The Aspen Institute Romania in partnership with NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division and the Bucharest office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States are organizing the Atlantic-Black Sea Security Forum 2018, a high level international event, part of the Aspen National Security & Defense program.

Being at the 5th collaboration with NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division, the event desires to reflect both the deterioration of the general security environment and the increased relevance of the Greater Black Sea area. Thus, the Forum provides a platform for comprehensive political discussions on NATO’s political and military agenda, in order to substantiate the preparation of the NATO Summit in July 2018. The format allows for an animated exchange on both hot and strategic issues on the international security agenda.

The event is conceived as part of a continuous, ongoing effort to provide relevant, accurate and timely analysis on Allied security and to capitalize on the expertise of the states on the Eastern Flank, in order to provide a more substantial joint contribution to the ongoing processes and projects of NATO, considering as well the particular point of Romania’s geostrategic position and interest for security and stability in the Black Sea region.

Knowledge partner: PwC România

Media partners: AGERPRES, RFI România,


Porcupine Strategy for Europe_Naval War College

Security in the Black Sea Region_Shared Challenges, Sustainable Future Program


PwC Presentation_Atlantic Black Sea Security Forum_June5_2018

Arnold Dupuy_Feeding the Porcupine


Young Strategic Leaders Security Conference_2018



June 4

13:30 – 14:00 Welcome & Registration

14:00 – 14:15 Welcome Remarks and Introductions (closed to public & press, by invitation only)

  • Mircea Geoana, President, Aspen Institute Romania
  • Alina Inayeh, Director of the Bucharest Office, German Marshall Fund of the United States

14:15 – 16:00 Young Strategic Leaders Security Conference (closed to public & press, by invitation only)

As a representative of solidarity and cohesion, NATO’s historical mission of ensuring international security through both military support and dialogue among states was possible due to continuous efforts of adapting to global trends and strong partnerships with other international organizations. Among these, the collaboration with the European Union was placed at the core of NATO’s long term strategies. How will you envision a collaboration between the EU (via PESCO) and NATO in regards to the Eastern Flank? How will the European member states approach its future development?

  • Daria Catalui, Cyber Awareness Coordinator , European Commission, AIR Fellow
  • Bruno Lete, Senior Fellow, Security and Defense, German Marshall Fund of the US
  • Ana Catauta, AIR Fellow
  • Mihai Todor, Advisor to Deputy Director, Romanian Intelligence Service, AIR Fellow
  • Eva Bounegru, Project Manager, United Nations Development Programme Moldova, AIR Fellow
  • Muzaffer Şenel, Assistant Professor, İstanbul Şehir University, AIR Fellow
  • Irina Tkeshelashvili, Assistant to Coordinator, L.Kirkland Scholarship Program, Wroclaw, AIR Fellow
  • Madalina Mocan, Executive Director, Ratiu Democracy Center, AIR Fellow & MMF Fellow
  • Miroslav Dolapchiev, CEO, Alocor, MMF Fellow
  • Andrei Bivol, Managing Partner, Hanganu, Tanase & Partners, MMF Fellow
  • Ambassador Doru Costea, Aspen Romania Strategy Group

16:00 – 16:15 Coffee Break

16:15 – 17:00 Conclusions & Further steps (closed to public & press, by invitation only)

19:30 – 22:00 Cocktail Reception (closed to public & press, by invitation only)


June 5

Nicolae Balcescu Hall, Palace of Parliament

9:30 – 10:00 Registration & Welcome Coffee  

10:00 – 10:15 Welcome Remarks and Introductions

  • Mircea Geoana, President, Aspen Institute Romania
  • Alina Inayeh, Director of the Bucharest Office, German Marshall Fund of the United States

10:15 – 10:40 Opening address

  • H.E. Teodor Melescanu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Romania
  • Mihai Fifor, Minister of National Defense, Romania
  • James Appathurai, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy and NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia

10:40 – 13:30 Weathering the Storm

A strategic area in Europe, the Black Sea and its extended region, plays a major role in global relations, as the playfield of geopolitical forces and battlefield of opposing interests. The security of this space has become increasingly complicated over the past decade, leading NATO to a substantial increase in its presence and activity in the region. New challenges coming from external actors (Russia, Iran, Syria), and from actors within the Trans-Atlantic alliance (Turkey) ask for a reassessment of the potential and vulnerabilities of the Black Sea region, and its impact on European security and defense.

10:40 – 11:40 Nothing New on the Eastern Flank?

  • Nicolae Ciuca, Chief of the Romanian General Staff, Ministry of National Defence
  • Stephen Flanagan, Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation
  • Behlul Ozkan, Associate Professor, Marmara University

Moderator: Bruno Lete, Senior Fellow, Security and Defense, German Marshall Fund of the US

11:40 – 11:50 Coffee Break

11:50 – 12:50 Extended security threats and vulnerabilities – the Greater Black Sea

  • George Ciamba, Secretary of State for Bilateral Relations and Strategic Affairs within the Euro-Atlantic Area, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Constantin Ionescu, State Adviser, Head of the Integrated Intelligence Office, Presidential Administration
  • Batu Kutelia, Vice President, Atlantic Council of Georgia
  • Sergiy Gerasymchuk, Expert, Strategic and Security Studies Group, Ukraine
  • Oytun Orhan, Researcher, Center for Middle East Strategic Studies (ORSAM), Turkey

Moderator:  Alina Inayeh, Director of the Bucharest Office of the German Marshall Fund of the US

12:50 – 13:40 2% of GDP – Political Fetish or Necessity?

  • Stephen Flanagan, Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation
  • Arnold Dupuy, Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Virginia Tech and George Mason University
  • Bogdan Belciu, Partner, PwC Romania

Moderator:  Radu Tudor, Political and Defense Analyst

13:40 – 14:20 Lunch Break

14:20 – 15:50 Heading to the NATO Summit

The upcoming NATO summit will give the members the opportunity to take stock of the renewed threats to the Alliance, as well as to refine its answers to these threats. In the East and in the South a recalibration of responses and pro-active measure is needed, and so is a deeper look at some of the untraditional challenges. In the face of direct and indirect attacks from external actors, and of the coolness of relations between the two shores of the Atlantic, united action, more needed than ever, is increasingly difficult to be achieved.

14:20 – 14:50 Conversation on determining whether a United Western Action Still Possible?

Judy Dempsey, Senior Fellow at Carnegie Europe and Editor-in-Chief of Strategic Europe
Mircea Geoana, President of the Aspen Institute Romania

14:50 – 15:50 Maintaining unity in action

The current international context places numerous challenges to the unity and coherence of “the West”.  Internal and external strains are acting convergent to weaken the role of the trans-Atlantic community, to diminish its influence and power of attraction and, more practically, to diminish its joint action and outreach. A solution may come from reshaping current institutions and from instrumenting ‘the new generation challenges’: cyber-attacks, fake news, allowing their transformation into means of proper action, reinforcing the general state of international security.

  • Judy Dempsey, Senior Fellow at Carnegie Europe and Editor-in-Chief of Strategic Europe
  • Adrian Paraluta, Head of Analysis Division, Romanian Intelligence Service
  • Alina Bargaoanu, Member of the High-Level Expert Group on Fake News and Digital Disinformation, European Commission

Moderator: Dorin Pena, General Manager, CISCO Romania

15:50 – 16:00 Conclusions