The Future of European Security: NATO, Ukraine, and Russia

January 30, 2024  |  12:15PM - 1:30PM
Bass Lecture Hall - LBJ School of Public Affairs

On Tuesday, January 30, 2024, the Intelligence Studies Project, Clements Center for National Security, and Strauss Center for International Security and Law hosted Ambassador Kurt Volker, Former United States Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, and General Tod Wolters, Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander of U.S. European Command, for a talk on “The Future of European Security: NATO, Ukraine, and Russia.”


Ambassador Kurt Volker is a leading expert in U.S. foreign and national security policy with over 35 years of experience in a variety of government, academic, and private sector capacities. He served as U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations from 2017 to 2019, and as U.S. Ambassador to NATO from 2008 to 2009. Amb. Volker is President and Founder of Alliance Strategic Advisors, LLC, which provides strategic advice and services to a diverse range of business clients with interests in Central and Eastern Europe. He co-founded the American University Kyiv in 2022 and serves as co-Chair of its Supervisory Board.  He also serves as Senior International Advisor at BGR Group, which provides government relations, public relations, and business advisory services to a wide array of clients. In June 2020, Amb. Volker was named a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). From 2012 to 2019, Ambassador Volker was the founding Executive Director of The McCain Institute for International Leadership, a part of Arizona State University based in Washington, DC. He remains a Senior Advisor at the Atlantic Council; a Trustee of the American College of the Mediterranean in Aix-en-Provence, France; a Trustee of the Hungary Foundation; a member of the GLOBSEC International Advisory Board; and a member of the International Advisory Board of the U.S. Institute for Peace.  

General Tod Wolters completed a distinguished 40-year active-duty career in the U.S. Air Force as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and Commander of U.S. European Command (EUCOM). As the SACEUR, he led Europe’s transition out of Afghanistan, ensured the COVID health crisis did not transform into a security crisis, and led NATO’s military allies and partners through the largest invasion of a European nation since World War II. He united military activities alongside leadership of all 30 NATO member nations and was instrumental in advancing the future transition of Sweden and Finland to NATO. In addition to commanding all European military forces, General Wolters worked closely with presidents, ambassadors, and chiefs of defense to improve nation’s ability to defend and generate peace.

Prior to General Wolters’ leadership position at NATO and EUCOM, he served as the Commander, U.S. Air Forces Europe, Commander U.S. Air Forces Africa, Commander NATO Allied Air Command and Director Joint Air Power Competence Center from 2016 to 2019. General Wolters has also served as the Director of Operations of the U.S. Joint Staff, Director of Operations of the U.S. Air Force, Commander 12th Air Force/Air Component Command U.S. Southern Command, Director of Legislative Liaison/U.S. Air Force, Deputy Commander of U.S. and NATO Air Forces Afghanistan, Director of Operations U.S. Air Force Space Command and as a Deputy Commander for Combined Security Assistance Command Afghanistan. Additionally, General Wolters served in key leadership positions at the tactical, operational and strategic levels of the United States military. These positions included command of three Tactical Air Wings, a Fighter Group, a Fighter Squadron and staff positions at USAF Headquarters and US Pacific Command. General Wolters has fought and commanded during Operation Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Southern Watch (Iraq).

General Wolters’ awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal. Additionally, General Wolters has over 5,000 flight hours primarily in the F-15C, F-22, OV-10, T-38 and A-10 aircraft. 

General Wolters graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1982. His military education includes the U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons School, Air Command and Staff College, Armed Forces Staff College and the U.S. Army War College. General Wolters holds master’s degrees from Embry-Riddle Aero University and the U.S. Army War College. Additionally, General Wolters was a Senior Executive Fellow, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.