CSS Transatlantic Workshop

Active Engagement, Modern Defense, and Military Interventions

November 19, 2020

Marking ten years after adopting NATO’s Active Engagement, Modern Defense strategy, the workshop brought together experts, scholars, and policymakers to reflect on NATO’s relations with the great powers and its contribution to peace through collective security. Workshop participants discussed NATO’s relations with Russia and China, and the role the United States plays in the alliance. They also reflected on the costs and benefits of multilateral interventions, including joint training and exercises. The Fletcher School’s Center for Strategic Studies brought a unique data-driven perspective on the multilateral use of force, relying on the novel Military Intervention Project’s (MIP) database. MIP data highlights the differences between NATO versus non-NATO led military interventions in recent decades. This event served as a platform for dialogue on the nature and consequences of the multilateral use of force and its future trajectories.

Keynote Discussion: NATO Strategy Towards Persistent and New Challenges: 10 Years of “Active Engagement and Modern Defense”

10:00 – 11:00 am ET

Introductory address:

Rachel Kyte, Dean of the Fletcher School, Tufts University.


Manuel Muñiz, Secretary of State for Global Spain at the Spanish Foreign Ministry. Previously the Dean of the School of Global and Public Affairs at IE University and the Director of the Program on Transatlantic Relations at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. 

Jamie Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary General of NATO for Emerging Security Challenges 2010-2018.

NATO and the great powers: Members, Partners, Potential Adversaries

11:15 am – 12:30 pm ET

This roundtable reflected on the relations between the alliance and the great powers, including NATO members, partners, and potential adversaries. The discussion touched upon the relations between NATO and the United States, the European Union, Russia, and China in the past, present, and near future.

E.J. Herold, Executive Director of IISS–Americas, former NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment

NATO Capabilities: Burdensharing in the face of Great Power competition

Mary Sarotte, Kravis Distinguished Professor of Historical Studies at SAIS

The US, Russia, and Post-Cold War NATO Expansion, 1989-1999

Robert Bell, Distinguished Professor of the Practice at Georgia Tech and PhD Candidate at Fletcher

Top 10 Challenges on NATO for President-Elect Biden

Igor Istomin, Associate Professor, Department of Applied International Political

Analysis, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO); Senior Scholar, Davis Center, Harvard University

NATO as ‘the problem’: transatlantic alliance in the Russian perspective on the European security

Thomas Cavanna, Assistant Research Professor of Strategic Studies, Fletcher School

From the Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific? China’s rise and the resurgent temptation of a global NATO

NATO’s role in military interventions: Past, Present, and Future

12:45 – 2:00 pm ET

This roundtable highlighted the challenges and opportunities related to multilateral interventions and their implications for collective security. The discussion included the trends related to military interventions from the Military Interventions Dataset (CSS Fletcher), the importance of allied support, and the effect of multilateral interventions on intra-alliance relations, and lessons NATO learned from its past interventions for future military operations.

Monica Duffy Toft, Professor of International Politics at Fletcher School, CSS Director

MIP findings on the costs of military interventions with and without allied support

Karst Brandsma, U.S. Army Colonel, Director of Training and Exercises for US Army Europe and Africa, Fletcher PhD Candidate

NATO Convergence and Interoperability for Multilateral Action

Ariella Viehe, Head of Operations “B” – Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Global Coalition, on the NATO International Staff

NATO: Interventions in an Allied Context

Lydia Sizer, former Libya Desk Officer, U.S. Department of State, Fletcher PhD CandidateLessons for the Future from the 2011 Libya Intervention

READ CSS Transatlantic Workshop Policy Brief