WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 21, 2024 – The Atlantic Council announced today the establishment of the Atlantic Council Technology Programs (ACtech), which will bring together five innovative Atlantic Council programs with technology as a core focus. 

The world faces an era of increasing geopolitical competition and rapid technological change by transforming lives and disrupting power structures across the globe.  Driven by artificial intelligence and a host of other disruptive technologies, the effects will continue to expand, accelerate, and evolve in unexpected ways. Technology – the way people use it, connect with it, build it, and regulate it – will be at the heart of geopolitics, economic competition, social change, and national security for the foreseeable future. 

“Technology is at the forefront of nearly every defining opportunity – and challenge – of our time,” said Frederick Kempe, Atlantic Council president and CEO. “In order to meaningfully execute our mission of ‘shaping the global future’ alongside partners and allies, the United States and its European and global partners must better address the myriad impact of disruptive technological change on everything from the strength of our democracies and economies to our alliances and national security. The Atlantic Council Technology Programs will serve as an essential hub for research and convening to address the complex challenges technology poses.”

The Atlantic Council Technology Programs will comprise five existing operations – the Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab), the GeoTech Center, the Cyber Statecraft Initiative, the Democracy + Tech Initiative, and a newly formed Capacity Building Initiative. These operations will work together to address geopolitical implications of technology and provide policymakers and global stakeholders necessary research, insights, and convenings to address global technology challenges and ensure its responsible advancement. 

Graham Brookie, vice president for Technology Programs and the founding director of DFRLab, will oversee the coordination of the Council’s technology-related work, investment in expanding expertise, and collaboration across other Atlantic Council programs and centers involved in tech-related work, for example with the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security on defense-related technologies and with the Europe Center on transatlantic technology cooperation.  

“The core of our approach is technical research that provides real evidence, examples, and granularity to inform policy matched with our ability to build and convene communities of action,” said Brookie. “We have an opportunity as an organization – and the responsibility as a society – to come together and innovate in big, new, ambitious ways, as well as proactively ensure technology is harnessed for the greatest amount of good for generations to come.” 

More information about ACtech Programs and key leaders is included below. For media inquiries, please contact press@atlanticcouncil.org

The GeoTech Center, led by acting Senior Director Raul Brens Jr., ensures critical and emerging technologies can responsibly enter into worldwide use, for public benefit, and provides policy makers with pragmatic approaches to mitigating the potential societal and geopolitical risks of technological change. The Center serves as an essential bridge between technologists and policymakers, domestically and internationally. Across a deepening array of cross-cutting technology pillars—AI, data, space, and climate, the Center curates impactful, context-driven, and forward-looking policy analysis in the rapidly evolving geotechnology landscape.  

The Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab), led by Directors Andy Carvin and Emerson T. Brooking, works to identify and expose cases of hostile information manipulation, prevent online harms, and build global digital resilience. Incubated at the Atlantic Council since 2016, the DFRLab has emerged as a leader in the study of the digital ecosystems, combining open-source research skills with hard-hitting policy impact. The DFRLab’s research and reporting shines a spotlight on those who would undermine democratic institutions and norms and helps protect vulnerable communities around the world. 

The Democracy + Tech Initiative, led by Director Rose Jackson, creates policy practices that align global stakeholders toward tech and governance that reinforces, rather than undermines, open societies. It builds on the DFRLab’s established track record and leadership in the open-source field, empowering global communities to promote transparency and accountability online and around the world. The Initiative examines how the tech that connects and informs people is funded, built, and governed, and how that affects the viability of rights-respecting and democratic societies around the world.

The Cyber Statecraft Initiative, led by Senior Director Trey Herr, works at the intersection of digital systems, policy, and security to shape the conduct of statecraft and to better inform and secure users of technology. This work extends through the competition of state and non-state actors, the security of the internet and computing systems, the safety of operational technology and physical systems, and conflict in and through cyberspace. The Initiative convenes a diverse network of passionate and knowledgeable contributors, bridging the gap among technology, policy, and users.

The newly formed Capacity Building Initiative, led by Director Safa Shahwan Edwards, brings together field leading and global training efforts from across ACtech. This includes the Cyber Statecraft Initiative’s 12-year-old Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge that hosted 710 students representing 35 countries in 10 competitions throughout 2023, the DFRLab’s Digital Sherlocks program that included over one thousand emerging experts across 146 countries in 2023, the GeoTech Center’s AI Connect program that included 300 policy makers in over 70 global majority countries in its first two cohorts, and novel capacity building programs focused on digital policy. Taken collectively, our capacity building efforts are geared to upskill policymakers, break down silos to build communities of action, and develop the next generation of the global technology workforce. 

Atlantic Council Technology Programs leadership also includes Nicholas Yap, director of strategy and operations and a founding member of DFRLab, and Stephanie Wander, director of strategic initiatives and partnerships at the GeoTech Center. 

About the Atlantic Council  

The Atlantic Council promotes constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the Atlantic community’s central role in meeting global challenges. The Council provides an essential forum for navigating the dramatic economic and political changes defining the twenty-first century by informing and galvanizing its uniquely influential network of global leaders. The Atlantic Council—through the papers it publishes, the ideas it generates, the future leaders it develops, and the communities it builds—shapes policy choices and strategies to create a more free, secure, and prosperous world.