Annual Report July 21, 2020

The Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security

By The Atlantic Council

The Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security develops sustainable, nonpartisan strategies to address the most important security challenges facing the United States and the world. The center honors General Brent Scowcroft’s legacy of service and embodies his ethos of nonpartisan commitment to the cause of security, support for US leadership in cooperation with allies and partners, and dedication to the mentorship of the next generation of leaders.

The Scowcroft Center currently houses four major practice areas: the Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative; the Transatlantic Security Initiative; the Asia Security Initiative; and the Cyber Statecraft Initiative. In 2020, it will add three new programs: the Global Strategy Initiative, the New American Engagement Initiative, and Forward Defense.

In 2019, the Scowcroft Center distinguished itself as a go-to forum for serious strategy work and solidified its role as one of the most impactful nonpartisan centers working on national security. Due in large part to the Scowcroft Center’s work, the Atlantic Council was ranked the eighth top think tank in the world for defense and national security by the University of Pennsylvania’s Go to Think Tank Index.


Due in large part to the Scowcroft Center’s work, the Atlantic Council was ranked the eighth top think tank in the world for defense and national security.

The center notched important accomplishments in its three most important priority issue areas in 2019: the return of great-power competition; revitalizing the rules-based international system, and harnessing rapid technological change.

In the area of great power competition, the center’s Strategy Consortium zeroed in on China while Scowcroft Center experts contributed directly to a number of US national strategy efforts behind the scenes. The Strategy Consortium is unique in that it regularly includes senior government officials responsible for strategy and directly informs their strategy development efforts. In early 2019, the center published a Strategic Insights Memo (SIM) on the China 5G threat to Europe that was briefed to senior US and European officials and helped to put the issue on the map globally. Additionally, the Scowcroft Center’s report, Permanent Deterrence, had a significant impact on the US military presence in Poland. The center’s annual “NATO Engages” event was once again a huge success and was temporarily the number one trending item on Twitter.

To revitalize the rules-based system, the Scowcroft Center published two
major Atlantic Council Strategy Papers. Global Risks 2035 analyzed the major trends shaping the future of global politics and Present at the Re-Creation provided a comprehensive strategy for the United States and its allies to revi- talize, adapt, and defend a rules-based international system. Both strategy papers were briefed to senior policy planners in the United States and Europe. A Scowcroft Center event on alliance burden-sharing in Berlin helped to shape German policy and the Strategic Insights Memo, “How to Break the Korea-Japan Impasse,” informed US government policy for managing relationships with its key Asian allies.

The Scowcroft Center helped the United States and its allies harness technological change. It played an instrumental role in incubating and launching the new Atlantic Council Geotech Center and published an Atlantic Council Strategy Paper that articulated a national security strategy for artificial intelligence. The center also briefed its work on new technology and cybersecurity to both the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence and the Cyber Solarium Commission.

Core strategy for 2020

In 2020, the Scowcroft Center will continue to target its priority issue areas with a special focus on great-power competition with China, revitalizing the rules-based system, and leveraging emerging technology with defense and national security applications.

Image: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks at the NATO Engages event in London.

To that end, the Scowcroft Center will formally launch a new Forward Defense practice area which will be a full-scope US and global defense policy effort covering defense foresight, defense strategy and policy, novel operational concepts, emerging defense technology, and the defense industry.

To ramp up its strategy work, the Scowcroft Center will also establish two new strategy efforts. The Global Strategy Initiative will focus on core Scowcroft Center strategy efforts. The New American Engagement Initiative will advance creative and unorthodox approaches to US grand strategy. These new efforts are designed to help steer US decision makers toward creative solutions for the United States to navigate one of the most disruptive and transformative moments in history.

Programmatic lines of effort

Against a fundamentally changed global landscape, the Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative advances the Atlantic Council’s mission to support renewed, constructive, and resourceful US lead- ership. Its competencies in long-range assessments, strategy development, and global trends will prove especially useful during a time when world dynamics are increasingly complex and unpredictable.

The Transatlantic Security Initiative brings together senior officials and experts from Europe and North America to share insights, strengthen cooperation, and develop innovative approaches to the key challenges facing NATO and the transatlantic community, including how to manage the rise of China. Through high- profile public convenings, off-the-record strategy sessions, war-gaming, digital engagement, and content-rich publi- cations, the initiative directly advances the council’s core mission of informing the transatlantic security debate.

Image: Dr. Choo-suk Suh, Vice Minister, ROK Ministry of Defense speaks with the 2018–2019 Atlantic Council-Korea Foundation Journalist Fellowship delegation trip to Seoul.

The Asia Security Initiative’s (ASI) central mission is to enhance cooperation between the United States and its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific in order to develop a community of like- minded nations that are committed to adapting, defending, and revitalizing the rules-based international system. A key piece of this mission rests on providing cutting-edge analysis and actionable policy recommendations for the United States and its allies and partners as they seek coordinated responses to the rise of China in a new era of great power competition. At the same time, ASI continues to address broader issues shaping the region’s strategic environment, including traditional security issues as well as emerging challenges in non-traditional areas.

The focus of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative (CSI) is to examine the nexus
of geopolitics and national security in cyberspace, forge sustainable interna- tional collaboration on cybersecurity and safety, and build the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.


In 2020, the Scowcroft Center will formally launch a new full scope US and global defense policy program and two new strategy programs.


Annual Report

Jul 21, 2020

Adrienne Arsht- Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center

By The Atlantic Council

The Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center will reach one billion people with resilience solutions to climate change, migration, and human security challenges by 2030.

Read the full report:

Image: Image: A military vehicle carrying a WZ-8 supersonic reconnaissance drone in Beijing, China October 1, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee