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Past Event

EU Defense Washington Forum

Past Event

Day 1

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic contributing to global instability, taking a toll on national budgets, and impacting multinational training exercises, security officials all over the world are forced to reckon with this “new normal” and the challenges that come with it.

On July 8-9, the Foreign Policy program at Brookings, in cooperation with the European Union Delegation to the United States, convened leaders, policymakers, and experts in the field of security and defense from the United States and the European Union for a virtual discussion on the pressing security matters facing the trans-Atlantic community. The ninth annual EU Defense Washington Forum included discussions about the impact of COVID-19 on trans-Atlantic security and a host of other topics such as the technology challenge from China, defense spending and capabilities, EU-U.S.-NATO cooperation, deterrence, non-proliferation, and arms control.

The forum was held virtually from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on both days.


Wednesday, July 8

Welcome remarks

Trans-Atlantic link today and tomorrow

Trans-Atlantic defense policy after the virus

The COVID-19 crisis is arguably one of the most serious challenges to confront Europe and the United States since World War II. For some, it marks the end of the post-9/11 moment which must force us to adapt our definition of national security. For others, not much has changed. For others still, it will accelerate great power competition. What implications will it have on the trans-Atlantic security landscape, including strategic reflections within the EU and NATO?


Charles Fries

Deputy Secretary General, Common Security and Defence Policy - European External Action Service

Defense spending and capabilities after COVID-19: A conversation with Undersecretary of Defense Ellen M. Lord


Ellen M. Lord

Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment - U.S. Department of Defense

Defense spending and capabilities after COVID-19: A panel discussion

Is defense spending destined to plummet as a result of the global pandemic and associated economic downturn? How can resources be allocated more effectively? What capabilities do Europeans need given the range of challenges they face? How can U.S. and European institutions improve their pandemic preparedness?

Operational cooperation in Africa

What are the main challenges on the ground and how can trans-Atlantic military cooperation help to address them? How are Operation Irini and the EU Training Mission in Mali supporting security and stability? How can we support our partners to address the COVID-19 crisis, including through civil-military cooperation? Is there any role for NATO to step up its engagement in Africa?


Hermínio Maio

Deputy Director and Chief of Staff, Military Planning and Conduct Capability - EU Military Staff


William L. Zana

Deputy Director for J-5 Politico-Military Affairs (Africa) - Joint Staff

Deterrence, non-proliferation, and arms control: A conversation with Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea

Deterrence, non-proliferation, and arms control: A panel discussion

This panel will look at U.S. withdrawal from the INF treaty citing Russian violations and what comes next, the German decision on dual-capable aircraft, and the future of the arms control/non-proliferation regime including New START as well as the need to expand key frameworks to include China.


Susanne Baumann

Federal Government Commissioner for Disarmament and Arms Control - German Federal Foreign Office

Director-General for International Order, the United Nations and Arms Control - German Federal Foreign Office

Day 1 concluding remarks

Thursday, July 9

Welcome remarks

EU defense and the present and future of EU-NATO cooperation

EU defense and the present and future of EU-NATO cooperation

A conversation with NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana

Opportunities for further strengthening of EU-NATO-U.S. cooperation: From military mobility to strengthening resilience

What can the EU, NATO and the U.S. do to reinforce each other on resilience building, protection of critical infrastructure and assets, hybrid, and 5G? What are the opportunities and challenges to increase military mobility? What are the perspectives for future EU-NATO cooperation in Europe as well as in operational theaters such as Afghanistan and Iraq?


James Appathurai

Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy - NATO

Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia - NATO


Kathleen Hicks

Henry A. Kissinger Chair, Senior Vice President, International Security Program Director - Center for Strategic and International Studies


Michael C. Ryan

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy - U.S. Department of Defense

EU defense and transatlantic security: A perspective from Latvia

Addressing the technology challenge posed by China

How can the United States and Europe cooperate on defense policy to address the China challenge? What are the key differences likely to be? Is some decoupling necessary, especially with regard to technology and supply chains for other critical supplies? What are the implications of 5G security on defense cooperation? How can the U.S., the EU, and NATO foster innovation to better leverage AI and work together towards setting international rules for their use? Can we preserve space for cooperation with China, and if so, how?

Leadership in defense: Voices from parliament


Will Hurd

Representative, R-Texas - United States Congress

Ranking Member - House Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness

Concluding conversation on EU defense and transatlantic security: A perspective from The Netherlands

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