21 episodes

Following the launch of the Atlantic Council's NATO 20/2020 essay volume, this podcast will explore the ideas presented in each of the 20 essays. Each episode features an essay's author/s in a discussion with guest interviewer Teri Schultz, to discuss their proposal in more detail and what it means for the future of the NATO Alliance.

NATO 20/2020: Twenty bold ideas for the Alliance after the 2020 US election NATO

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Following the launch of the Atlantic Council's NATO 20/2020 essay volume, this podcast will explore the ideas presented in each of the 20 essays. Each episode features an essay's author/s in a discussion with guest interviewer Teri Schultz, to discuss their proposal in more detail and what it means for the future of the NATO Alliance.

    Listen to Women

    Listen to Women

    United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) recognized the disproportionate impact of violent conflict on women and girls and the critical role that women play in peace and security processes. Passed in October 2000, UNSCR 1325 called for strategies to protect women and girls in conflict, and to engage women in all mechanisms, at all levels, and in all stages of conflict. 

    Today, the WPS Agenda is a legal and political framework for gender in international security that is based on four pillars for policy-making: prevention, protection, participation, and relief and recovery. Implementation is usually measured in each of these four pillars. The United Nations Security Council has passed nine additional resolutions since 2000, which have updated WPS’s concepts and definitions, and reinforced the continuing importance of UNSCR 1325. Together, these resolutions and an emerging set of global norms guide the work of security organizations like NATO, steering them toward gender equality and the promotion of women’s participation, protection, and equal rights under law.

    On this episode of the NATO 20/2020 podcast, Ms. Cori Lynne Fleser, a National Security Policy Analyst for Booz Allen Hamilton, joins to discuss ongoing efforts to implement the Women, Peace, and Security agenda, what progress has been made, and what challenges remain.

    Key Takeaways:

    0:00 Intro

    1:23 Teri summarizes the Security Council resolution 1325, what it is, when it was passed and reasons why it was created 

    2:36 Cori talks about where people thought we would be now after resolution 1325 was passed 21 years ago and where we are now 

    4:19 Cori talks about the progress has been made and what has changed since 2000 after the resolution 1325 was passed 

    6:56 Cori talks about security sector institutions and what Women, Peace and Security is advocating for especially in these institutions 

    9:14 Cori talks about the importance of having women in the decision making team of an institution and how they can help solve the problem for women in conflict and how Women, Peace and Security agenda helps 

    10:42 Cori explains if the implementation of awareness about women and the need of women on the institutional side has made any difference on women as the main victims of conflict

    13:25 Cori talks about how receptive the defense institutions are to the Women, Peace and Security agenda and what has changed in the past 21 years after the resolution 1325 

    16:07 Cori talks about how some people are beginning to understand the importance of having a more diverse team of both men and women and the rate of success of these kind of teams 

    17:21 Cori also talks about if the Trump administration was in support of Women, Peace and Security agenda or if it caused a setback in having diverse teams especially in the security institutions 

    19:36 Cori talks about why Trumps administration needed to focus more on Women, Peace and Security than the women's participation like it did

    21:24 Cori explains if the Afghanistan case is going to be one of the examples brought up as a semi failure with Women, Peace and Security agenda 

    24:29 Cori explains why there should be women leaders in the military in Afghanistan even is countries with high levels of gender equality don’t have women leaders in military 

    27:49 Cori also explains what NATO should do to have more women in high ranking positions as a role model 

    Shows Mentioned:


    Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation is the parent of Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., an American management and information technology consulting firm, headquartered in McLean, Virginia, in Greater Washington, D.C., with 80 other offices around the globe.

    Resolution 1325 urges all actors to increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in all United Nati

    • 31 min
    Digitalize the Enterprise

    Digitalize the Enterprise

    NATO is party to the turbulent birth of a new era, one that began when the use of computer power, algorithm sophistication, and very large data sets converged to make digital technology the defining feature of the coming decade. It affects almost every aspect of human endeavor, and it underpins the future of warfare and non-military competition among state and non-state actors vying for influence, markets, and power. For NATO to carry out its enduring mission to protect the populations, territories, and forces of allied states, it must reconcile conventional diplomatic and military power with data as a strategic capability. It needs a strategy for digitalization to compete and win the conflicts of tomorrow.


    Key Takeaways:

    0:00 Intro

    2:03 Jeffrey talks about where he thinks that the Alliance is falling short when it comes to digitalization and where it needs to change 

    4:48 Barry talks about what he means by digitalizing the Alliance and what it's not doing already that needs digitalization

    6:54 Barry also shares some examples of what China's military can do with digitalization that NATO's 30 militaries can't do

    9:07 Barry tries to simplify the example that he just shared of what China’s military can do with digitalization that NATO’S 30 militaries can’t do 

    9:54 Jeffrey explains in detail why digitization strategy and harnessing improved technologies for NATO actually gives it more awareness to make better decisions

    12:13 Barry explains why NATO needs to have strategies so as to make decisions quickly especially when in crisis 

    13:56 Jeffrey explains the difference between what they're talking about now and what he would describe as disruptive digitalization

    15:33 Jeffrey and Barry also explain if they have seen any improvement with the centers of excellence that are often in cooperation with the EU

    18:05 Jeffrey talks about game changer one, artificial intelligence and machine learning, how to integrate it to what NATO is doing and where it’s more useful 

    19:25 Jeffrey talks about game changer two, data factory and how NATO can be using it as a weapon and as information 

    20:33 Jeffrey talks about the game changer four, staff and culture and having the experts on staff to be able to sift through and make operational use of data and how it ties in to game changer two 

    22:15 Jeffrey also talks about why NATO needs to hire the younger generation too and the benefits that it gets from doing so 

    23:05 Jeffrey talks about game changer three, footprint and reach, what it means and why NATO needs to think about it 

    24:25 Jeffrey also explains how NATO can take advantage of a digitalization strategy so as to be closer to the action or countries that are not allies 

    24:58 Jeffrey also explain the game changer five, a new ish way of war and how he suggests it can be used in NATO 

    Shows Mentioned:


    Amazon.com, Inc. is an American multinational technology company based in Seattle, Washington, which focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence.

    Brick and mortar refers to a physical presence of an organization or business in a building or other structure. The term brick-and-mortar business is often used to refer to a company that possesses or leases retail shops, factory production facilities, or warehouses for its operations.


    The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is an American family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft that is intended to perform both air superiority and strike missions. It is also able to provide electronic warfare and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities.

    Sequoia Capital is an American venture capital firm. The firm is headquartered in Menlo Park, California and mainly focuses on the technology

    • 27 min
    Design a Digital Marshall Plan

    Design a Digital Marshall Plan

    The hard power of the United States and its NATO allies is a deterrent of last resort against very real military threats in Europe and well beyond it. But a growing concern is the creeping, quiet influence of China on democratic societies, especially with respect to critical 5G infrastructure under development across the world.  

    The transatlantic community is rightly concerned about the threat that Chinese investment in critical infrastructure poses to our nations. At NATO’s London Summit in December 2019, allied leaders for the first time recognized the challenges posed by China and the need for secure and resilient 5G communications systems. 

    As Representatives on the House Armed Services Committee, we have warned for years that Chinese investment leads to undue influence in democracies around the world, whether through political and economic leverage and subversion or technological espionage and trade secret theft. In other words, China isn’t selling—it’s buying. In response, the transatlantic community, led by the United States, needs to create a Digital Marshall Plan to secure its communications in a modern, free ecosystem. 


    Key Takeaways:
    0:00 Intro

    1:40 Ruben shares a little bit of an elevator pitch on how they came up with the idea to write their recommendation 

    3:47 Ruben talks about what it could mean to NATO allies if the Alliance agreed to come up with the Digital Marshall Plan

    7:19 Ruben explains how the Alliance could deal with allies that don’t want to ban Huawei in their countries and why they need to think about it

    8:58 Ruben shares some of the reasons why other allies are not investing in their own systems like China invested in Huawei 

    10:10 Ruben talks about the price that allies will have to pay when they decide to ban the use of Huawei products 

    11:27 Ruben talks about teaming the allies with vulnerable networks with ones with cutting edge to determine the risks of the fight of the Chinese 5G infrastructure and if it applies outside NATO

    13:19 Ruben explains how the idea of stronger allies working with the weaker allies work and the structure they would add on this for it to work 

    14:41 Ruben also explains how they are going to reinforce allies working together to discover their vulnerabilities in regards to Chinese technology without repeating things that have been done in the EU 

    16:29 Ruben also explains if they took into account that there have been some investment agreements signed with China when they were coming up with this recommendation 

    17:45 Ruben explains if he would agree with the threat to cut off information sharing with countries that continue to use Huawei technology because China could get the information

    18:50 Ruben talks about how their recommendation would mesh with the Alliance where the US was trying to get countries to sign on to a pledge not to use this kind of technology 

    19:45 Ruben shares if their recommendation is a question about money for it to go through and be accepted by other allies 

    21:19 Ruben talks about how frustrating it has been in a bipartisan way how slow Europe has been to see the threat from China, the potential leakage of information, seizure of information in a way the US does 

    22:36 Ruben talks about their moves of advancing their concept in the next Congress to try to get more attention for this idea, to push it forward and to present it to the European allies

    Shows Mentioned:


    Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. is a Chinese multinational technology company headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong. It designs, develops, and sells telecommunications equipment and consumer electronics. The company was founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei, a former Deputy Regimental Chief in the People's Liberation Army.

    Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, commonly known as Ericsson, is a Swedish multinational networkin

    • 24 min
    Revitalize NATO's Grand Strategy

    Revitalize NATO's Grand Strategy

    NATO needs “a grand strategy” that draws on “all the tools at its disposal—economic, political, diplomatic as well as military” to counter emerging security threats, NATO’s deputy supreme allied commander, General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, told the BBC months before he stepped down from his role in 2017.1 Three years later, the problem has gotten worse as a global pandemic challenges nearly every aspect of our societies, Russia has become even more belligerent, and China has emerged as a competitor in a number of areas. Allies still lack, but badly need, a grand strategy to address current and emerging challenges together. While all allies acknowledge this gap in theory, they see the development of a collective grand strategy as politically risky in practice.

    Key Takeaways:

    0:00 Intro

    2:23 Timo explains what NATO is doing now that does not qualify as a grand strategy to counter emerging security threats

    3:59 Timo also explains why their recommendation qualify as a blueprint for a grand strategy and if some of other recommendations chime with theirs 

    4:40 Ivanka also talks about the purpose of the recommendation that they wrote with Timo and the importance it would have on countering the emerging security threats

    6:51 Timo talks about if the secretary general would update the strategic concept and also talks about why it’s time to update it 

    9:25 Ivanka also explains how Wargaming and some of the other methods that she’s talking about help NATO come to decisions as allies are not confronting their political differences

    12:35 Timo explains how the Alliance to get allies, big or small, to not think first about their own national interest and things that make reaching conclusions at NATO difficult

    15:00 Timo and Ivanka talks about the importance of having an extra tool that helps in getting the right data to help in decision making in the Alliance

    19:13 Timo talks about looking at things that have a pretty slow timeline that you can have the time to add this extra layer of analysis, negotiation and compromising

    22:17 Timo explains how they would apply their recommendation and move military mobility as fast as it needs to be moved

    23:57 Ivanka talks about ways in which they used Wargaming and the potential courses of action and outcomes that might produce and why NATO needs to be better at defining strategic objectives

    26:13 Ivanka also talks about the objectives that NATO said it had in Ukraine that it achieved

    27:58 Timo and Ivanka talks about if NATO integrates the information of Wargaming into policy planning since it has been using Wargaming for years and why NATO should compete with China on high seas, maritime chokepoints, the Arctic and cyberspace

    33:34 Ivanka and Timo explain if the process in their recommendation will be adopted and adapted by the other NATO allies and why 

    35:46 Timo also explains why NATO doesn’t need to wait for a strategic concept to start using the kind of tools they are proposing

    Shows Mentioned:


    The National Defense Strategy (NDS) provides a clear road map for the Department of Defense to meet the challenges posed by a re-emergence of long-term strategic competition with China and Russia.

    The United States Department of Defense's Office of Net Assessment was created in 1973 by Richard Nixon to serve as the Pentagon's "internal think tank" that "looks 20 to 30 years into the military's future, often with the assistance of outside contractors, and produces reports on the results of its research".

    The 2014 Wales Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was a meeting of the heads of state and heads of government of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, held in Newport, Wales on 4 and 5 September 2014.

    The Crimean Peninsula, north of the Black Sea in Eastern Europe, was annexed by the Russian Federation between February and Marc

    • 37 min
    Set NATO's Sights on the High North

    Set NATO's Sights on the High North

    Sun Tzu, the Chinese military strategist from the sixth century BC, in his classic work The Art of War emphasized the importance of securing the “precipitous heights” before one’s adversary, due to the advantages elevated positions afforded a defending army. There is no “higher ground” on Earth than the Arctic. The Arctic is rapidly changing as it experiences climate change at a rate greater than twice the global average and polar sea ice recedes and thins.1 The first ice-free Arctic summer, under a high-emissions scenario, could occur as soon as 2042.2 These changes are resulting in increased human activity in the region as global actors explore opportunities to exploit its natural resources and strategic geographic location.

    Key Takeaways:

    0:00 Intro

    2:00 Jim talks about why he believes that NATO is not doing much in the Arctic as opposed to other parts 

    4:13 Marisol explains if the Alliance feels like it is behind in times when it comes to its presence in the Arctic and why it should be in the region 

    7:17 Marisol also explains what is hindering the Alliance from doing anything in the Arctic region and the challenges it faces 

    9:18 Jim explains why the strategy on China is being formulated but not a strategy on the Arctic, which is on the territory of NATO 

    13:14 Jim also talks about NATO increasing its attention in the Arctic now that the Russians started to move into the region and if the Alliance is late  

    16:29 Jim and Marisol talk about if it is more expensive for the US to move back to Iceland as compared to if they had stayed there and why they regret ever moving out of Iceland 

    21:09 Jim also talks about why NATO needs to move forward in terms of reaffirming the rules-based order in the Arctic and focus on deterrence

    24:02 Jim also explains if there’s a big appetite for moving into another multinational agreement between Russia and the US since it’s pulling out of agreements with Russia

    26:09 Marisol explains the purpose of their paper and how the Russian would feel if it were to be considered by NATO and what would be the consequences 

    29:21 Jim also talks about if the Secretary General of the Alliance support their recommendation and what he says about it 

    32:24 Marisol and Jim talk about China and it presence in the Arctic and how that will push NATO to also increase its presence there and why 

    34:56 Marisol also talks about the unique governance structure of Svalbard and why it could be an area of concern 

    Shows Mentioned:


    The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean, adjacent seas, and parts of Alaska, Canada, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden.

    As the White Paper makes clear, the Polar Silk Road essentially refers to the shipping routes comprising the Northeast Passage, Northwest Passage and Central Passage that cross the Arctic Circle and connects the three economic centers of North America, East Asia and Western Europe

    Crimea is a peninsula located on the northern coast of the Black Sea in Eastern Europe that is almost completely surrounded by both the Black Sea and the smaller Sea of Azov to the northeast. The status of Crimea is disputed.

    The NATO-Russia Council (NRC) was established as a mechanism for consultation, consensus-building, cooperation, joint decision and joint action. Within the NRC, the individual NATO member states and Russia have worked as equal partners on a wide spectrum of security issues of common interest.

    The Munich Security Conference is an annual conference on international security policy that has taken place in Munich, Bavaria since 1963. Former names are Wehrkundetagung and Münchner Konferenz für Sicherheitspolitik. It is the world's largest gathering of its kind.

    The South China Sea is a marginal sea of the Western

    • 37 min
    Put NATO Back in the Narrative

    Put NATO Back in the Narrative

    NATO is vitally important; but unless you work there, or at the Atlantic Council, you wouldn’t necessarily know that. For those who don’t work for NATO or follow it closely, the organization can seem like an indecipherable blob of bureaucracy and acronyms, a mysterious realm of complicated elite politics, or a major strain on national budgets. The Alliance has a strong and active presence on the European continent. But it has become a political punching bag for the Trump administration, and the misunderstandings about NATO, its mission, and its role in today’s world run deeper than campaign rally rhetoric. To secure its future, NATO must speak to its future—both in terms of its mission and its audience.


    Key Takeaways:

    0:00 Intro

    1:25 Bridget shares their elevator pitch on why they think that NATO needs to be back in the narrative

    4:05 Livia and Bridget talk about the dearth of information about the Alliance among people and why it needs to tell its story and not rely on others talking about it because it might be negative 

    6:16 Bridget talks about the SNL NATO Cafeteria Cold Open and how people would see the Alliance especially people who knew nothing about it

    7:53 Livia also talks how it was a missed opportunities to provide a more complete picture of NATO by the Secretary General Stoltenberg to correct President Trump on negative comments about the Alliance 

    9:47 Livia and Bridget also talk about the generational divide in their paper and why they think that NATO should learn how to communicate with people about its story 

    12:06 Livia explains why there is a need for the right information about the Alliance to the young generation 

    14:06 Livia also talks about why people now don’t see military focused public relations campaign as effective since it not the only method of security anymore

    15:02 Livia and Bridget explain why NATO should target more on people who are not NATO nerds as their audience to tell its story and learn the modern storytelling methods to use 

    17:29 Livia and Bridget also explains if NATO really needs to connect with those young audiences with no information about it and why

    20:12 Livia talks about the Alliance as being a proactive and adaptive organization as why it should target this audience as opposed to saying that the enemy idea gets people coalescing

    21:50 Bridget also talks about why NATO should change its headline of calm and say that it is not as calm as people think, and also the audience it should target 

    24:18 Livia explains if NATO should really be promoting itself as one of the leaders in managing climate change

    26:04 Bridget talks about if NATO deciding to make climate change a major security issue will draw in more young people

    28:19 Livia and Bridget explain if getting the story right and having different storytellers that draw in all kinds of different people to tell this story will work for the Alliance 

    31:34 Livia and Bridget talks about if the campaign to put NATO back in the narrative will serve all allies or if it only applies to the United States 

    34:29 Bridget and Livia share their thoughts if NATO has the creative bandwidth or people who think differently and agree to go ahead with their recommendation 

    35:50 Livia explains if NATO’s story will have resonance with generations that didn't have the Russians to fear

    37:17 Bridget also talks about more young people showing that they care about NATO’s issues when they have access to the information 

    Shows Mentioned:


    The 2019 London Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was the 30th formal meeting of the heads of state and heads of government of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It was held in The Grove, Watford, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, on 3 and 4 December 2019.  


    • 39 min

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