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Political Background Discussion with Michèle A. Flournoy

Berlin, February 12, 2010

Michèle A. Flournoy, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in the U.S. Department of Defense, met with representatives from German ministries, government agencies and selected think tanks to discuss current challenges in the area of security and defense policy. The discussion focused on the opportunities for and possible kinds of transatlantic cooperation designed to deal with global security risks.

According to Flournoy, the transatlantic partners were currently confronted by three primary security policy challenges, and these could be met in an appropriate manner only by means of multilateral action. On the one hand NATO had to support the Afghan security forces as they began to assume responsibility for the security of their country. Furthermore, in dealing with Iran there was a need for a coordinated approach agreed on by the transatlantic partners. Flournoy believed that the third primary security policy challenge was to meet European security needs. Here energy security played a decisive role.

In the ensuing discussion the participants emphasized the importance of concrete steps with regard to disarmament policy, especially in the area of nuclear disarmament.

The Political Background Discussions are part of Körber Foundation’s ongoing interest in issues of importance to the transatlantic partnership in the area of foreign, security and defense policy. The series has included Political Background Discussions with Daniel Fried, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in the US Department of State, Lieutenant General Karl W. Eikenberry, Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, and Lieutenant General Henry A. Trey Obering III, Director of the Missile Defense Agency of the United States Air Force.

Körber Foundation regularly invites a small circle of high-ranking actors within Berlin’s foreign policy community to its Political Background Discussions. As in the Bergedorf Round Tables, the discussions take place shielded from the public, so as to enable a confidential, frank, and constructive exchange.

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