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Your Ideas Your NATO

"Your Ideas, Your NATO" is an opportunity for students and young professionals to present their policy ideas for NATO's future. It is part of’s ongoing effort to empower young people in the transatlantic debate and develop collective solutions to important international issues.

Participants were asked to submit a short opinion article in one of our three categories of debate: transatlantic values and community, partnerships after the Arab Spring, and Smart Defense. For each category, authors of the five best contributions were brought together through interactive wikis and conference calls to refine their arguments and reach a consensus on policy recommendations. These online policy workshops resulted in three Atlantic Memos, one on each category topic.

The three first place winners presented their memos to Philip D. Murphy, the US Ambassador, and Christian Schmidt, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Defense, at our event in Berlin on May 21, 2012.

Click here for more information about the competition. 

Click here for the winners' presentations.

Also, read the feedback from US Ambassador Philip Murphy, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General Stefanie Babst, and other policy makers.

The competition was made possible by the generous contributions of NATO, the US Mission to Germany and the Heinrich Boell Foundation.

July 16, 2012 | Your Ideas, Your NATO: A Look Back This Article contains Flash-Video

Editorial Team: Our 2012 policy workshop competition featured many fantastic articles from our members, produced great Atlantic Memos and received enthusiastic feedback from decision makers! Editor-in-Chief Joerg Wolf takes a look back at the five months of “Your Ideas, Your NATO” in this new video. …More

June 5, 2012 | NATO Engagement with Arab Elites: A Critique of "The Dangers of Stability"

Alexander Corbeil: The Arab Spring presents an opportunity for the West to re-engage Arab polities and allow for democratic transition. For this to occur, Arab elites, the “kingmakers” in any transitional process, must be provided assurances that their interests will be respected, a crucial aspect of Memo 39. …More

May 26, 2012 | The Buzz about "Your Ideas, Your NATO"

Editorial Team: Our 2012 policy workshop competition has been a big success, generating a number of innovative policy recommendations and with an exciting event in Berlin coming up on May 21. The competition has also gotten plenty of recognition throughout the online foreign policy community. …More

May 25, 2012 | Keynote: A New Generation at "Your Ideas, Your NATO"

Philip Murphy: The US Ambassador to Germany spoke at’s event in Berlin about transparency for NATO in the 21st century, how the Atlantic Memo provides a “good solid policy report” on this important issue, and the value of youth engagement in transatlantic relations. …More

May 25, 2012 | Insights from the Next Generation: The Presentations

Editorial Team: At the culmination of’s policy workshop competition, the winners Stephanie Baulig, Geoffrey Levin, and Samuel Erickson discussed their team’s policy recommendations with Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Defense Christian Schmidt and US Ambassador Philip D. Murphy. …More

May 22, 2012 | Moving Forward with Smart Defense

Editorial Team: The many good ideas from non-shortlisted authors in the third category of our “Your Ideas, Your NATO” competition have been brought together in this article. A recurring theme was the need for NATO to more precisely define its and the Members’ roles in order for Smart Defense to be implemented successfully. …More

May 22, 2012 | Responding to "Your Ideas, Your NATO"

Stefanie Babst: NATO’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy appeared at’s policy debate in Berlin yesterday via video, offering her reaction to the three Atlantic Memos from the policy workshop competition. …More

May 16, 2012 | Defining Partnerships: Why the "Stability" Critique is Flawed

Josiah Jason Surface: Stability is a desirable outcome for all parties in the Mediterranean Dialogue. This does not mean returning to the failed policies of the past; our Atlantic Memo is rather a roadmap for maintaining a commitment to the burgeoning democratic institutions of the region. …More

May 16, 2012 | The Dangers of "Stability": A Rebuttal to Atlantic Memo 39

Andrea Teti: Western governments need to recognize that authoritarian regimes are often fierce but not strong; that privatization is rarely the road to liberalization, much less democratization; and that Islamism was as wrong-footed by the uprisings as they were. …More

May 14, 2012 | Responding to the Arab Spring: NATO and Its Partners

Editorial Team: The additional articles from the second category of “Your Ideas, Your NATO” have been merged into a single “Your Opinion” piece. A recurring theme was that NATO must build civil-military relations and an intercultural youth dialogue, as well as undertake good governance and rule of law initiatives in order to support the long-term transition process underway in partner countries. …More

May 1, 2012 | Policy Makers Respond to "Your Ideas, Your NATO"

Editorial Team: The Canadian Defense Minister, members of the Canadian and Norwegian assemblies and a Policy Advisor for the Dutch House of Representatives have responded to the memos from our policy workshop! Read on to find out which proposals they support and see policy influence in action. …More

April 27, 2012 | Canadian Senator Responds to Atlantic Memo 38

Percy Downe: Vice Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Senate of Canada, Percy Downe, offers his response to our Atlantic Memo about NATO values and community. He agrees with the recommendations that NATO must reemphasize the benefits of alliance, bring soldiers together in a multinational environment, and broaden the scope of cyber-security. …More

April 27, 2012 | Dutch Parliamentary Advisor Responds to Atlantic Memo 38

Bert van Steeg: Policy Advisor on Foreign Affairs and Development Aid for the Christian Democratic Party (CDA) in the Dutch House of Representatives, Bert Steeg, offers his response to our Atlantic Memo about NATO values and community. He says the memo’s goal of strengthening unity is one the CDA “endorses wholeheartedly.” …More

April 27, 2012 | Building Community: How to Reinvigorate NATO's Mission

Editorial Team: The “Your Ideas, Your NATO” policy workshop competition produced many ideas. In particular, NATO must do much more to create unity amongst its Members. To ensure an enduring bond, the Alliance must build comprehensive ties with civil society in order to accentuate NATO’s economic benefits for its Members. …More

April 25, 2012 | Your Ideas, Your NATO: Insights from the Next Generation

Editorial Team: You are cordially invited to a discussion in Berlin between Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Defense Christian Schmidt, US Ambassador Philip D. Murphy, and the winners of our policy workshop competition. The dialogue will focus on unity in the Alliance, NATO’s partnerships after the Arab Spring, and Smart Defense. …More

April 23, 2012 | Your Ideas, Your NATO: Smart Defense - The Winners

Editorial Team: is happy to announce the winners of Category 3 of our policy workshop competition. Samuel Eamon Erickson is our first place winner and will present the Atlantic Memo to decision makers at our event in May. Bram Peter De Ridder is our second place winner. …More

April 23, 2012 | Get "Smart": Paving the Way to a More Efficient Alliance

Memo 40: NATO’s Smart Defense initiative aims to provide more security for less money. The Alliance can reach this goal by facilitating more cooperation, providing efficiency mechanisms, encouraging cooperation amongst like-minded states, and including non-NATO actors. …More

April 20, 2012 | How to Move Forward with Smart Defense

Editorial Team: The third and last category of our “Your Ideas, Your NATO” policy competition dealt with how to encourage NATO Members to invest in Smart Defense. While five articles have already been shortlisted, we wanted to highlight the other high quality submissions and policy ideas. …More

April 13, 2012 | Your Ideas, Your NATO: Smart Defense

Editorial Team: In the third theme week from our policy workshop, we focus on NATO and Smart Defense. How might NATO encourage nations, concerned about diminished sovereignty, to invest in Smart Defense? What mechanisms would make this kind of cooperation efficient and effective? Read our young writers’ top ideas! …More

April 13, 2012 | NATO's Smart Sales: Smart Defense as a Product

Samuel Eamon Erickson: Successfully encouraging NATO Members to buy into the Smart Defense project requires proactive efforts to ensure a fair, efficient, and fiscally beneficial product. NATO must then focus on packaging this product in a convincing way. …More

April 12, 2012 | Smart Defense through Smart Strategy: The Need for a "Best Deal" Policy

Bram Peter De Ridder: As military integration traditionally has been a sensitive area, Smart Defense will be difficult to enforce. NATO’s best option might be relying on the laws of supply and demand to help meet the need for more efficient defense spending. …More

April 11, 2012 | NATO and Russia Need the "Smarts" to Cooperate

Dmitry Stefanovich: Military and technical cooperation with Russia would allow NATO to increase the efficiency of their Smart Defense initiative. A closer look at the areas of cooperation between NATO and Russia reveal they are ideally suited to being part of the Smart Defense concept.

April 10, 2012 | Solidarity and Sovereignty: A Blueprint for Smart Defense

Moritz Poellath: Only a true and legally secure agreement will make Smart Defense work and sustain NATO as the unique and successful provider of security for the coming decades. Clearly set rules for cooperation in a NATO framework would solve the delicate issues of sovereignty and solidarity. …More

April 9, 2012 | Specialization: Creating a Comparative (Defense) Advantage

Max Smeets: Smart Defense needs a framework that aims to mitigate the negative aspects of specialization that impose upon state sovereignty. In the context of Smart Defense, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Setting up NATO Pioneer Groups (NPG) is the way forward. …More

April 8, 2012 | Smart Defense through Strategic Dialogue

Scott Michael Moore: The key to a successful Smart Defense strategy is strong leadership in order to address Member concerns. The Strategic Defense initiative will need a more coherent framework than the current ad hoc arrangements while also allowing for diverse Smart Defense groupings. …More

April 8, 2012 | On the Path to Smart Defense

Emine Akcadag: The United States should encourage its allies to invest in Smart Defense by strategically cutting NATO military expenditure so that European NATO members shoulder more of the brunt by investing in Smart Defense. Public opinion must also support this and can be mobilized. …More

April 8, 2012 | Spending Together, Saving Together

Dirk Siebels: In essence, ‘smart defense‘ is a euphemism, describing the need to achieve ‘greater security for less money‘ as defense budgets are under pressure in almost all NATO member states. Joint spending and common ownership, however, would indeed help NATO and its members to get more. …More

April 8, 2012 | Smart Defense with Full Sovereignty

Aaron Menenberg: History is rife with examples of successful multilateral defense efforts that required no loss of individual national sovereignty. Those deeply protective of sovereignty, like myself, need not be concerned about Smart Defense. …More

April 8, 2012 | Realizing Smart Defense - Investing in a New Generation of Leadership

Sarah Wagner: In order to ensure the successful implementation and sustainability of Smart Defense policies, NATO needs to focus its attention on the next generation of leaders and officials and invest in their training and cooperation. …More

April 8, 2012 | Getting Smart: Foresight, Scalability and Learning

Costinel Anuta: Smart Defense should not envision only joining resources, or jointly developing critical capabilities. A Smart Defense approach needs to be built on foresight, scalability, as well as a sound lessons-learned mechanism in order to be truly smart. …More

April 8, 2012 | A New Era for Strategic Issues: For the Creation of a Smart Defense Agency

Thomas Brisson: Smart Defense is about sharing capabilities and coordinating strategies inside NATO. A structured and institutionalized cooperation as the Smart Defense Agency is the only way for it to be efficient, while safeguarding national sovereignty. …More

April 8, 2012 | Making Smart Defense Matter for Idling NATO Members

Nico Segers: Authoritative impact analysis and threat resilience studies carried out by scientific boards may sway idling NATO members to recognize the dire need to step up investments. The most important investments would come in areas that cover imminent and multilevel defense and security issues. …More

April 8, 2012 | "Smart Defense": Cutting Bureaucracy

Michelle Shevin-Coetzee: The first step to in building up “Smart Defense” is to cut back on the NATO “in country” bureaucracy. Bureaucratic bloat hinders NATO’s operations. The creation of a more unified command structure is the first step in making the Smart Defense initiative a success.

April 8, 2012 | Smart Defense Op-Ed: Optimizing and Coordinating NATO's Defense Capacity

Andrew Windsor: NATO’s Smart Defense initiative has the potential to restructure NATO in a sustainable way. This article illustrates two main focal points to maximize efficiency returns; refocusing standing NATO forces and a larger leadership role in coordinating defense efforts of member states.

April 8, 2012 | Spend Better, Move Faster, Punch Harder.

Camlo Kalandra: NATO must seek to cut costs and increase sovereignty sharing through new mechanisms to remain relevant to the global struggle for joint security and peace. The first step is that each state adopts a national specialization for a specific security priority which would be overseen by a Oversight Committee. …More

April 8, 2012 | Smart Defense: NATO's 21st Century Trident

Yasmin Jeanice Mattox: In order to turn reticent support into bold action, Smart Defense must be an attractive political option for NATO members. I advocate a three-pronged approach that makes Smart Defense palatable by making it a practical and effective strategy from which NATO can achieve its security objectives. …More

April 8, 2012 | NATOnalizing Equipment, a Small Reform with a Vast Impact

Igor Leonidovic Fayler: Specialization within NATO will become more viable and sustainable if capabilities are converted into NATO-wide organizational equipment which would comprise of hardware, including armaments, and software such as communication and organization equipment. This will enhance interoperability and make Smart Defense a success. …More

April 8, 2012 | NATO: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a Smarter Defense

Ashley Ann Clayton Hess: In order to successfully implement NATO’s Smart Defense policy, the alliance must create a new high-ranking position and implement a sustained public relations campaign to encourage continued support of NATO’s Smart Defense reorientation. …More

April 8, 2012 | Democratic Legitimacy and Effective Sharing, the Key for Smart Defense

Jonathan Dowdall: Smart Defense cannot succeed with good PR alone. Diminishing military sovereignty in Smart Defense must be accepted by NATO. Real democratic debate and focus on existing “best practice” mechanisms is needed. …More

April 8, 2012 | Implementing the Smart Defense Initiative in a Smart Way

Dumitru Minzarari: In order for Smart Defense to be successful, then NATO must first confront the many difficulties of enacting such a policy. The only way to address these challenges is to gradually introduce the concept of Smart Defense while at the same time making it flexible enough for all participants. …More

April 8, 2012 | Implementing Smart defense: Cost-Effective Solutions Beyond the Taboos

Alice Pannier: Pooling and sharing defense equipment has become a strategic necessity for NATO members and especially European countries. Limited cooperation among two or three partners is the most flexible and efficient solution, but it requires careful coordination and the breaking of political taboos. …More

April 8, 2012 | Incremental Intelligence Sharing for a Smarter Defense

Francesc Pont: No twenty-first century defensive strategy should be deemed complete and truly comprehensive unless a further hitherto purely national element is included in the transnational mix pursued by NATO: incremental intelligence sharing between member states should be the icing on the contemporary security cake. …More

April 8, 2012 | NATO Smart Defense: The "Community Approach"

Iliana Panayotova: NATO shall seek a strategic partnership with the EU for the implementation of the smart defense concept on a “community level”. On a national level, the Alliance should enforce the bilateral dialogues with its members and assist them in adopting multilateral and bilateral approaches.

April 8, 2012 | Smart Defense: A Necessary "Bottom-Up" Approach

Jérémy Thirion: NATO should shift from a top-down approach to a “bottom-up” approach: a less centralized NATO, letting its Member States cooperate under its umbrella but with more flexibility. Such approach, allowing Member States to work on a regional or topic basis could be more motivating and satisfactory.

April 8, 2012 | Atlantic Security Must Get Smart or (It Will) Get Scattered

José Alberto da Silva Almada e Alves Guimarães: Smart Defense not only demands strong political will, but cooperation. To achieve this, NATO must liberalize the European Defense Market, make the EU package of directives pertaining to military goods better assist medium-sized enterprises, as well as utilize the Permanent Structured Cooperation and Smart Defense-related initiatives. …More

April 8, 2012 | Smart Defense and Venal Interests

Dmitry Lifatov: NATO has never been an exclusively military organization. But its pretension to playing a political role has also never been particularly appealing to the European NATO members. In this vein, Smart Defense is just another attempt to make the EU a convenient tool for American foreign policy. …More

April 8, 2012 | Fostering Real NATO-EU Cooperation through an EU Structural Defense Fund

Georgi Ivanov: Creating an EU Structural Defense Fund is the key to NATO’s Smart Defense initiative. This will ease the fiscal commitment for NATO to do more with less, while providing states with the incentive to spend more on defense without meeting their 2 percent of GDP obligations. …More

April 8, 2012 | Smart Defense Success Starts with Common Goals

Tabish Shah: NATO’s Smart Defense initiative requires more than simply technological projects. The success of Smart Defense relies on NATO finding common strategic goals before Members are willing to come together and pool and share their military resources.

April 8, 2012 | Smart Defense: NATO's Reach Should Not Exceed Its Grasp

Zachary B. Toal: In order for Smart Defense to work, NATO member states need to be agree on a new purpose for NATO in the future. NATO members will not concede their monopoly of use of force if they cannot agree on when to use shared capabilities.

April 8, 2012 | Smart Defense: Define Threats, Adjust Capabilities, Acknowledge Dependence

Moritz Sebastian Eckert: While NATO’s capabilities are increasing in quantity, quality and efficiency, its threat recognition is both outdated and laggard. As the cornerstone of a successful defense, threat recognition determines the benchmarks for national armies and thus requires immediate attention. …More

April 3, 2012 | Your Ideas, Your NATO: Partnerships after the Arab Spring - The Winners

Editorial Team: is happy to announce the winners of Category 2 of our policy workshop competition. Geoffrey Levin is our first place winner and will present the Atlantic Memo to decision makers at our event in May. Vivien Pertusot is our second place winner. …More

April 3, 2012 | Partners in Democracy, Partners in Security: NATO and the Arab Spring

Memo 39: New challenges require new partnerships. NATO must reach out to countries in North Africa by restructuring the Mediterranean Dialogue and partnering with other institutional actors to offer comprehensive assistance aimed at building democratic institutions. …More

March 30, 2012 | How to Improve NATO Partnerships after the Arab Spring

Editorial Team: The second theme week of our “Your Ideas, Your NATO” policy competition focused how NATO should support regional transition after the Arab Spring. Five articles were shortlisted. However, we wanted to highlight the other high quality submissions. …More

March 23, 2012 | NATO and the Arab Spring: Democracy Promotion and Security Sector Reform

Alexander Corbeil: Given NATO’s linkages to Arab states through the Mediterranean Dialogue, the Alliance should actively support the transition to democracy in post-Arab Spring countries by utilizing its various resources in the realms of institutional creation, democracy promotion, and security sector reform. …More

March 22, 2012 | NATO and the OSCE: Joining Forces to Support the Arab Spring

Gillian Kennedy: NATO should seek to encourage a stronger collaborative relationship with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The OSCE has experience with a number of democracy-building options that are outside NATO’s expertise, but key to a stronger relationship with states caught up in the Arab Spring. …More

March 21, 2012 | Mare Nostrum: Building a Stronger Mediterranean Dialogue

Josiah Jason Surface: NATO must take concrete steps to strengthen its partnership framework with North Africa. Inviting Libya to join, expanding the topics covered, and tying the dialogue to discussions with the Arab League will help strengthen the Mediterranean community and the ties of partnership. …More

March 20, 2012 | Partnerships Should Be Incentivized

Vivien Pertusot: NATO’s leverage in the Arab world is limited, and the Arab uprisings illustrated it. Transition and reform processes will leave little room for NATO. Its only options are to better clarify its expectations, to listen more, and to cooperate with other actors to offer multifaceted cooperation packages. …More

March 19, 2012 | Endowing the Arab Spring Generation with the Skills to Govern

Geoffrey Phillip Levin: To foster both regional stability and a positive working relationship with the young generation that initiated the Arab Spring, NATO should establish a program that trains young Arabs who desire to work in the security and public sectors. Such a program could set the groundwork for greater cooperation. …More

March 19, 2012 | Your Ideas, Your NATO: Partnerships after the Arab Spring

Editorial Team: In the second theme week from our current policy workshop, we focus on NATO’s partnerships in North Africa and the Middle East. How can NATO best interact with the new governments forming in the wake of the Arab Spring and what should its role be in furthering security in the region? Read our young writers’ top ideas! …More

March 18, 2012 | NATO's Response to the Arab Spring: A New Public Diplomacy Approach

Arik Segal: The Arab Spring has introduced a new actor to Middle Eastern foreign policies: the people. NATO should recognize this change and design a new public diplomacy approach that will aim to understand the new liberated nations and increase engagement with them.

March 18, 2012 | Youth Intercultural Diplomacy: A Promising Initiative for Change

Yasmin Jeanice Mattox: NATO should encourage new intercultural youth dialogues that focus on intercultural understanding and encourage transnational unity. By increasing intercultural appreciation, these dialogues could minimize and even disincentivize future military and diplomatic issues. …More

March 18, 2012 | NATO's Most Powerful Tool: Turkey

Emine Deniz: Turkey is the key component for sustainable relationships between NATO and the Middle East and North Africa. As a NATO member, Turkey represents a military and economic bridge between the West and MENA. NATO must utilize Turkey’s connections to improve the Alliance’s relations with the region.

March 18, 2012 | NATO, Turkey and the Arab Spring

Gökhan Tekir: The transition period to democracy for Arab countries that experienced revolutions may beget more turmoil and civil wars. The involvement of NATO highlights the fact that Turkey has a role to help these countries set the course for stable democracies and solid economies.

March 18, 2012 | NATO's Chance: Cultural Education for Strengthening Military Cooperation

Giulia Clericetti: NATO has a chance of enhancing its cooperation in MENA, but it has to confine it to the military/strategic field, without any democratic rhetoric, and change its air of superiority to a cooperation on an equal footing that minds about the difference of cultural languages.

March 18, 2012 | NATO's Future Role: Promoting Transatlantic Values

Karsten M. Jung: Sixty years after its foundation, the aspirations of the Arab Spring show that NATO’s values are as relevant as they have ever been. Events in the Middle East also indicate, however, that the Alliance’s role in their pursuit has to change from merely defending to actively promoting these values. …More

March 18, 2012 | Building on the Mediterranean Dialogue and Social Media

Elizabeth Mallia: The Mediterranean Dialogue’s aspect of soft power is one of the greatest strength’s of NATO initiative. NATO should use this soft power in tandem with social media to promote NATO’s values and agenda in the region.

March 18, 2012 | Rule of Law: Foundations for Governments New and Old

Robert James Hurd: As developing nations seek to improve their status at home and abroad, the focus must be on improve the Rule of Law, NATO ought to use its members’ expertise and experience to support efforts in developing nations to establish a Rule of Law in order to support long-term partnerships and stability. …More

March 18, 2012 | Growing Security: Long-Term Approach to Security and Democracy

Lukas Hoder: As the experiences in East and Central European countries show, the transformation from autocratic regime to democratic government is a slow and hard process. We should be patient with the new democratic governments forming in wake of the Arab Spring. …More

March 18, 2012 | Partnerships for Liberal Democracy: Carrots for Political Reform

Nicholas Ryan Balthrop: To maintain its relevance, NATO must approach the dynamic situation across the Mediterranean with a radical expansion and redevelopment of NATO priorities; a two-tiered system involving engagement and “carrots” is essential for the future of NATO relations across the Mediterranean and beyond. …More

March 18, 2012 | States and Identities: Sprouting Stability from the Spring

Philip James Duffy: NATO needs a radical new approach to the Middle East. This approach would involve a recognition of the self-determination for all people in the region and not just a few. The events in the region are but a transitional period, in which NATO must support true democratic nation-states in the region. …More

March 18, 2012 | The Arab Spring Narrative: Separating Fact from Fiction

David Vielhaber: The Arab Spring narrative of a democratic transformation in the Middle East and North Africa is wrong. The result of the political upheavals is regression, not progression. NATO needs to come to terms with reality for the alliance to find the right approach in the post ‘Arab Spring’ environment. …More

March 18, 2012 | Four Misinterpretations and Ten Recommendations After The Arab Spring

Gautier Uchiyama: About one year after the Arab Spring, North Africa is living its first steps toward democracy and the rule of law. But there is fourth common misinterpretation or misconception about the last spring riots that must be corrected.

March 18, 2012 | How NATO Can Contribute to Regional Stabilization in the Middle East

Dmitriy Burov: The 2011 Arab spring engendered a hotbed of instability in the region. NATO, as an effective political organization, has huge potential for bringing peace and order to the Middle East and North Africa through initiating a number of the steps listed below.

March 18, 2012 | Civil-Military Relations: NATO Support for MD Partner Countries

Karen Joy Harriger : In order for NATO to support the transition process in its Mediterranean Dialogue partner countries, its methods must focus on both encouraging the development of civil-military governments and ensuring that these governments grow in strength over time. …More

March 18, 2012 | Fostering Democratic Civil-Military Relations in the Middle East

Julian Christopher Fuchs: For its future Middle East strategy, NATO needs to work together with the Arab militaries as the most decisive and responsive actors in the (post-) revolutionary setting and employ a policy of effective conditionality, thus facilitating a lasting democratic transition and stability. …More

March 18, 2012 | Beyond Libya: The Arab Spring and NATO

Sarah Wagner: Although the Arab Spring seems to demand engagement by NATO, this should not occur unless NATO has sufficiently analyzed its involvement in Afghanistan, the demands and realities on the Arab ground, and its opportunities for support. Such an approach could result in more lasting support for NATO. …More

March 18, 2012 | The Mediterranean Treaty Organization

Danilo Pennisi: Today, security for Europe is defense from international terrorism, weapons and drug traffic. Because North African states are gateways for these threats, we should push to create a sort of military alliance with North African states in order to make security more inclusive.

March 18, 2012 | Education, Democracy, Future Leaders

Isabelle Natalie Siqu Summerson: NATO should establish an online education and skills training program aimed at young people in order to reduce inequality in regional partner countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The ability to reach young people important if we are to connect with the next generation of leaders.

March 18, 2012 | Mediterranean Dialogue, Critical Test: A NATO DDR-SSR Framework for Libya

Costinel Anuta: Even though the title seems paradoxical, since Libya is not (yet) a member of the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD), a successful aftermath of the Operation Unified Protector is the key for the MD future. Failure in Libya would hurt NATO“s agenda in the entire region. …More

March 18, 2012 | Economic Ties with the Arab Spring

Keri Elise Majikes: Arguing that NATO should selflessly help the Arab world transition to democratic governments through political or military programs is not only unrealistic, it’s unsustainable. Instead of trying to encourage altruistic programs to artificially create a democratic environment, NATO should focus …More

March 18, 2012 | Let Peace Flow Like Water

David Krantz: Wars have been fought over oil, but the path to long-term sustainable peace in new and developing democracies may be through cross-border cooperation on a different natural resource. The next big struggle could be over the most essential of things: water. …More

March 18, 2012 | Let NATO Surprise the Arab Street!

Zbigniew Grzegorz Rokita: The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation does not present an attractive civilisational model for the Arab public. What we mainly need to do is to let them start liking us: the only way to achieve it is to recognise their needs. In doing, we will be able to create lasting partnerships between our people. …More

March 18, 2012 | Diplomatic Expansion: A Smart Choice for NATO

Sarah Schill: Diplomacy is the first line of defense in an interconnected world. NATO should substantially increase its diplomatic presence in Mediterranean Dialogue partner countries. The situation calls for a diplomatic presence that goes beyond what is normally required. …More

March 14, 2012 | Your Ideas, Your NATO: Values and Community - The Winners

Editorial Team: is happy to announce the winners of Category 1 of our policy workshop competition. Stephanie Baulig is our first place winner and will present the Atlantic Memo to decision makers at our event in May. Andrew Barr is our second place winner. …More

March 13, 2012 | One NATO: Strengthening Unity through Transparency and Engagement

Memo 38: To encourage ownership and identification among its Member states and their publics, NATO should become more transparent and support stronger engagement between citizens. It can accomplish this by better defining Member contributions, making its internal processes more open, and initiating participatory programs like military exchanges and a cyber awareness campaign. …More

March 7, 2012 | How to Increase Identification with NATO

Editorial Team: The first theme week of our “Your Ideas, Your NATO” policy competition dealt with how to build NATO values and community. While five articles have already been shortlisted, we wanted to highlight the other high quality submissions and policy ideas. …More

March 2, 2012 | NATO and Corporate Social Responsibility

Costinel Anuta: Communication with the allied publics is no longer enough. A shift toward communion is needed, and communion is firstly about involvement. Therefore, by adopting and implementing a concept like the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), NATO could turn “they” into “we”. …More

March 1, 2012 | Sharing Values and Saving Money Through Citizen Ownership

Megan Ann Reiss: Through developing a strategic advertising campaign, NATO can instill ownership among its citizens and assure a strong future for the alliance. NATO must remind them of their shared values, advocate for diplomatic influence in decision making, and highlight the economic value of the organization. …More

February 29, 2012 | NATO Academies: Learning Together, Training Together, Feeling Together

Stephanie Theresa Baulig: In order to promote NATO values there should be a mandatory experience for all soldiers in a NATO academy, including language programs to foster understanding. If we start this now among the next generation of military leaders, we can begin building our common identity today. …More

February 28, 2012 | NATO's Public Diplomacy Overload

Daryl Morini: Today’s NATO suffers from a public diplomacy overload rather than an image problem. Far from being a panacea to its democratic deficit, the dominant influence of public diplomacy strategies and their advocates on Allied decision-making is arguably part of the problem. …More

February 27, 2012 | By the Numbers: How Quantifying State Action Can Lead to a Better NATO

Andrew Barr: Quantifying state involvement in NATO through the establishment of a “points system” is a necessary step towards quelling the discord from ambiguities in measuring participation. In addition, military, civilian and academic exchanges will augment a sense of community within NATO. …More

February 27, 2012 | Your Ideas, Your NATO: Values and Community

Editorial Team: In the first theme week from our current policy workshop, we focus on building the feeling of community among NATO members and increasing identification with this “unique community of values.” How does NATO need to change to better connect with its publics? Read the top ideas from our young writers! …More

February 26, 2012 | Establishing a Unified NATO: The Case for Georgia

Ian Clarke Hansen: The best way to promote a communal NATO is to provide a meaningful purpose that draws upon transnational concerns and interests. The clearest and most deserving case for this is establishing a timeline of admittance for the Republic of Georgia. …More

February 26, 2012 | Tailored Multilevel Approach to Community Building

Jelena Petrovic: NATO can Increase its cohesion by using a multilevel approach to building its community. They should focus on a common denominator of threat, investment in wide institutions, and bringing the NATO organization closer to its Member States’ peoples. …More

February 26, 2012 | Improving Public Opinion of NATO in Russia

S Williams: In order to improve its public approval in Russia, NATO must analyze anti-NATO sentiment, specifically amongst youths, and identify possible methods of remediation. …More

February 26, 2012 | Operation Unified Protector: A New Division of Labor

Anita Rebecca Sundarajan: A new division of labor as seen in Operation Unified Protector will allow the alliance to take on increased responsibilities in the peacekeeping arena because the U.S. is no longer forced to assume the majority of the risks, costs, and burdens associated with wars of choice. …More

February 26, 2012 | Kazakhstan and Transatlantic Powers: True Cooperation for Mutual Benefit

Aliya Beisenbekovna Mussabekova: Kazakhstan and NATO need a more profound exchange of values and ideas. This is importannt today because the generation of young people who had never lived under Soviet rule has already grown up. The first challenge we should address is the information barrier. …More

February 26, 2012 | Refocusing On NATO's Values Is Essential For Collective Security

Milda Leonaviciute: The ambition to reset relations with Russia is made by a NATO administration that has forgotten its values. There is increased disunity among NATO members, and NATO needs to demonstrate it will protect and cooperate with its own people, particularly in the Baltic states. …More

February 26, 2012 | Saving Our Normative Community: NATO's Public Diplomacy and Beyond

Hristijan Ivanovski: While recent initiatives of GenSec Anders Fogh Rasmussen and his team have brought about highly demanded leadership action, they have done little to “sell” the Atlantic values more widely and regenerate the fabric of the transatlantic community. Steps are required beyond public diplomacy. …More

February 26, 2012 | Remembering NATO's Democratic Values

René van Eijk: In order to restore the relationship between the public and NATO, politicians of the member states should communicate to their citizens the continuous relevance of NATO by pointing out the original purpose of the organization and the new threats that lie ahead in the 21st century. …More

February 26, 2012 | You Have a Friend Request: NATO

Richmond Paul Blake: To restore transatlantic trust and to build institutional confidence, NATO must launch a bold social media-focused public diplomacy campaign to reach member state populations, not just diplomatic elites. …More

February 26, 2012 | Who are we in NATO?

Aleksandr Blagin: NATO is one of the most powerful organizations in the world and a big family for many nations. But there are internal problems of identification too that could be resolved through closer cooperation , better media representation, and a new common image. …More

February 26, 2012 | Improving NATO by Rethinking Collective Defense

Ian Andrews: To alleviate its internal discord, NATO must refocus its priorities on security issues that are inherently collective instead of pursuing collective security for its own sake. In this piece, humanitarian aid missions and extended deterrence are used as two supporting examples. …More

February 26, 2012 | Reuniting NATO: Revisiting Shared Values

Robert James Hurd: NATO should rejuvenate a fraying alliance dominated by language of “they” rather than “we,” by spreading the burden out, bringing new ideas in, and helping the developing world advance. …More

February 26, 2012 | European Identity vs. USA Superiority

Nargiz Guliyeva: The US global security perspective is competing with the European domestic security vision. This is accentuating the “we” and “they” approach within the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization. Establishing short-term goals, strengthening financial security and empowering public diplomacy will reduce these “transatlantic differences”. …More

February 26, 2012 | Smart Defense through Smarter Community

Gerald Gugerty: It has become increasingly evident that security, economic prosperity, and environmental stewardship are inextricably linked to one another, and a solution to one cannot ignore the other two. NATO should take an active role in finding solutions to these problems in order to develop a vital community. …More

February 26, 2012 | Flexibility: NATO's Main Weapon in Becoming a True Alliance

Louise Fahey: The end of the Cold War left NATO members without a common enemy, and in turn without a common interest. Instead of establishing a new consolidated threat to bring the Alliance closer, NATO must establish a policy of flexibility that enables it to adapt to threats, and also encourage common action. …More

February 26, 2012 | Bringing NATO Closer to the People

Seven Erdogan: A powerful NATO with more saying in world peace is only possible by creating an alliance that is close to people. In order to achieve a closer community it must soften its image as an alliance acting on the basis of decisions taken by heads of state through an effective communication campaign. …More

February 26, 2012 | NATO's Future Destination

Tilman Pradt: The future threats to NATO member states are no longer located in Europe and are non-traditional in nature. To revive support from and acceptance among its member states, NATO must address these new realities. Securing the waters of the Arabian Sea will serve these goals. …More

February 26, 2012 | NATO: Continuing a Legacy of Solidarity

Michael Miner: Whilst transformative events have led the Alliance into divergent paths, the core principles have not lost their value in entirety. NATO should establish continental force integration and exchange partnerships to reestablish these common bonds. …More

February 26, 2012 | Strengthening NATO's Operational and Public Communities

Thomas C Meyer: NATO can only build an internal community by emphasizing the role of day-to-day operational communities consisting of military personnel, foreign offices, development agencies, civil society groups, and private sector partners in addressing security. …More

February 26, 2012 | Community Building Calls for Citizen Voices

Yoonj Kim: To build strong community between NATO, its member states, and its citizens, a recognized public forum must emerge for people to make their voices heard directly. NATO “storytellers” would share their experiences of the organization in an accessible and relatable way. …More

February 26, 2012 | Enhancing the Partnership: Generating Cohesion among NATO Member Youth

Marielle Catherine Ness: NATO can encourage ownership and identification among member nations and their publics through a targeted assortment of youth programs that reach out to both military and civilian audiences. This includes an expansion of NATO education initiatives, cadet exchanges and model NATO. …More

February 26, 2012 | Bridging the Gap: The Role of Public Relations and Education in NATO

Daniel Richard Green: To overcome misconceptions among Europeans and Americans regarding NATO and its role in the world, the Alliance should begin a concerted public relations and education campaign that shows NATO as a community of nations with commonly-held values and ideals. …More

February 26, 2012 | NATO and the People

Balazs Gabor Kos: NATO’s New Strategic Concept outlines the aims of the leaders of MS regarding, terrorism, nuclear weapons and energy security, what it lacks is the involvement of the people. The Secretary-General should act as a unifying figure across member states and people could participate in petitions to raise awareness of common NATO issues. …More

February 26, 2012 | It's All About the People

Ned Shell: There are two channels through which NATO can turn “they” into “we.” One involves improving communication, the other involves tangible programming. This piece discusses how both can be utilized by NATO leadership to ensure the alliance continues to flourish for years to come. …More

February 26, 2012 | NATO Youth Camps and Summer Schools in the Name of Mutual Understanding

Julika Peschau: I advocate joint NATO youth camps and NATO based summer schools for adolescents of NATO member countries and its partners in Eastern Europe. NATO will find it easier to expand democratic values and its other normative values in former authoritarian regimes by getting in touch with future generations. …More

February 26, 2012 | Strategic Engagement: A New Commitment to the NATO Public

Edward Andrew Grodin: NATO must connect with its public in a more concrete and meaningful way. A policy of “strategic engagement” whereby NATO enhances its grant-making activities can provide the impetus for long-term interactions between the organization and individuals. …More

February 26, 2012 | Engage in Youth Policies to Decrease Alienation

Tornike Metreveli: NATO is suffering a lack of consensus on transatlantic burden sharing issues and regional interests. NATO should engage more actively in youth policies in order to shift the persisting attitude of alienation felt among the NATO partners. …More

February 26, 2012 | Recapturing Internationalism in the NATO Community

Christopher Euan Whyte: The diffusion of interests since the end of the Cold War have led to the stagnation of values-based internationalism in NATO. An introduction of multilateral educational initiatives across the alliance could bring a much-needed return to the norm of collective responsibility. …More

February 26, 2012 | From Alliance to Community

Abdulhakim Altunkaya: NATO must be establish a firm set of political values and legal texts that encourage ownership and common identification with NATO. In doing this the organization will avoid the dangerous differentiation of foreign policies between states that could divide it. …More

February 26, 2012 | Sharing Values, Sharing Responsibility

Nikola Duric: The sharing of responsibility through redefining the share of financing inside NATO would lead towards an internalization of the NATO idea in the general public of member states. It would promote inter-governmental cooperation and reverse the alienation process between NATO and the citizens of member countries. …More

February 26, 2012 | Transatlantic Approaches to Common Culture

Tonka Kostadinova: Group identities and collective cultures are constructed and this article offers one potential approach to the development of a common transatlantic culture in terms of shared values, principles and democratic norms. …More

February 26, 2012 | NATO: A Worldwide Alliance for Democracy

Samantha Elizabeth Koss: The solution to the continental divisions between NATO members lies in enlarging membership and refocusing the identity and NATO’s mission. NATO should aim for the security and promotion of values of all democracies worldwide, not limited to those within the transatlantic alliance. …More

February 26, 2012 | Restoring a NATO Community Through an Economic Opportunity

Joshua Daniel Shainess: The global recession should be viewed as an opportunity to renew a sense of unified identity among NATO member states. By promoting vibrant economies among its member states and avoiding unnecessary commitments NATO will restore its sense of shared community. …More

February 26, 2012 | Battling Complacency to Reinvigorate Trans-Atlanticism

Greg Randolph Lawson: In the wake of a rapidly shifting global order, the United States and Europe, the pillars of transatlanticism, must reinvigorate their cultural connections and embrace a robust free trade agenda to remain competitive. They must hang together or they will hang separately. …More

February 26, 2012 | Values Can Only Compete on Their Own Terms

Scott Atherley: Lack of competition has fragmented essential elements of the NATO consensus. NATO must re-emphasize a defensive role, abandon aggressive action, and embrace a broader pool of nations to return focus to the protection of liberalism as it is broadly understood. …More

February 26, 2012 | Heritage & Renewal

Timothy James Hatter: NATO should institute a new internship program, which would dramatically increase the amount of students interacting with the institution and each other. By doing so, NATO can increase its relevance among the Millennial Generation and turn ‘they’ into ‘us.’ …More

February 14, 2012 | Your Ideas, Your NATO: A Closer Look at the Issues

Joshua Clapp: In conjunction with the “Your Ideas Your NATO” competition, we are providing an overview of the three categories of the contest: Values and Community, Partnerships after the Arab Spring, and Smart Defense. The readings below can help you get started on understanding the issues and making your own policy recommendations. …More

February 7, 2012 | Guide: Writing "Your Opinion" Articles

Editorial Team: Your Opinion articles are where the main debates on the Atlantic Community happen. They are a way of sharing your ideas and recommendations in short, focused 500-700 word articles. The editorial team would like to offer some advice on writing a good opinion piece. …More

January 30, 2012 | Chicago Summit Preview: NATO Sharpens Its Focus

Mathew Shearman: Alongside the launch of the “Your Ideas Your NATO” competition we are previewing the NATO Chicago Summit in May. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Chicago agenda will be focused on Afghanistan, smart defense, developing partnerships, and strengthening common NATO values. …More

January 23, 2012 | Your Ideas, Your NATO: Policy Workshop Competition We are excited to announce our newest policy workshop! We want you to tell us your ideas for promoting NATO values, building partnerships, and engaging members in the Smart Defense initiative. Winners receive a cash prize and a trip to Berlin to present their ideas to policymakers! …More

January 23, 2012 | Your Ideas, Your NATO

Policy Workshop Competition: We are excited to announce our newest policy workshop! We want you to tell us your ideas for promoting NATO values, building partnerships, and engaging members in the Smart Defense initiative. Winners receive a cash prize and a trip to Berlin to present their ideas to policymakers! …More


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