The Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security’s Transatlantic Security Initiative hosted a report launch and conversation on “More in the Med: Revitalizing NATO’s Southern Strategy for an Era of Great Power Competition” on Tuesday, October 22 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Atlantic Council headquarters (1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor, Washington, DC 20005.)

Over the last 5 years, NATO has made huge strides to defend and deter against Russia in Europe’s northeast – what NATO does best. But its work in Europe’s south – in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Africa – continues to fall short. This is not only a missed opportunity to mitigate the real, and growing, challenges along NATO’s Mediterranean and Black Sea frontiers, such as instability, terrorism, and uncontrolled migration, together with a more aggressive Russia and rising China; neglecting the threats closest to home for southern allies also threatens the solidarity and cohesion among allies that are essential to transatlantic security in an era of intensifying great power competition.

To help reinvigorate NATO’s southern strategy for today’s environment, the Transatlantic Security Initiative launched a new report, co-authored by Ambassador Alexander Vershbow and Lauren Speranza. The paper argues that NATO’s south is not just about projecting stability, but also defense, deterrence, and containment. It outlines specific recommendations for how to project stability better, make the south ‘the new east’ through an enhanced Southern presence, and bolster regional leadership – particularly from Italy, a key ally at the heart of NATO’s south.

The report’s authors were joined by several other distinguished speakers to discuss these ideas and the way forward.

Opening Remarks

Damon Wilson
Executive Vice President
Atlantic Council

Alessandro Profumo
Chief Executive Officer
Leonardo S.p.A.

Keynote Address

Looking South: NATO in an Era of Great Power Competition

General James L. Jones, Jr., USMC (Ret.)
Executive Chairman Emeritus
Atlantic Council;
Former Supreme Allied Commander Europe
Former Commander
US European Command


Refocusing NATO’s Efforts in the South & Italy’s Role

Ambassador Alexander Vershbow
Distinguished Fellow, Transatlantic Security Initiative, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security
Atlantic Council

Ambassador Armando Varicchio
Embassy of Italy to the United States

Kirsten Fontenrose
Director, Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative
Atlantic Council


Lauren Speranza
Deputy Director, Transatlantic Security Initiative, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security
Atlantic Council