The EU Must Become a Crisis Management Leader

The EU's Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) has not risen to recent challenges, in Libya in particular. The EU should institutionalize a more responsive structure that will ensure rapid military response where and when necessary. Such a structure will also be depended upon for securing European borders while concurrently preventing EU member states from responding to crises as a European pillar of NATO. View

Future-Proofing NATO: A Forthcoming Decade of Change

Memo 50: NATO must adopt hybrid models of national defense, coordinate efforts on economic and electronic warfare, and secure its space-based infrastructure. The Alliance should also establish a partnership with China and strengthen its presence in the Arctic. View

A Holistic Approach to Defeating the Islamic State

NATO and its allies are insufficiently addressing the Islamic State, which will significantly backlash in the next 10 years. In order to sufficiently tackle this huge threat, we need a more comprehensive approach that addresses not only the Islamic State, in Iraq and Syria, but worldwide. The key to a successful strategy lies in a holistic two-fold approach – using special forces and the establishment of non-democratic governments. View

Shaping our NATO: Young Voices on the Warsaw Summit 2016

Our new policy workshop competition gives students and recent graduates the opportunity to reflect on the most pressing issues facing NATO today and to shape the future of the Alliance. Five winners will receive a trip to Berlin to present the collective ideas to decision-makers. View

Bibliography on NATO: Some Guidance for Getting Started

As a think-thank comprised mainly of Political Science students, we are keenly aware of the endless activities that foment procrastination when writing an article. In order to get the proverbial mental ball rolling for the "Shaping our NATO" competition, we have compiled some recent publications regarding NATO. These articles range from introductory texts to more area-focused and technical papers. View

Political Risks Threaten the Global Economy

Political risks have increased in recent years, while policy makers, including central banks, have less power to mitigate those risks. Global stock prices, however, do not reflect these developments as the markets have been distracted by cheap and abundant liquidity. "Great Power Sclerosis" and the weakness of Pax Americana have created a vacuum in global governance. The bank Citi raises awareness about the "new convergence between geopolitical and vox populi risks". View

Book Review: "Want, Waste, or War?"

The authors of this book, Philip Andrews-Speed et al., present a compelling case for taking a resource nexus approach in analyzing global resource use by considering the interconnectedness among natural resources. This approach helps to understand the potential implications across regions. Without a fairer and more effective approach to resource governance, risks for increased waste, want and war will likely become more pressing in the future. View

Counterinsurgency and Tribal Politics

Findings of this research are focused on NATO capabilities in the light of requirement and planning assumptions required to conduct missions tailored to certain operations within tribal society. The key aspects are related to the strategies of the International Organizations and its implementation while facing an unpredictable threat in hostile environment relevant to the hybrid wars and asymmetry. View

What the West Should Do About the BRICS

Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (the BRICS) launched the New Development Bank and the Contingency Reserve Arrangement, challenging World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. If transatlantic leaders don't act both decisively and with humility in the years ahead, the institutions they created 70 years ago at Bretton Woods are doomed to lose a lot of their might in international affairs. Giving the BRICS a bigger role in the IMF & World Bank could be a necessary step for preserving these institutions. View

Event Report: The Cost of Peace and Freedom

The Atlantic Initiative held a public event in Berlin in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation on The Cost of Peace and Freedom: What is security worth to us today? The panel included a security expert and a member of the Bundestag's budgetary and defense committees. Panelists discussed Germany's role in global defense alliances in light of the Ukraine crisis and security issues in the Middle East and Africa. View

Genocide Concerns Us All: Rwanda 20 Years On

On April 6th, it will be 20 years since the killing in Rwanda began. The situations in the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Syria mirror the misery and suffering of men, women and children in Rwanda. Although foreign policy is a complex arena in which to make difficult decisions, especially for Germany, it is imperative that Germans put more pressure on their government to make good on the "never again" attitude that came from these atrocities. View

Canada: Too Quiet for Too Long

Canada's outstanding diplomatic reputation owes itself to the likes of Lester Pearson, a Canadian peacekeeping pioneer who helped broker stability during the 1956 Suez Crisis. With a new crisis rapidly emerging in the Central African Republic (CAR), the world once again needs Canada's help. Thus far, however, Ottawa's voice has been conspicuously absent. Unless something changes, Canada runs the risk of remaining too quiet for too long, a prospect the people of CAR can ill afford. View

Piracy: Germany to the Rescue?

Maritime security is as important to Germany as to any other nation on Earth. Its export economy depends on the free and uninterrupted movement of goods across oceans in order to reach far-flung markets. Increasingly, however, this freedom has come under attack. Due to piracy off the coast of Africa, trade prospects have dimmed, leaving many wondering what is to be done. The time has come for Germany to act. View

Germany's Responsibility in South Sudan

New year. New government. Same old indifference. In South Sudan thousands of people fear for their lives. We Germans send some food and medicine and recommend they settle their conflicts peacefully. With that, we think, we have done enough. This however, is far from the case. Not only do we have a moral responsibility to protect the thousands of South Sudanese in grave danger, it is in Germany's own interests to contribute more. View

Highlights in 2013

We would like to thank all members for your contributions and to remind you of the standout achievements of our open think tank this year. Atlantic Community has continued to debate issues that are important to the transatlantic partnership through our Q&A's, Theme Weeks, and Atlantic Memos. Your ideas are making an impact, receiving responses from prominent policy officials, and we look forward to your contributions in the months and years to come. View

Defining Global Norms on Drone Policy

Memo 46: Atlantic Community members have come to a consensus that, due to current US drone policy, drones need to be regulated to prevent the emergence of a customary law. The latest Atlantic Memo "Defining Global Norms on Drone Policy" seeks reform on both domestic and international levels, resulting in increased transparency and restricted armed drone deployment. View

Draft Atlantic Memo: Defining Global Norms on Drone Policy

Memo 46: The editorial team has written a draft Atlantic Memo, outlining policy recommendations from our Theme Week, on "Defining Global Norms on Drone Policy." The authors, as well as members who contributed insightful comments, are now working together to produce a final draft, which will be sent to experts for feedback. You can still participate in the discussion by commenting below. View

Transparency Key to Reformed US Drone Policy

In order to repair the damage to its reputation, the US needs to reform its current drone policy. Many feel that the Executive Branch of the US Government has been acting without adequate checks and balances. The US Senate should demand more transparency and oversight and move to have explicit restrictions placed on the Executive Branch. A more transparent US drone policy would ease concerns of its allies and could allow the United States to lead the debate on international drone policy. View

Civilian Safety Crucial in World of UAVs

With UAS become more and more common place, the necessity to ensure civilian safety is increasing. Regulations are needed to prevent the encroachment of authorities into the private lives of citizens or the endangerment of civilians in conflict situations, ensuring the maintenance of the principle of proportionality. As UAS are adapted to military and law enforcement roles, it is essential that we plan accordingly for the use of autonomous systems in the near future. View

International Watchdog Needed to Monitor Drone Operations

To avoid a scenario such as the proliferation of nuclear weapons during the Cold War, transatlantic partners need to work together to regulate the use of UAVs. In an attempt to curtail countries exploiting the new technology, UAVs should be registered with their respective national aviation authorities and an international watchdog should be set up to monitor their compliance with foreign airspace. Such regulations would prevent the misuse of drones in the future. View

Drones as a Means of a Pre-emptive Security Strategy

In his poem "Little Advice to Damocles," Erich Kästner wrote about that famous mythical sword that not the sharpness of its blade, but the tininess of the string that holds it is what is actually posing the threat. Concerning the necessity of a Western combat drone policy today, his words show their wisdom: The solution lies in strengthening the string, not in blunting the blade. If the regulations imposed on the use of drones are strong enough, then the need for an outright ban can be avoided. View

The Road to Establishing Global Norms for Drone Policy

The escalation of targeted killings by the US as a prominent counter-terrorism tool has drawn the world’s attention to the use of armed drones. This week, Atlantic Community will turn its attention to drones, asking the question: How can the transatlantic community cooperate to establish global norms for drone policy? We will publish articles on this topic throughout the week and invite you to engage in the debate. View

Towards a Zero Footprint Camp

Quite apart from cost, the energy dependence of the armed forces has an impact on operational effectiveness. Alliance operations involve an increasingly complex and costly logistical organisation. Transporting large quantities of fuel also creates risks to the safety of the soldiers. Reducing the energy footprint of operations is a priority. NATO and individual Allies are working on alternative energy sources and developing multinational ‘smart energy’ projects. View

Delegates Seek Innovative Solutions at Y8 and Y20 Summit

Policy Innovation e.V. and Atlantic Community collaborated in May 2013 for a Theme Week on the Y8 and Y20 summits that would take place in June. Through Atlantic Community members' commentary on the policy papers of the German Delegation to the Y8 and Y20, Atlantic Community had the unique ability to help shape the positions of the delegation. Policy Innovation's Press-Delegate Matthias Kaspers presents an overview of the experience and recommendations yielded by the summits. View

Call for Articles: Defining Global Norms on Drone Policy

In cooperation with the Politisch-Militärische Gesellschaft (pmg) e.V., Atlantic Community is launching its fifth Theme Week in 2013, addressing the international debate on whether we should, or how to, utilize drones for military purposes. We cordially invite you to submit your opinion on how the transatlantic partners can define globally recognizable norms for deploying drones in and outside of official war zones. View

More Time Needed to Set Up Legitimate Elections in Mali

In less than three weeks Mali is expected to hold elections, but major obstacles still lie in its path. While the situation in Mali is improving on a daily basis, the country still has a long way to go before any worthwhile elections can take place. The situation in northern Mali is uncertain, and ethnic tensions are a major threat even in the wake of the rebel ceasefire. The transatlantic community has to show flexibility in allowing Mali to postpone the upcoming elections in order to provide all logistical needs. View

Looking South: A New Direction for Transatlantic Relations

Transatlantic relations are in transition. Where once Europe dominated US concerns, Asia now occupies center stage. Moreover, the Obama administration’s increasing reluctance to lead in times of international crisis has forced Europeans to take on greater responsibility and independence in foreign policy. If they are to successfully confront future challenges, the transatlantic partners must reevaluate their alliance and bring it up to date with current global realities. View

Don't Miss the African Opportunities

There has been some warranted concern from the Atlantic Community about the involvement of China and others in Africa. Some Western countries are trying to tackle this issue and gain back lost stature and influence on the continent. This includes United States president Barack Obama, who met with African leaders from Cape Verde, Malawi, Senegal, and Sierra Leone in late March 2013. However, are they doing it right and are they doing enough? View Highlights: April

April saw the publication of two new Atlantic Community Memos, marking the culmination of the first two Theme Weeks of the year. These Theme Weeks resulted in some excellent and innovative policy ideas on how the transatlantic community should conduct policy in the Sahel and how they can better cooperate with Brazil. In addition, we have continued to publish articles on diverse topics ranging from NATO and North Korea to UNSC reform. View

Responding to "Security in the Sahel"

Dr. Thomas Bagger, Head of the Policy Planning Staff of Germany's Federal Foreign Office, has provided his feedback on Atlantic Community's Memo 43, "Security in the Sahel." In his response below, he acknowledges the quality of our members' contributions to the debate on this topic, and outlines his views on each of the policy recommendations outlined in the Atlantic Memo. We encourage you to respond to his feedback by commenting in the section below. View

Security in the Sahel: Regional Initiatives in Pursuit of Long-Term Stability

Memo 43: The Atlantic Community Theme Week on "Security in the Sahel" revealed that while members generally agree that military intervention in Mali was necessary, they view it as a short-term fix. It should now be seen as the first phase in a long-term commitment to regional development. To avoid the need for military intervention in the future, the transatlantic partners must support the states of the Sahel as a regional bloc in an effort to achieve long-term stability. View

A Month on Twitter: March

As we near our 3,000th follower on Twitter, is continuing to use our social media platforms to share interesting stories, promote newly published articles, and inform our followers about transatlantic events and opportunities. This month was filled with important events in transatlantic relations. March included Tweets about our Q&A on International Women's Day, the future of Afghanistan, and our Theme Week: Security in the Sahel. View Highlights: March

March has been an exciting month at We launched our first Theme Week on security in the Sahel region and made preparations for our second Theme Week on transatlantic relations with Brazil. On International Women's Day, we held a Q&A with NATO's Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security, Mari Skaare. In addition, we have published new articles on topics, such as drone policy and Afghanistan. View

Operation Serval: European NATO Members Must Do More

The French campaign in Mali has provided an interesting insight into the dynamics of NATO military engagement. It highlighted the shift in US military and security priorities toward the Pacific, but also an emerging trend of reluctance, on the part of several important European countries, to support the military initiatives of their European allies. As American attention shifts away from the European sphere, Europe must prepare to assume a larger share of NATO's security burden than it has done in the past. View

Draft Atlantic Memo: Security in the Sahel

Based on contributions to our Theme Week, held from March 11-18, the editorial team has produced a draft Atlantic Memo, outlining policy recommendations on "Security in the Sahel." The Theme Week authors are now working on producing a final draft, which will be sent to experts, including Thomas Bagger, Head of the Policy Planning Staff of Germany's Federal Foreign Office, for feedback. You can still participate, by providing your comments below. View

Combating Islamic Terrorism in the Sahel

The states of the Sahel alone are not strong enough to counter the current threat posed by Islamic terrorism to the region's security. However, in providing the necessary external support, the transatlantic community must take into account the context in which events are unfolding in the Sahel. It can aid the Sahel countries in their fight against terrorism by boosting their defense capabilities and helping them preserve local heritage, linguistic and cultural diversity, and eco-diversity. View

Supporting Security and Economic Development in the Sahel

The United States and the European Union have been implementing policies to address problems throughout the Sahel long before the Malian crisis began. The persisting security, political, economic, and humanitarian situations in the region and the increased presence of terrorist groups, however, demonstrate the need to improve their policies in the Sahel. View

Providing for Stability Through Education

While military intervention in Northern Mali is necessary in the short-term, in order to suffocate the operations of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), there is an argument for a longer-term strategy which should place greater emphasis on political and educational policies within African states. The long term stability and security of states such as Mali cannot be, and should not have to be, determined by the intervention of rapid response forces. View

A Fight Club Approach to Policy in the Sahel

The Sahel region is a narrow band that reaches across the widest part of Africa, from Eritrea and Sudan on one side, to Senegal and Mauritania on the other. However, to think of the Sahel as a coherent region is problematic. Instead, the transatlantic community should focus on developing an effective policy toward Africa as a whole, through effective communication, less reliance on military solutions, and a greater focus on utilizing the knowledge of experts. View

The Return of the Mercenary

The conflict in Mali is a symptom of a broader trend in international relations: The return of mercenaries. Originally hired by autocratic regimes in Africa and the Middle East to crack down on popular unrest, mercenaries can easily turn into rebel groups, spreading out to other countries and creating instability, as has happened in the Sahel. The transatlantic community has to react to this new threat by tightening legal regulations on mercenary activities. View

Winning the Peace in Mali: Long-term Approaches Needed

It is important that the transatlantic community shift its attention away from short-term military intervention toward achieving long-term stability. This requires both sides of the Atlantic to view adversities in Mali not as a national but as a regional conflict. They must focus their attention on strengthening the Malian military, establishing socio-economic programs, supporting the electoral process, and encouraging dialogue with all ethnicities. View

The Transatlantic Options for Mali: A Three-Step Approach

Mali is essential to the security of the Sahel; however, it faces internal strife from ethnical uprising and Islamic terrorists that are defying Bamako authorities. The transatlantic community should implement a strategy, which would deny logistics access to terrorist groups in the region, establish alliances with Sufi and Tuareg communities, and devise a socio-economic program. View

The Crisis in Mali: An Opportunity to Reevaluate Sahel Policy

Jihadist militants are still fighting on against the French-led intervention forces in Mali, but their dominance of the country's northern regions appears to be over. Slowly life is returning to normal in towns such as Timbuktu and Kidal. However, this has been only just the first phase of what will be a complex and prolonged task, to restore stability, security and socio-economic cohesion to the Malian north. And even that is just part of the wider challenge facing the Sahel. View

Security in the Sahel

Recent events in Mali have brought the world's attention to a group of states in Africa notable for their underdevelopment and poverty. This week, Atlantic Community will turn its attention to the Sahel zone, asking the question: How should the United States and Europe respond to threats to peace and security in the Sahel? We will publish articles on this topic throughout the week and invite you to share your thoughts by commenting and engaging in the debate. View

Does France Have a Responsibility to Remain in Mali?

In the second installment of's new Point of Contention feature, and in preparation for next week's Theme Week on Security in the Sahel, Atlantic Community members Paul Pryce and Tim Feller present their views on the following question: Does France have a responsibility to remain in Mali for the long-term? Get involved in the debate by commenting below and voting in our online poll. View

Securing the Sahel: a Role for NATO?

Paul Pryce writes in NATO Review that the Alliance must develop a new approach toward ensuring security in the Sahel. Though the intervention in Libya in 2011 was successful in bringing stability to the region in the short-term, intervention in the Sahel is not necessarily the right solution. Instead, a Special Representative for the Sahel should be appointed by the Secretary General and NATO should coordinate its efforts with other security actors in the region. View

Security in the Sahel: Call for Articles

The editors at would like to invite you to take part in our upcoming Theme Week, on transatlantic policy in Africa. Inspired by recent events in Mali, we are specifically looking for our members to submit Your Opinion articles on how the United States and Europe should react to threats to peace and security in the Sahel region of Africa. This article will provide you with some background on the topic and explain how you can get involved. View

Top Ten Issues on the Transatlantic Agenda

What issues do you think will prove important in transatlantic relations this year? In this article, the editorial team presents our top ten topics for 2013. We identify what we think the big issues for 2013 might be, as well as where potential for transatlantic and global cooperation might lie. These ten topics will form the inspiration for some of our theme weeks and competitions over the coming months, so make sure to let us know what interests you. View

About Face Needed in Canadian Approach to Mali Intervention

In 2008, Prime Minister Harper stated that ‘a robust military response' would be needed to solve some of the world's more complex problems. Four years later and Canada's experience in Afghanistan has eroded support for foreign military interventions. Global economic woes have become all-consuming, leaving Canada with a foreign/aid policy stripped of its ideological raison d'être. This is aptly illustrated in Canada's approach to Mali. View

NATO's Senior Defense Economist on Security Despite Austerity - Part 2

Adrian Kendry responds to member questions about NATO capabilities, specialization, and other aspects of smart defense. He also explains NATO’s commitment to energy efficiency and talks about resource wars and terrorist financing. View