WASHINGTON DC – DECEMBER 27, 2022 – The Atlantic Council’s Transatlantic Security Initiative in the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security is pleased to announce the formation of a task force focused on Black Sea security, in partnership with the Romanian National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (SNPSA). A distinguished group of experts, to be formally announced in 2023, will convene to discuss and develop actionable recommendations for enhancing the security and stability of the geopolitically vital Black Sea region. The group will consider issues of defense and deterrence, unconventional and hybrid threats, and security cooperation with allies and partners in the region.

“The Black Sea faces a defining moment, where champions of democracy confront forces of autocracy,” said Frederick Kempe, Atlantic Council president and CEO. “At the frontier of NATO, this region will only rise in significance in the coming years. Given its ongoing work on Black Sea Security, as well as its thought leadership on transatlantic security and defense issues, the Atlantic Council is uniquely positioned to contribute to the policy efforts of the US and allies on this topic.”

The Black Sea region has been a flashpoint for conflict in Europe in the past 15 years, as demonstrated by Russia’s aggression against Georgia in 2008, Ukraine in 2014 and again in 2022. This year the region has risen to new strategic pre-eminence, as Russia’s war against Ukraine sharply illustrated the importance of the Black Sea as an economic, geopolitical, and military focal point. The continued Russian aggression against Ukraine, as well as its power projection capabilities in the Black Sea region pose a continued threat to transatlantic allies and partners, and require ambitious policy solutions in response. Regional aggression highlights the timeliness of the task force and merits a comprehensive analysis of the regional security environment.

As the US government works to develop a Black Sea Strategy countering adversarial aggression and NATO reaffirms the strategic importance of the region in its new Strategic Concept, this taskforce is uniquely positioned to generate ideas and novel strategies in support of these processes, and enable cooperation among allies and partners to enhance stability and promote solidarity in the region.

“This task force seeks to establish a body of work to equip decision makers with the critical information necessary to combat disruptive and aggressive actions. The Transatlantic Security Initiative is prepared to support thoughtful, credible, and possibly provocative research as the team delves into the topic of Black Sea security alongside regional experts,” said Transatlantic Security Initiative Director Christopher Skaluba.

“Romania and its NATO allies, working alongside like-minded partners, stand poised to counter hybrid and conventional attacks committed by those who would upend stability in the Black Sea region, as demonstrated by recent efforts to enhance defense and deterrence on the Eastern Flank, improve the connectivity of infrastructure in the region via efforts such as the Three Seas Initiative, and build Euro-Atlantic resilience to unconventional threats,” said SNSPA Rector Remus Pricopie. “Continued emphasis on securing this critical node must be informed through comprehensive research, which we are pleased to be undertaking through the formation of this task force with our counterparts at Atlantic Council.”

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The Transatlantic Security Initiative (TSI) brings together top policymakers, government and military officials, business leaders, and senior experts from Europe and North America to share insights and develop innovative approaches to the key challenges facing NATO and the transatlantic community. Building on the Scowcroft Center’s mission, TSI focuses on developing strategies for the United States and its NATO allies and partners on both sides of the Atlantic. The initiative honors Brent Scowcroft’s legacy by advocating for US leadership and by fostering the next generation of transatlantic leaders—striving to diversify, inform, and expand the network of support for transatlantic cooperation and the NATO Alliance.

The Romanian National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA), established in 1991 as a school of governance and political science, is today one of the leading education, scientific research, and professional academic institutions in Romania and across the region. SNSPA represents a pillar of Romania’s democratic institutions and has trained generations of Romanian experts and regional leaders, bolstering Romanian and European integration and governance. SNSPA has been at the forefront of initiatives, research, and projects such as the Bucharest Security Conference or projects to counter hybrid threats and disinformation, with the goal of strengthening Euro-Atlantic relations, promoting democratic values, supporting the efforts of NATO and EU member states to enhance cohesion and resilience, and countering the growing threats to security, stability, and peace.