Central Europe

  • Strategy Session on Transatlantic Defense with German Air Force Chief of Staff

    German Air Force Chief Karl Muellner
    On May 15, the Atlantic Council hosted Lieutenant General Karl Müllner, Germany’s Air Force chief of staff, for a strategy session about pertinent issues in transatlantic and German defense in an era of budget austerity and emerging security challenges.

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  • Roundtable Discussion with US Ambassador to Poland Stephen Mull

    Ambassador Stephen Mull

    On Wednesday, March 27, the Atlantic Council’s Transatlantic Relations Program hosted Ambassador Stephen Mull, US Ambassador to Poland, for an off-the-record discussion of the increasing importance of Poland in the transatlantic partnership.

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  • The Saga of US-Poland Missile Defense Cooperation

    Missile defense cooperation stands among the most prominent dimensions of the strategic relationship between the United States and Poland.  Both Washington and Warsaw have been strong advocates of missile defense within NATO.  Poland has enthusiastically accepted US requests to base missile interceptors on its territory, and recently made the acquisition of air and missile defense capability its top military procurement priority. Yet, what should be a unifying pillar of US-Poland security cooperation has too often been an irritant.
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  • "Let Freedom Live!"

    White Rose members

    Seventy years ago today three young German students were led to a guillotine by the Gestapo in Stadelheim Prison and brutally executed. Siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst faced death with immense courage, something even the Gestapo acknowledged. As the blade began its death fall Hans Scholl shouted out “Let freedom live!” With that single act of defiance Hans Scholl created modern, democratic Germany.

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  • US Aviation Detachment Establishes Permanent Presence in Poland

    AV-DET Poland

    On Friday, the United States will inaugurate its first permanent military presence in Poland by deploying an air force aviation detachment (AV-DET) at the Polish 32nd Tactical Airbase in Lask.  The detachment will further institutionalize US-Poland military-to-military engagement and is a needed and useful boost to the bilateral security relationship. 

    The detachment consists of some eight to ten personnel led by a US Air Force major.  It will plan and coordinate the activities of USAF elements that will rotate into Poland for exercises that will involve US and Polish F-16s and C-130 transport aircraft, among other assets. 

    While there are currently no plans to permanently station US aircraft in Poland, the US- Poland Memorandum of Understanding signed on 13 June 2011 creating the AV-DET outlines a robust annual exercise agenda. It states:  

    The USAF AV-DET will facilitate combined training exercises and military-to-military engagement, through periodic rotation (four annually, with a goal of quarterly rotations no shorter than two weeks each) of US aircraft, and continuous engagement, including combined skill development and exercises, between the USAF and PLAF. . . . It is intended that the four rotational deployments each year to Poland will consist of F-16 or C-130 aircraft. It is intended that two rotations of F-16 aircraft will be conducted each year.  Additional combined PLAF and USAF training exercises, including the use of fifth generation fighter aircraft, may be undertaken.

    In Central Europe, the AV-DET in Poland complements US Joint Task Force East which mans joint army and air forces bases in Bulgaria and Romania.  In addition to being the first permanent presence of US military personnel on Polish soil aside from military attachés, the AV-DET is significant for the following reasons:  

    • The activities and robust agenda of exercises will deepen and institutionalize ties between the US and Polish air forces and will serve as the cornerstone for an "enduring partnership" between the two.
    • It will provide opportunity for the two nations to fully exercise contingency plans for a full spectrum of scenarios ranging from peace support operations to establishing no-fly zones to NATO Article V missions. 
    • It can serve as a platform to support both bilateral and multilateral exercises.
    • In light of President Obama’s “pivot to Asia” and ensuing decisions to reduce US ground and air force presence in Europe, the AV-DET is a needed demonstration of Washington’s commitment to and interest in Central Europe's security.

    The AV-DET is a very positive development in the US-Poland relationship, and it offers great potential to serve NATO.   In addition to reinforcing the credibility of NATO Article V planning, the AV-DET could support the Alliance's efforts to expand its global relationships, including with the Arab world.  One can envision the AV-DET and its Polish partners serving as the nucleus for multilateral air force exercises engaging, among others, air forces, from the Persian Gulf, Jordan, or Morocco.

    Ian Brzezinski is a senior fellow in theBrent Scowcroft Center on International Security and is on the Council’s Strategic Advisors Group (SAG).

    Photo credit: EPA

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  • Roundtable Discussion on Romania's Defense Policy

    On September 6th, the International Security Program hosted Dr. Sebastian Huluban, state secretary for defense policy and planning at the Ministry of National Defense of Romania, for a private strategy session with key Council fellows and advisors.

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  • Dinner Discussion with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic Miroslav Lajčák

    On July 25, the Atlantic Council’s Transatlantic Relations program held an off-the-record dinner discussion with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic Miroslav Lajčák. Atlantic Council Executive Vice President Damon Wilson moderated the discussion, which drew on Minister Lajčák’s extensive expertise on the Balkans, and examined the options for moving that region forward toward a more stable Euro-Atlantic future, especially given the persistent tensions in Bosnia and Kosovo, as well as in other countries. The dinner was graciously hosted by former US Ambassador to Slovakia Vincent Obsitnik.
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  • Euro-Realism 2: How Safe is My Money?

    Lucullus, in Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens (spot the irony) warns, “This is no time to lend money, especially upon bare friendship without security.” As a Dutch tax-payer that warning carries little irony as billions of our hard-earned tax Euros have already vanished down the black hole of a failing currency – either in direct transfers or by printing money that we will forever have to underwrite.
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  • In Spain, Germany Is Villain, Not Savior

    What brought me to Spain during the most threatening week of the country’s recent history was an invitation to speak about one of Europe’s darkest hours a half-century ago, pegged to the Spanish-language publication of my book Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth.
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  • Europe's New German Question

    Almost sixty years ago to the day, the European Defense Community (EDC) Treaty was signed in Paris. Under pressure from an America facing a possible war on two fronts – Korea and Europe, the aim was to create a European Army that would see West Germany re-armed to provide manpower for the defense of Europe only twelve years after Nazi troops had marched down the Champs Élysée.
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