May 01, 2017

CNAS Launches New Transatlantic Security Program

CNAS today announced its new Transatlantic Security program, led by Julianne Smith, former National Security Advisor to Vice President Biden, who for the past three years directed CNAS’ Strategy and Statecraft Program. She will be joined by James Townsend, who served for eight years as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy, which capped a 34-year career in the Pentagon and at NATO.

Smith and Townsend, along with CNAS Research Associate Rachel Rizzo and Adjunct Fellow Jackie Ramos, will focus on reinvigorating one of the great accomplishments arising from the chaos of post–World War II Europe: the creation of a transatlantic community of nations and peoples. Together with institutions such as NATO and the EU, this community rebuilt Europe and won the Cold War, yet now struggles with not just new security threats but with an existential debate about its own existence.

Smith said the events over the last two years made it obvious why CNAS needed a program on Transatlantic Security, “The U.S. relationship with Europe has never been more important, and it has not been this complicated since World War II. The decisions we make now will have ramifications for decades to come. It is critical that CNAS provide concrete recommendations that help shape those decisions.”

CNAS CEO Michèle Flournoy agreed. “I have worked with Julie and Jim for years and there is no better duo to reenergize the critical policy debate about the nature of the transatlantic relationship, the future of the NATO alliance, and the kinds of investments the United States must make to shore up deterrence and reassure our allies in Europe. The importance of the transatlantic community to U.S. security and prosperity cannot be overstated, and CNAS looks forward to contributing bold, innovative policy recommendations to advance U.S. interests in this critical region.”

The program kicked off with podcasts featuring NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenbergand former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt. These podcasts are part of  “Brussels Sprouts,” a new series that discusses a broad range of topics that help define the transatlantic community and will include guests not only from the diplomatic and defense worlds but also from the arts, sciences, and entertainment.

The Transatlantic Security program will continue the successful series of CNAS tabletop exercises that have helped members of the community from inside and outside the government understand better the ramifications of conflict in Europe. Two reports (one soon to be released) chronicle the findings of those games, with more exercises to come.

You can follow the program on twitter: Smith at @Julie_C_Smith, Townsend at @jteurope, Rizzo at @RachelRizzo, and Ramos at @d_jackie_ramos. Also look out for the upcoming daily Europe update called “The Dish,” which will be available through an email subscription and Twitter. The team is also available for interviews. To arrange an interview, please contact Neal Urwitz at or 202-457-9409.


  • Neal Urwitz

    Former Director of External Relations

    Neal Urwitz is the former Director of External Relations at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). In that capacity, Mr. Urwitz was responsible for the organization’s ...