US, German leaders come together to discuss future, build mutual understanding

Sept. 9, 2013

By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs


Christian Schmidt, Parliamentary State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry of Defense, addresses U.S. and German officials at the Government Relations Symposium in Garmisch, Germany, Sept. 5. The three-day meeting gave participants a mutual understanding of matters relating to U.S. force stationing and exercises. (Photo by Harald Risch)

Christian Schmidt, Parliamentary State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry of Defense, addresses U.S. and German officials at the Government Relations Symposium in Garmisch, Germany, Sept. 5. The three-day meeting gave participants a mutual understanding of matters relating to U.S. force stationing and exercises. (Photo by Harald Risch)

GARMISCH, Germany -- German government officials met with U.S. military representatives to improve mutual understanding between on matters relating to U.S. force stationing and exercises.

Officials from German federal, state, district, local and military agencies met with senior U.S. Army Europe in the seventh annual Government Relations Symposium at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort here, Sept. 4-6. The resort is a U.S. military facility adjacent to the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, a bilateral U.S.-German European security and defense studies think tank.

Event organizers from USAREUR’s Security Cooperation Division said the meeting provided participants a common understanding of the challenges arising from American force presence, exercises, budgetary constraints and the impacts of the USAREUR's decade-long transformation.

Christian Schmidt, Parliamentary State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry of Defense, spoke to the group of about 100 people. Schmidt stressed the importance of the longstanding transatlantic relationship, and said the mutually beneficial partnership that has grown over 70 years will continue to be critical for global security in the future.

Senior U.S. officials also emphasized the importance of those relationships at the federal and local levels.

“That we are able to gather here is a testament to the continued goodwill shared between Germany and members of the U.S. Army Europe team,” said USAREUR Commanding General Lt. Gen. Donald M.Campbell Jr. in his opening remarks for the symposium. “As we transform U.S. Army Europe in the months and years ahead, our continued cooperation, mutual support and clear and transparent communication is critical to maintaining the level of success that we have enjoyed together for almost 70 years.”

Significant changes in the German governmental process for obtaining exercise permissions were discussed, as well as the perspectives and concerns of the German states of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Hessen, Rheinland-Pfalz and Bavaria, where the U.S. Army maintains garrisons.

In his closing remarks, USAREUR Deputy Commanding General Maj. Gen. Richard Longo said the symposium was a success because, "we've had in-depth discussions, some polite disagreements, and shared our perspectives as only good friends and family can."


About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned to advance American strategic interests across Eurasia and has unparalleled capability to prevent conflict, shape the environment and, if necessary, win decisively. The relationships we build during more than 1000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships, and enhance global security.