Improving Transatlantic Strategic Burden-Sharing Working Session – 11-12 June, Berlin
On June 11th and 12th, the Paris Office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), in partnership with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Airbus Group, organized the second session of the Transatlantic Security and the Future of NATO 2015 program. The event, entitled “Improving Transatlantic Strategic Burden-Sharing”, took place at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP)’s office in Berlin and brought together more than 40 American and European senior policy-makers, with a particularly high-level participation of the German Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense, NATO officials, policy-planners, scholars, experts, embassies, as well as representatives of private foundations and of the defense sector.
The working session was introduced with an off-the-record transatlantic dinner around keynote speaker Jürgen Hardt, Member of Parliament and Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation at the German Federal Foreign Office. The discussion was opened by Dr. Daniela Schwarzer, Senior Director for Research and Director of the Europe Program, and moderated by Dr. Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer, Senior Transatlantic Fellow and Director of GMF’s Paris Office.
The working session was structured around three core themes:
Session I – Fostering a Rapprochement in Transatlantic Defense Economy: Challenges and Levers
Session II – The Prospects and Limits of a Transatlantic Division of Security Responsibilities
Session III – From Afghanistan to Ukraine: Assessing the Necessary Transatlantic Capabilities in the Contemporary Strategic Environment
Hosting the event in Berlin allowed participants to focus on German security and foreign policy interests, which was particularly timely in the context of rising security concerns in Central and Eastern Europe. The role of Germany in the transatlantic security partnership, and more specifically in transatlantic burden-sharing, was therefore largely discussed throughout the day.
Moreover, the first panel gave an overview of the tendencies regarding common procurement plans and defense industries within NATO countries. It stressed the main shortcomings of the current procurement policies which are often subject to irrelevance and redundancy due to a lack of effective coordination. The debate on defense spending was also an important part of that session. The second panel discussed the prospects for transatlantic cooperation in the context of a shifting distribution of power and influence within Europe. It reaffirmed the complementarity of European and American assets but raised issues related with gaps of understanding between policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic. The third panel highlighted the need for a new toolbox of capabilities in order to tackle the unconventional threats of terrorism in the South and hybrid warfare in the East. Finally, the concluding panel provided prospective analyses and policy recommendations, which will be included in the final report, along with a selection of papers authored by participants and speakers.