Thursday, July 11, 2024

A 75th Anniversary Celebration  ★  Washington, D.C

ON THURSDAY, JULY 11, 2024, as the 75th NATO Summit in Washington, D.C., drew to a close, the Truman Library Institute and the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) proudly presented an extraordinary event at the National Archives to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and to honor the American president who envisioned and championed its creation, Harry S. Truman.

Admiral Rob Bauer, Chair of NATO’s Military Committee, delivered 75th anniversary remarks, followed by a keynote address from General Charles Q. Brown, Jr. As the 21st Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, and the principal military advisor to the President, Secretary of Defense, and National Security Council, General Brown’s insights on the future of global security are unparalleled.

Following this powerful opening, The New York Times’ Steven Erlanger moderated a conversation with Adam Howard, Mary Elise Sarotte, and Stephen Wertheim on NATO’s history, achievements, and the challenges it faces today.

The Truman Library Institute was one of only a handful of U.S.-based Institutional Partners for the NATO Public Forum—part of a wider network of organizations tasked with amplifying the messages from the Summit this year.




General Charles Q. Brown, Jr. is the 21st Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, and the principal military advisor to the President, Secretary of Defense, and National Security Council.

Prior to becoming Chairman on October 1, 2023, General Brown served as the 22nd Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force.

A native of San Antonio, Texas, General Brown earned his commission in 1984 as a distinguished graduate of the Air Force ROTC program at Texas Tech University.

General Brown has served in a variety of positions at the squadron and wing levels, including an assignment to the U.S. Air Force Weapons School as an F-16 Fighting Falcon Instructor. His notable staff tours include Aide-de-Camp to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force and Director of the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff Executive Action Group. His joint assignments include three assignments to U.S. Central Command as Air Operations Officer, Current Operations Division; Deputy Director, Operations Directorate; and Deputy Commander.

General Brown has commanded a fighter squadron, the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, two fighter wings, and twice served as a Combined/Joint Air Component Commander with command tours at U.S. Air Forces Central Command and Pacific Air Forces.

General Brown is a command pilot with more than 3,000 flight hours primarily in the F-16, including 130 combat hours, and has flown 20 additional fixed and rotary-wing aircraft. Throughout his career, he deployed or directly supported Operation Southern Watch, Operation Northern Watch, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Odyssey Dawn, Operation Unified Protector, and Operation Inherent Resolve.

In addition to his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Texas Tech University, General Brown has a master’s degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons School, a distinguished graduate from Air Command and Staff College, a graduate of the Air War College, and served as a National Defense Fellow at the Institute for Defense Analyses.

General Brown and his spouse, Mrs. Sharene Brown, have been married for more than 34 years, and have two sons.



Admiral Rob Bauer (Royal Netherlands Navy) is the 33rd Chair of the Military Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). As the Military Adviser to the Secretary General and the North Atlantic Council, Admiral Bauer is NATO’s most senior military officer. He is the conduit through which advice from NATO’s Allied Chiefs of Defence is presented to the political decision-making bodies; and guidance and directives are issued to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation and the Director General of the International Military Staff.

‘Expect the unexpected’ is for Admiral Bauer a personal mantra, as well as a sacred principle for every military force. In this time of political power shifts and increasingly complex security threats, he firmly believes that the strength of the North Atlantic Alliance lies in its cohesion. Admiral Bauer strives to be a catalyst between NATO’s military leaders, and unifying north, south, east and west, large and small.

Admiral Bauer was commissioned as an officer in the Royal Netherlands Navy in 1984. From 2005 until 2007, he commanded the Air Defence and Command Frigate HNLMS De Ruyter. His command included a deployment in the Mediterranean with the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 as part of the NATO Response Force (Operation Active Endeavour). Late 2006, Bauer was deployed to Bahrain as Deputy Commander of Task Force 150 (Operation Enduring Freedom). In 2010 and 2011, he held command of the Landing Platform Dock HNLMS Johan de Witt.

As Director of Plans (2012-2015), Bauer was responsible for directing strategies relating to the future of Defence, operational policy and innovation, and the organization and structure of the armed forces as a whole, including the creation of the new Defence Cyber Command. As Vice Chief of Defence (2015-2017), Bauer oversaw the move towards more flexible and sustainable cooperation with private companies and organizations.

As Chief of Defence (2017-2021), he commanded the Netherlands Armed Forces during the first four years of substantial investments after a decades-long period of cutbacks. Transforming the organization required determination, strategic foresight and the ability to rebuild trust in and amongst the Armed Forces.

Rob is married to Maaike. They have three children.



Steven Erlanger is the chief diplomatic correspondent for Europe for The New York Times, based in Berlin. In over 40 years as a journalist, he has reported from more than 120 countries, from the war in Kosovo to Brexit. He was previously the bureau chief in Brussels, London, Paris, Jerusalem, Berlin, Prague, Belgrade, Moscow, and Bangkok; the newspaper’s editor of cultural news; and, the chief diplomatic correspondent in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of State

Adam Howard is The Historian for the U.S. Department of State and the Director of the Department’s Office of the Historian. He is responsible for the publication of the congressionally-mandated Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series, the official documentary history of U.S. foreign relations, and the preparation of historical studies on U.S. foreign affairs and institutional history for use by policymakers. Previously, Howard served as General Editor of the FRUS series and as Chief of the Middle East and Asia division. He is also the author of Sewing the Fabric of Statehood: Garment Unions, American Labor, and the Establishment of the State of Israel (2017).

John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

An expert in the history of international relations, Mary Sarotte is the inaugural holder of the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Distinguished Professorship of Historical Studies at the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC. She is also a research associate at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies. Sarotte is the author or editor of six books, including Not One Inch: America, Russia, and the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate (2021), which was selected as one of Foreign Affairs’ Best Books of 2021 and Financial Times’s Best Books to Read in 2022.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Stephen Wertheim is a historian and analyst of U.S. foreign policy. He is a Senior Fellow in the American Statecraft Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a Visiting Lecturer at Princeton University. He specializes in U.S. foreign relations and international order from the late nineteenth century to the present. Wertheim is the author of Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy (2020) and his essays have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, The Nation, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and elsewhere.




Located just north of the National Mall, the National Archives and Records Administration ensures, for the citizen and the public servant, for the President and the Congress and the Courts, the identification, protection, preservation, and accessibility of historically valuable records of the federal government that document the rights of American citizens, the actions of federal officials, and the national experience from the nation’s beginnings in 1774. Among the records in its holdings are America’s founding documents—the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights—and the Washington Treaty.


The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is an independent, bipartisan, nonprofit organization that develops strong, pragmatic, and principled national security and defense policies. CNAS engages policymakers, experts, and the public with innovative, fact-based research, ideas, and analysis to shape and elevate the national security debate. CNAS is located in Washington and was established in 2007 by co-founders Dr. Kurt M. Campbell and Michèle A. Flournoy. Since the Center’s founding, our work has informed key U.S. strategic choices and has been acted on by Republican and Democratic leaders in the executive branch and on Capitol Hill.

Truman Library Institute

The Truman Library Institute is the member-supported, nonprofit partner of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, one of 15 presidential libraries of the National Archives. Together with its federal partner, the Truman Library Institute draws on President Truman’s legacy to enrich the public understanding of history, the presidency and America’s unique form of government. This mission is achieved through world-class museum exhibits, research grants, public programming and nationally acclaimed education programs serving tens of thousands of students and teachers annually. The Institute is guided by the founding vision of President Truman, who worked to ensure that his presidential library would flourish as a “classroom for democracy,” where young people, especially, might better understand the American presidency and the fundamental principles governing our democracy, while being inspired to lead lives of service and purpose.