The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies formed a special group of leading international security experts to explore the best ways to bolster the center's unique German American relationship to provide U.S. and German defense analysts and policymakers with sound recommendations.
The initiative called "The Loisach Group," brought 30 US and German security experts from academia, think tanks and national governments together for a two-day round table discussion, May 16-17. Participants discussed western cohesion and compared notes, particularly from a U.S.-German standpoint. Using a case study on how to reengage Russia in diplomatic discussions served as a backdrop on how challenges should be addressed, where the division of labor should be, and identifying where nations have intrinsic strengths and weaknesses.
According to the consensus of experts, the Trans-Atlantic security link between the United States and Germany has atrophied over the past years.
"Now as in the past, western security turns first and foremost on the soundness, effectiveness and the trust in the U.S. and German relationship. This is absolutely key. If the United States and Germany are on the same page, then all the other problems become easier to address," said former head of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House James Sherr.
GERMAN-AMERICAN PARTNERSHIP AT MARSHALL CENTER
A unique partnership first signed between Germany and the United States in Dec. 1994, the Marshall Center has a unique security studies mission with shared responsibilities between the U.S. Department of Defense and Germany's Ministry of Defense. Last October, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work and German Parliamentary Secretary to the Federal Minister of Defense, Dr. Ralf Brauksiepe renewed the 1994 memorandum of agreement that increased Germany's role at the center.
LOISACH GROUP AND THE MUNICH SECURITY CONFERENCE
The Loisach Group will be a series of round table discussions intended to generate policy recommendations for German and American policymakers. A future step may include Russian academics and retired/non-official Russians as members of the group to further develop recommendations to advise governments on the way ahead.
"This group format had several names as we developed this concept. Across the street from the Marshall Center is the Loisach River that flows into the Isar River at Munich. Our hope is that our work will reinforce that of the Munich Security Conference and that was part of the inspiration to call it the Loisach Group," said Michta. The Munich Security Conference supports this partnership.
For the past five decades, the Munich Security Conference has brought together senior decision makers from around the globe to have intense discussions on current and future security challenges. Through the Loisach Group the Marshall Center and the Munich Security Conference aim to assist Berlin and Washington policymakers to find a common approach to Trans-Atlantic issues like Russia.
The Marshall Center will publish a paper of insights from this first meeting of the Loisach Group in the near future.