February 8, 2012
Counter-Piracy Task Force: Strategic Approaches to the Piracy Challenge

On February 8, 2012, the International Security Program and the Michael S. Ansari Africa Center hosted a meeting of the Atlantic Council Maritime Piracy Task Force, chaired by Atlantic Council Board Director Franklin D. Miller. This is the third in a series of meetings looking into the challenge of piracy and possible strategic approaches.

The first part of the discussion, led by Thomas Kelly, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the US State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, reviewed the US Government’s perspective on piracy and current efforts to combat it off the coast of Somalia. The second part of the discussion featured a presentation by Commander James Kraska, USN, Howard S. Levie Chair of Operational Law at the US Naval War College, who highlighted the various international and domestic legal issues surrounding maritime piracy. Taking part in the meeting were representatives of the US government, including military personnel, and the private sector.

As maritime piracy has emerged as a potential high profile challenge for the United States, its allies, trading partners, and global commerce, the Atlantic Council is leading a limited-duration, limited-scope project designed to produce actionable and policy-relevant analysis and recommendations on US approaches to the maritime piracy challenge in the complex international context. The Task Force consists of a series of meetings by a standing group of high-level strategic actors--former US administration officials, distinguished members of academia, international organizations, transportation/logistics industry executives, and occasional ad hoc expert invitees to define the problem and develop courses of action for the formation of US policy. The Task Force will make explicit, implementable recommendations to key policy groups: Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Department of State, the Joint Chiefs, the National Security Council, and other elements of the interagency policy community.