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Assumptions Testing series

A series of issue briefs questioning a major assumption, or related series of sub-assumptions, underlying US foreign policy.

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Reality Check series

A series of succinct and straight-to-the-point memos designed for busy professionals anxious for pragmatic and timely policy options.

NAEI Annual Student Competition

Fri, Sep 10, 2021

NAEI Annual Student Competition

The New American Engagement Initiative Annual Student Competition is a magnet for young, unconventional thinkers and doers who desire to enliven the strategic discourse about the United States’ role in the world. It provides undergraduate students from different academic disciplines with an opportunity to develop their critical thinking, writing, and communications skills by offering them a platform to engage with their peers as well as seasoned mentors.

Past events

NAEI events explore key underlying assumptions that have guided US foreign policy to embrace new perspectives in the way the United States engage with the world. These discussions convene experts from traditionally underrepresented groups in Washington foreign policy circles and those who represent a range of viewpoints.

Commentary & analysis

NAEI produces timely commentaries and short analyses on a wide range of issues to inform and provide the foreign policy community with pragmatic recommendations.

Employment opportunities

Mon, Jun 28, 2021

New American Engagement Initiative – Fall 2021 Young Global Professionals Program


The New American Engagement Initiative, housed within the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, challenges prevailing assumptions governing US foreign policy and helps policymakers manage risks, set priorities, and allocate resources wisely and efficiently.

New American Engagement Initiative Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security

Mon, Apr 19, 2021

Senior Fellow, New American Engagement Initiative


The Atlantic Council seeks a dynamic, non-mainstream intellectual entrepreneur to staff and build the New American Engagement Initiative (NAEI), an exciting new effort to challenge conventional foreign policy thinking, question tired assumptions in particular regarding military engagement, and help US government policy-makers to manage risks in decision-making and resource allocation in a manner that fits the times and is at the same time thoughtful and provocative.

New American Engagement Initiative Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security



Thu, Sep 9, 2021

Ashford on the Pop & Locke podcast: The Hurt Locker and the legacies of the war on terror

On September 9, Emma Ashford joined Natalie Dowzicky, Landry Ayres, and Eric Gomez on the Pop and Locke podcast to discuss the movie “The Hurt Locker,” and the legacies of the war on terror. They discussed whether the movie is an accurate depiction of the experiences of service members during the Iraq War and how […]

In the News by Atlantic Council

English Iraq

Wed, Sep 8, 2021

Ashford at CSIS: Military Challenges to Future NATO Enlargement

On September 8, Ashford participated in a panel discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies around a new paper on the future of NATO expansion and was appointed a Nonresident Fellow at the Modern War Institute as West Point for the 2021-2022 academic year. “Past NATO expansion helped create a Europe whole, free, […]

In the News by Atlantic Council

English Europe & Eurasia

Wed, Sep 8, 2021

Ashford in Vox: “I think it’s the rise of China, and more broadly the fact that America is in relative decline … that is where we start hearing some talk of constraints.”

On September 8, Ashford was quoted in a Vox article by Zack Beauchamp on the decline of liberal interventionism. “‘I don’t actually think that the failures of foreign policy in the Middle East alone were enough to catalyze this shift’ against interventionism, says Emma Ashford, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank. ‘I […]

In the News by Atlantic Council

Afghanistan Conflict

Sat, Sep 4, 2021

Ashford in The Week: The limits of power

On September 4, Emma Ashford was quoted in the editor’s letter for the new edition of The Week, focusing on the Afghan withdrawal. “The U.S. had searing proof of that in Vietnam, but the shock of 9/11 created a national amnesia that the Bush administration exploited in trying to nation-build Afghanistan, and then, more recklessly, […]

In the News by Atlantic Council

Afghanistan Conflict

Fri, Sep 3, 2021

Ashford in The Guardian: Yesterday’s war: why Raab did not foresee Afghanistan catastrophe

On September 3, Emma Ashford was quoted in The Guardian on the fallout of the Afghan withdrawal. “Not surprisingly, there is now return of fire in the US from the many supporters of Biden’s decision. Emma Ashford, a leading advocate of a new grand strategy of US restraint, said: ‘If this episode pushes America’s European […]

In the News by Atlantic Council

Afghanistan Conflict

Thu, Sep 2, 2021

Preble on The Ripon Forum: Measuring the Effectiveness of the War on Terror

On September 9, Christopher Preble published an article entitled “Measuring the Effectiveness of the War on Terror,” in the Ripon Society. Preble wrote, “Nearly 20 years after the start of the US war, it is reasonable to wonder whether the entire undertaking was actually essential to defeating terrorists. Tragically, it might actually have made the […]

In the News by Atlantic Council

Afghanistan English

Thu, Sep 2, 2021

Preble on the Net Assessment podcast: Did anyone win the “global war on terror”?

On September 2, Christopher Preble and co-hosts Melanie Marlowe (CSIS) and Zack Cooper (AEI) discussed Daniel Byman’s “The Good Enough Doctrine: Learning to Live with Terrorism” on the War on the Rocks Net Assessment podcast. They debated on whether political leaders can tolerate some level of risk from terrorism in the same way that we […]

In the News by Atlantic Council

English Politics & Diplomacy

Tue, Aug 31, 2021

Preble in The Washington Times: “They were on the record, less than a year ago in many cases, arguing in favor of withdrawal.”

On August 31, Christopher Preble was quoted in a Washington Times article on the political fallout from President Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, and the risks for those who argue that the US military should have stayed. “It is predictable that Republicans will use this to score points, and if the shoe were on […]

In the News by Atlantic Council

Afghanistan Conflict

Fri, Aug 27, 2021

Kroenig and Ashford discuss the situation in Afghanistan

On August 27, Foreign Policy published a biweekly column featuring Scowcroft Center deputy director Matthew Kroenig and New American Engagement Initiative senior fellow Emma Ashford discussing the latest news in international affairs. In this column, they discuss the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the hasty evacuation after the Afghan government’s collapse, and the question of accountability in Afghanistan.

In the News by Atlantic Council

Afghanistan Security & Defense

Thu, Aug 26, 2021

Ashford in The New York Times: “We assume that because we are very powerful, we can achieve things that are unachievable”

On August 26, Ashford was quoted in The New York Times on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and its implications for US foreign policy. “There’s no denying America is the most powerful country in the world, but what we’ve seen over and over in recent decades is we cannot turn that into the outcomes we […]

In the News by Atlantic Council

Afghanistan Conflict