About the series

The Commanders Series, generously supported by Saab, is the Atlantic Council’s flagship speakers’ forum for senior military and defense leaders. The series provides a platform to discuss current strategic issues with an impressive audience drawn from across Washington’s policy community, including think tanks, media, industry, embassies, and the US government. In 2020, the Atlantic Council hosted Chief of Staff of the US Army General James C. McConville, Commander of US Transportation Command General Stephen R. Lyons, Commanding General of the US Army Futures Command General John M. Murray, then-Chief of the National Guard Bureau General Joseph L. Lengyel, Department of the Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett, then-Chief of Staff of the US Air Force General David L. Goldfein, Chief of Space Operations General John W. Raymond, and former US National Security Advisors General James L. Jones, the Honorable Robert McFarlane, and Ambassador John R. Bolton.

Upcoming & recent events

Mon, Oct 19, 2020

The future of US national security


Distinguished speakers we’ve hosted

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All Commanders Series events

Mon, May 10, 2021

Advancing Army priorities for the future of warfare: A conversation with the Acting Secretary and the Chief of Staff of the Army

Online Event Acting Secretary of the Army HON John E. Whitley and Chief of Staff of the Army GEN James C. McConville discuss the US Army’s priorities and posture in light of emerging security threats and a potentially difficult budget as a part of Forward Defense’s Commanders Series events.

1:00pm Defense Policy Defense Technologies Missile Defense National Security

Mon, Oct 19, 2020

The future of US national security

Public Event An #ACELECTIONS2020 and COMMANDERS SERIES Event: Former National Security Advisors Gen James L. Jones, the Hon. Robert McFarlane, and Amb. John R. Bolton address key security threats and priorities for the next Presidential administration and beyond.

10:00am China Coronavirus Crisis Management Defense Policy

Tue, Jul 21, 2020

North Star: The first Department of the Air Force Arctic strategy

Public Event ONLINE EVENT – The Secretary of the Air Force and two members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff launch the Air Force’s Arctic Strategy, the Department of the Air Force’s first service-specific strategy for the region.

1:30pm ONLINE EVENT Defense Policy Energy & Environment Intelligence National Security

Thu, May 28, 2020

War against the invisible: Heroism and sacrifice in the National Guard’s response to the coronavirus

Public Event ONLINE EVENT – Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, joins the Atlantic Council’s Commanders Series to discuss stories of heroism from the National Guard’s response to the Coronavirus and the Guard’s plans to move forward while the pandemic continues.

3:30pm ONLINE EVENT Coronavirus Crisis Management National Security United States and Canada

Mon, Feb 10, 2020

Forging the Army’s future

Public Event GEN John M. Murray, Commanding General of Army Futures Command (AFC), joins the Atlantic Council’s Commanders Series to discuss how AFC is reinventing innovation in the Army.

1:00pm Washington DC Defense Policy Defense Technologies National Security Security & Defense

Fri, Oct 5, 2018

The Next Battle of the Atlantic? A Conversation with Admiral James G. Foggo on Transatlantic Security

On October 5, 2018, the Atlantic Council’s Transatlantic Security Initiative, part of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, hosted a public discussion with Admiral James G. Foggo, III, commander, US Naval Forces Europe; US Naval Forces Africa; and Allied Joint Force Command Naples, on NATO’s deterrence posture and Allied efforts to reinforce the maritime […]

Commanders Series by Conor Rodihan

NATO Security & Defense
General Robert Neller, Commandant of the US Marine Corps, speaks with moderator Kevin Baron during a Commanders Series event at the Atlantic Council.

Thu, Mar 29, 2018

US Marine Corps: A Strategic Look with General Neller

On March 29, the Atlantic Council hosted Commandant of the Marine Corps General Robert B. Neller for a strategic look at the US Marine Corps. The event featured a moderated discussion led by Kevin Baron, Executive Editor of Defense One.

Commanders Series by Joanna Jaworska

Thu, May 4, 2017

Commanders Series Event with Chief of Staff of the Army General Mark Milley

On May 4, the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center for International Security hosted Chief of Staff of the Army General Mark Milley at the Army and Navy Club on Farragut Square in downtown Washington DC. Dr. Nora Bensahel interviewed General Milley after his opening statements and a welcome by former Secretary of the Army John […]

Commanders Series by Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative

Tue, Dec 20, 2016

A Call for the Transatlantic Community to Stand Up to Russia

Deborah Lee James, secretary of the US Air Force, said the transatlantic community is facing significant challenges In light of numerous instances of Russian aggression around the world, the transatlantic security community must stand together in a coordinated show of force so as to deter Russian revanchism, Deborah Lee James, secretary of the US Air […]

Commanders Series


Wed, Jul 13, 2016

US SOUTHCOM: A Strategic Look with ADM Kurt W. Tidd

On July 13 the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security hosted a Commanders Series event with Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, the Commander of US Southern Command, on US SOUTHCOM’s strategy for Latin America. The issues discussed included the strategy that SOUTHCOM was asked to execute, how SOUTHCOM aims to execute that strategy, and […]

Commanders Series by Alex Ward

Forward Defense shapes the debate around the greatest military challenges facing the United States and its allies, and creates forward-looking assessments of the trends, technologies, and concepts that will define the future of warfare.