Prague Security Studies Institute - History

History

The founding of PSSI was the result of nearly five years of planning and development. In 1997, the National Security Assessments Program (NSA) was established as an entity within the Civic Institute, one of the Czech Republic’s first non-profit policy groups following the Velvet Revolution. The initial focus of the NSA Program was to enrich the national and regional debates with respect to the security-related dimensions of post-communist governance. Over a two-year period, the NSA Program made substantial progress in informing and influencing the largely underdeveloped national security policy agenda of the Czech Republic.

The NSA Program, headed by Roger W. Robinson, Jr. and Petr Vančura, convened three annual conferences, each with over 200 participants. The first conference, “NATO and Central European Security in the 21st Century” held in April 1999, was held on the fiftieth anniversary of NATO. The second conference, “A Tenth Anniversary Assessment of Central European Freedoms” in April 2000, was held to commemorate this historical development.The third, “Trans-Atlantic Missile Defense and Security Cooperation,” took place in April 2001.

Speakers from roughly eight Western and Central European countries and the US attended each of these annual conferences. The distinguished speakers included former CIA Director, James Woolsey; former US National Security Advisor, Richard Allen; US Ambassador to the Czech Republic, John Shattuck; former US Assistant Secretary of Defense, Richard Perle; prominent Soviet dissident, Vladimir Bukovsky; former Advisor to the Prime Minister of Poland, Piotr Naimsky; Air Marshal and former Chief of British Defence Intelligence, Sir John Walker; Professor of International Security Studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Dr. Robert Pfaltzgraff, Jr.; German Ambassador Hagen Graf Lambsdorff; Sorbonne Prof. Francoise Thom; Director of the Institute for Strategic Studies in Bonn, Dr. Holger Mey; William F. Martin, former Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Energy.

In 2000, the NSA Program was spun off from the Civic Institute to create The Bell Association for Freedom and Democracy. In the succeeding two years, the concept of a national security-oriented training program for future policy practitioners evolved and led to the founding of the Prague Security Studies Institute (PSSI) in early 2002. PSSI was led by former Czech National Security advisor and Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Oldřich Černý and Roger W. Robinson, Jr., who also served as Co-Founders of the Institute.

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