In a recent report ("Behind the Eight Ball: Deciding on an OSCE Summit") from the Atlantic Council's Task Force on Eurasia as Part of Transatlantic Security, Senator Chuck Hagel, Ross Wilson, and Damon Wilson argue that the United States should support the convening of a summit of OSCE leaders later this year, as one of three major summits (NATO and U.S.-EU being the other two) to "advance a U.S. vision for European and Eurasian security." With 56 member states in Europe, the post-Soviet space, and North America, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is often touted as the foundation for a more ambitious "European" (really European/Eurasian/Transatlantic) security architecture stretching "from Vancouver to Vladivostok." While the vision of a European security architecture has a number of intrinsic obstacles to overcome, there are some specific challenges to utilizing the OSCE in particular as a basis for this vision. The OSCE's roots in the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 have led the organization to develop an expansive view of security, with an emphasis on three "baskets" or "dimensions" of security: politico-military, economic and environmental, and human. While most member states might want to maintain an equal emphasis on all three dimensions in a beefed-up OSCE-based security institution, Russia and several other post-Soviet states have for years been less enthusiastic about what has turned out to be the OSCE's most prominent mission: election monitoring and other aspects of democracy and human rights promotion. Russia, in particular, has also resisted greater OSCE responsibility for conflict resolution in Moldova and Georgia (in the latter case, helping to emasculate its role in South Ossetia after the August 2008 war). Russia's vision of a new European security institution would, at a minimum, separate out more traditional security functions from those that focus on the internal social and political development of member states while seeking to steer such an institution away from dealing with "old issues" like the Georgian-Ossetian and Georgian-Abkhaz conflicts. Nonetheless, the OSCE does seem to be an intuitive platform, with its Cold War legacy and broad membership base, for moving forward with substantive discussions on the future of European/Eurasian security. One question is whether it can serve as such in its current form, or whether more progress could in fact be made by "unbundling" the organization into three separate ones that focus on separate dimensions. The Atlantic Council report, like most on the subject, emphatically supports maintaining the integrity of the OSCE, but other alternatives might be worth debating. (It's worth mentioning that the Atlantic Council Task Force's main sponsor is the government of Kazakhstan, the current chair of the OSCE, chosen after great debate and at best lukewarm American support, given Kazakhstan's poor record on democracy and human rights.) MORE: For an insightful discussion and debate on European security architecture more generally, I'd recommend "A New European Order" (March 2010) in the German Marshall Fund's Brussels Forum Paper Series, with articles by Robert Legvold and (as co-authors) David Kramer and Daniel Fata. Cory Welt UPDATE: At their July 16-17 informal ministerial meeting, OSCE members agreed to hold the OSCE head of state summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, probably at the start of December. This will be the first such summit since 1999, when the Istanbul Summit was the venue for the signing of the adapted CFE treaty and a host of other political-military commitments.