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
Toward integrated deterrence: A conversation with vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen John E. Hyten, USAF
Vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen John E. Hyten, USAF discusses the way forward for US defense and deterrence as part of Forward Defense’s Commanders Series.
Fight and flight in modern air warfare: A conversation with Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen Charles Q. Brown, Jr.
US Air Force Chief of Staff Gen Charles Q. Brown, Jr. discusses the Department’s priorities in preparing for twenty-first century warfare as a part of Forward Defense’s Commanders Series.
Competition and deterrence in Europe: A conversation with General Tod D. Wolters, USEUCOM Commander and SACEUR
Ahead of the NATO Summit, General Wolters, Commander of US European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, discusses NATO’s new approach to everyday competition and how the United States can prevail in twenty-first century warfare.
Advancing Army priorities for the future of warfare: A conversation with the Acting Secretary and the Chief of Staff of the Army
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.
The future of US national security
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.
North Star: The first Department of the Air Force Arctic strategy
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.
War against the invisible: Heroism and sacrifice in the National Guard’s response to the coronavirus
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.
Distinguished speakers we’ve hosted
The future Army in great-power competition: A conversation with Army Chief of Staff James McConville
In a renewed era of great-power competition, Army Chief of Staff James C. McConville joins the Atlantic Council’s Commanders Series to discusses how the Army is preparing itself for the future of geostrategic competition and military conflict.
The future of the Army in great-power competition: A conversation with SECARMY Mark Esper
In this installment of the Commanders Series, Secretary of the Army Mark Esper addresses the modernization priorities of the US Army. He discusses how the Army sees its role in a new era of great-power competition, reviewing how great-power rivals pose a challenge to the Army’s current posture in Europe and Asia.
US military strategy in the era of great-power competition: A conversation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Drawing on more than four decades of distinguished service in the US Marine Corps, General Joseph F. Dunford joins the Atlantic Council’s Commanders Series to discuss the US military priorities of today and into the 2020s. In this conversation moderated by CNN’s Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr, General Dunford focuses on challenges to US military superiority; US military approaches to combating long-term threats; and maintaining dominance and lethality in all domains (air, sea, land, space, and cyber).
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All Commanders Series events
Commanders SeriesOct 5, 2018
The Next Battle of the Atlantic? A Conversation with Admiral James G. Foggo on Transatlantic Security
By Conor Rodihan
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 SeriesMar 29, 2018
US Marine Corps: A Strategic Look with General Neller
By Joanna Jaworska
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 SeriesMay 4, 2017
Commanders Series Event with Chief of Staff of the Army General Mark Milley
By Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative
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 SeriesDec 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 SeriesJul 13, 2016
US SOUTHCOM: A Strategic Look with ADM Kurt W. Tidd
By Alex Ward
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 […]
Forward Defense, housed within the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, 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.