Task Force 19 + 1

Deutschsprachige Version

Short Description of Task Force 19 + 1



Task Force 19+1 is BITS‘ nickname for an independent multinational network of researchers with offices in Berlin, Brussels, London, Moscow and Washington jointly dealing with the relations between the EU, NATO and Russia. Additional correspondents work in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Task Force 19+1 was established in 1997 to develop a comprehensive approach to NATO-Russia relations as well as EU-Russia relations. The project’s overarching objective is to promote an inclusive European Security Architecture based on the principles of collective security and common security for the whole of Europe including Russia. More specifically, one of Task Force 19+1 main activities is developing concrete policy proposals and feeding them into the right channels to make an impact on official policy.


Policy Goals

By formulating concrete policy proposals Task Force 19+1 is working towards the following policy goals:

  • developing an inclusive European Security Architecture based on the principles of cooperative and collective security rather than on collective defense;
  • strengthening the role of the OSCE;
  • promoting arms control, in particular nuclear arms control (START II+III), to include sub-strategic nuclear weapons;
  • promoting conventional arms control through supporting CFE-2 and other initiatives to reduce the numbers of conventional forces in Europe;
  • supporting the validity of the ABM-Treaty;
  • revitalizing cooperation in the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council and supporting the full implementation of the NATO-Russia Founding Act;
  • encouraging closer EU-Russia cooperation and developing consultation and co-operation mechanisms to prevent armed conflict in and beyond Europe;
  • promoting cooperative approaches with Russia on controversial topics such as NATO-enlargement.


Topics for Political Intervention

Ongoing developments surrounding the following issues call for an active role of Task Force 19+1 in the political debate: 

  • the current discussion in the United States about a National Missile Defense and its implications for the ABM-Treaty;
  • the reformulation of NATO’s New Military Strategy and Russia’s Military Doctrine, the consequences for the NPT and the possible first-use of nuclear weapons;
  • the effects of NATO’s enlargement policy on NATO-Russia relations;
  • the development of a Common European Security and Defense Policy;
  • and the implementation of EU-Russia cooperation as outlined in their mutual strategies for cooperation.


Building networks in Europe, Russia, and the U.S.

The Task Force’s networking approach has been successful in adapting to the rapid developments on the international scene such as NATO’s intervention in the Kosovo and the Russian intervention in Chechnya. These events put a great strain on NATO-Russia relations and prompted the Task Force to lay a stronger emphasis on EU-Russia relations as Russia‘s second door to the West.

Task Force 19+1 is actively generating support for an inclusive European security system on both sides of the Atlantic and in Russia. For example a one-day conference organized by the project partners, the Fourth Freedom Forum and the Boell-Foundation in April 1999 in Washington brought together approximately 200 journalists, congressional staffers, experts from the scientific community and NGO representatives. The conference presented the European perspective on European security to a wider American audience.

In Europe BITS undertook joint effort with its project partners to put security issues, especially the development of a Common European Security and Defense Policy and EU-Russia relations, on the agenda of a wider audience. BITS and its partners worked to involve NGOs active in the European integration process and helped to make security policy a topic during the regular European Citizens Summits which directly preceded the EU-summits in Cologne and Helsinki in 1999. For the first time the European movement dealt with disarmament and defense issues.


Improving EU-Russia relations

Task Force partners were particularly active to stimulate the debate on Russia-EU relations when NATO-Russia relations were put virtually on hold after NATO’s intervention in the Kosovo. Jointly with our Russian partner, Dimitri Trenin, workshops were held in Moscow to promote political cooperation between Russia and the EU. Russia’s growing interest in forging closer ties with the EU became evident when it presented a document of its own offering a number of areas open for joint efforts. The Task Force plans to build on its success and seeks to actively support a broader EU-Russia debate.


Sharing Information

In early 1999 BITS introduced the Nato Early Warning System (NEWS) listserver. It offers edited press coverage from different countries to about 350-400 selected recipients in the US, Russia and accross Europe on a weekly basis. NEWS deals with a wide range of topics concerning NATO-Russia and EU-Russia relations.

Network members closely monitor political develoments and major official events related to our project. Exchanging detailed information among each other on a day to day basis and sharing analysis allows them to provide a truly international, rather than national perspective. 

Task Force 19+1 is also in close contact with politicians and government officials. BITS has held briefings and provided advice for German polticians and government officials. BITS also helps on a regular basis to prepare hearings in the German parliament on topics relevant to our work.

Task Force 19+1 members are successfully working with the media. Since the start of the project its experts have written numerous journal articles and op-ed pieces for daily and weekly newspapers. Task Force members also regularly appear on TV and radio giving interviews and taking part in public discussion panels or scientific workshops. A wide range of articles quote BITS, BASIC and the other members of the network. On a regular basis renowned journalists in almost all countries where Task Force members are based rely on the network‘s expertise for background information.

This homepage will allow Task Force 19+1 members to provide analysis and documentation to a wider audience of those interested in the relations between the EU, Russia and NATO.


Short Description of Task Force 19 + 1