Senator (R-TX), US Senate; Former US Ambassador to NATO

Moderator: Frederick Kempe, President and Chief Executive Officer, Atlantic Council

A message from NATO’s Eastern Flank

A video message from Lithuania on Allied unity in the implementation of an enhanced NATO forward presence on the Eastern Flank and the importance of Allied presence for defense and deterrence of NATO.

Col Aurelijus Motiejūnas, Lithuanian Land Force, Commander, Lithuanian Land Force Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf

Lt Col Lars Neitzel, German Army, Commander, NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Multinational Battlegroup in Lithuania

Lt. Col. Jay Ireland, US Army, Commander, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, U.S. Force Presence in Lithuania

11:05 – 11:10 a.m.
11:10 – 12:00 p.m.

A 360 future: Accelerating NATO defense innovation against emerging threats

The future belongs to those who can master the next Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA). As Russia’s war in Ukraine has demonstrated, winning in future battlefields will likely be the result of the integration of emerging technologies such as drones, the interoperability of forces across services, and the mastery of power across domains. What investments, strategies, and forces does NATO need to prepare for the battlefields of the future? How can NATO Adapt and transform to a contested geopolitical environment in Europe and beyond? How can NATO defend against the acute threat posed by Russia, and the challenges posed by China and climate change?  

General Philippe Lavigne, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, NATO

Giedrimas Jeglinskas, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Security Initiative, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, Atlantic Council; Former Assistant Secretary General for Executive Management, NATO

Dr. Sarah Kirchberger, Head of the Center for Asia-Pacific Strategy and Security, Institute for Security Policy, Kiel University; Nonresident Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Security Initiative, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, Atlantic Council

Moderator: Leah Scheunemann, Deputy Director, Transatlantic Security Initiative, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, Atlantic Council

Program Close

12:00 p.m.

Related program

The Transatlantic Security Initiative, in the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, shapes and influences the debate on the greatest security challenges facing the North Atlantic Alliance and its key partners.

The Atlantic Council is a member of the Atlantic Treaty Association and is committed to advancing transatlantic cooperation through NATO.