On May 16, 2013 the Atlantic Council hosted H.E. Csaba Hende, Hungary’s minister of defense, for a strategy session about the most pressing challenges in Hungarian and transatlantic security leading up to the NATO June 2013 Defense Ministerial.

Hungary is punching above its weight by increasing its investments in military capabilities, such as special operations forces, and has been also a staunch supporter of NATO’s Smart Defense Initiative. The discussion also touched upon the importance of NATO and European military capabilities in the era of budgetary austerity, NATO partnerships, and the transition process in Afghanistan.

Minister Hende has been Hungary’s minister of defense since 2010. Before that, from 2009 until 2010, he was a member of the Hungarian parliament’s National Security Committee. Previously, he served as notary of the parliament from 2005 until 2010 as a member of the FIDESZ party (Hungarian Civic Union), which is a major national conservative party in Hungary and is also a part of the European People’s Party.