PKSOI and AUSA partner to put spotlight on NATO partnerships engaged in Projecting Stability

By Robert Martin    25 October 2018

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, former commander, US Army Europe speaks to those gathered at the Projecting Stability Conference held at the Gordon R. Sullivan Conference & Event Center in Washington D.C., Sep. 17, 2018

A daylong conference on “Projecting Stability” provided the stage for U.S. Government agencies, the international community, non-governmental organizations, and academics to discuss principles and ongoing NATO efforts to define and integrate the concept across its members.

The Army’s Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute with the Association of the U.S. Army sponsored the Projecting Stability conference at the Gordon R. Sullivan Conference & Event Center in Washington D.C., Sep. 17, 2018. The event was live-streamed and, now, the video presentations can be viewed at

Maj. Gen. John Kem, commandant of PKSOI’s parent organization, the US Army War College, opened the conference. He celebrated the value of collective efforts, such as this conference, that reflect the power of the US-NATO relationship.

The keynote speaker for the event was Deputy Secretary General for NATO Rose Gottemoeller.

“Instability is a challenge to security” said Gottemoeller, setting the tone and expressing the urgency of the matter. “We have learned through experience we can enhance stability by working with willing partners to improve their stability and resilience.”

“This seminar is an example of how we are trying to strengthen the Alliance, which includes key partners within the national defense strategy,” said PKSOI’s Deputy Director Col. James Lowe. “PKSOI has remained engaged with NATO on stabilization and helps institutionalize this throughout NATO and key partners,” he said, about PKSOI’s work with the NATO Partnership, Training and Education Centers and NATO’s Training and Education for Peace Support Operations.

The conference featured a wide spectrum of expert thought, seeking to identify the current challenges and solutions with respect to NATO’s commitment to secure its flanks by helping its neighbors achieve stability.

PANEL I.The Stage Setter panel offered an overview of the day’s concepts. One speaker noted that the emergence of the Islamic State and other terrorist groups has galvanized much of the international communities. “There has been an extraordinary amount of military progress over the last four years in defeating the military component of ISIS,” said Lt. Gen. Michael Nagata, of the US National CounterTerrorism Center. Yet, military progress has not stopped the formation of eight declared ISIS franchise around the world, making it a global network, he noted.

Stage Setter panelists included --

  • James Appathurai, Deputy Assistant Secretary General, for NATO Political Affairs and Policy
  • US Army Lt. Gen. Michael Nagata, director of Strategic Operational Planning with the National CounterTerrorism Center
  • Mark E. Mitchell, Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, SOLIC
  • Army Maj. Gen. William Hickman, deputy chief of staff for NATO Strategic Plans and Policy, NATO SACT.

PANEL II.In the panel discussion for Middle East and the North African Region, retired Vice Adm. Michael Franken opened with the implications of Africa's steady population growth.In 20 years, there will be approximately 2.2 billion people on the continent of Africa, and half the people on earth entering the job market will be from the continent of Africa.The future of Africa is in its young people and women, he believes. And, peacekeeping should be development-driven with construction units due to the underdevelopment continent-wide. Building infrastructure should be done by buying indigenously-crafted prefab buildings, put up by the local population, and left with the locals using construction equipment that doesn’t leave the continent to the control of the developers.

The Middle East – North Africa Region panel included –

  • Army Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper, director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency
  • Retired Vice Admiral Michael Franken, former Deputy Commanding General, US AFRICOM
  • Italian Brig. Gen. Roberto Angius, NSD-S HUB director, Allied Joint Force Command, Naples

PANEL III. The Eastern Europe panel.“We’re all struggling – is it hybrid, is it gray-zone?” asked retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, rhetorically. The immediate past commander of US Army Europe suggested that the phenomenon at hand is: Russian.
It’s called the Russian way of war and they turn it up or turn it down and combine all the elements of power to achieve the effect that they want to achieve.”

The Eastern Europe Panel included –

  • Ambassador William Taylor, executive vice president, US Institute of Peace
  • Italian Gen. Riccardo Marchiò, commander, Allied Joint Forces Command Brunssum
  • Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, former commander, US Army Europe.