Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht’s visit to the United States is focused on US-German security policy. In Washington, she met with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Earlier that day, Ms Lambrecht was at the Capitol, talking with members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. At the centre of their exchange was NATO and the war in Ukraine.
It is only two weeks ago that the two leaders last met in person at the NATO headquarters in Brussels. A lot has happened since then. ''In these difficult times, the strength of the US-German friendship comes to the fore. That’s why it was extremely important to me to travel to Washington for an exchange with my US counterpart Lloyd Austin”, said Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht. “We support each other and we are closer than ever”, she added, referring both to the close cooperation in the Alliance, which demonstrates a clear commitment to the Allies at NATO’s eastern flank, and to the turnaround in German security policy with all its implications.
The ''Zeitenwende” following Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine has been met with much appreciation on the other side of the Atlantic. Germany had shown enormous leadership at this defining moment and the decision to augment the German armed forces was brave and historic, said US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in response to the German announcement to establish its new Army division in 2025, two years ahead of schedule, and to make available a special fund worth 100 billion euros to improve Bundeswehr equipment. He said that the US looked forward to working with Germany as the country implements these great changes. He also welcomed Germany’s decision to provide security assistance to Ukraine, saying that it helped to inspire other Allies and partners.
At the White House, Ms Lambrecht spoke with Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor to the US President, detailing the turnaround in German security policy and explaining the next steps on the path towards Germany’s first national security strategy. Other topics included the situation in the Indo-Pacific and in the Sahel. The ''Zeitenwende” was also the main focus of the Minister’s discussion on Capitol Hill with representatives and senators of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.
She asked US lawmakers to provide as much support as possible for the German procurement of future F-35A fighter jets that are required to maintain Germany’s contribution to nuclear sharing. At the end of her consultations in Washington, Minister Lambrecht recapped her visit and said, “we support each other and are closer than ever. Any attempts to divide us in NATO or in the EU have been unsuccessful. We stand together and are reliable partners.”
Before continuing her journey to New York, Defence Minister Lambrecht laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier in America’s National Cemetery to honour the sacrifices of American service members. It was of special importance to the Minister to visit this military cemetery, established more than 150 years ago. There are few other places where visitors are so visibly confronted with the terror and suffering of war as they look across more than 400,000 white headstones, arranged in neat rows over an area spanning around 2.5 million square metres. The tomb of the unknown soldier is dedicated to all fallen American service members who have remained unidentified or never received a burial. The solemn ceremony marked the end of the Minister’s visit in Washington. “It has been an honour”, she said as she left Arlington.