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Esper Calls on Germany to Invest More in Defense

Sept. 23, 2019 | BY Jim Garamone
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Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper called on Germany to invest more money in defense during a meeting with that country's new defense minister at the Pentagon.


"With the largest economy in Europe, we believe Germany is in a strong position to make an investment to bolster the capabilities for the alliance," Esper said before today's meeting with German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

Kramp-Karrenbauer said the German government is aware of its responsibilities. "I also want to make clear that we do stand by our commitment that we have made in the NATO framework – for example, when it comes to financial burden-sharing and developing military capabilities," she added through a translator. "I will do everything in my power as the minister of defense … to do just that."

Two defense leaders stand in front of an entrance to the Pentagon.
Honor Cordon
Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper hosts German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer for talks at the Pentagon, Sept. 23, 2019.
Photo By: Lisa Ferdinando, DOD
VIRIN: 190923-D-BN624-0147
Man and woman descend Pentagon staircase, followed by aides.
Pentagon Visit
Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper hosts German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer at the Pentagon, Sept. 23, 2019.
Photo By: Lisa Ferdinando, DOD
VIRIN: 190923-D-BN624-0290

The German defense minister noted the long history of cooperation between Germany and the United States and said that without American support and aid, the Berlin Wall would not have fallen almost 30 years ago.

"The United States and Germany share a long history of cooperation in security and defense," Esper said. "We appreciate that your country has been host for American troops for decades." Esper was among those troops, and he thanked the defense minister for her country's hospitality.

A sailor stands next to a German service member who is holding a dog by a leash.
Northern Coasts
A Navy explosive ordnance disposal technician works alongside a German service member as part of Northern Coasts in Todendorf, Germany, Sept. 16, 2019. Northern Coasts provides the opportunity for participating nations to engage in realistic maritime training and strengthen interoperability.
Photo By: Navy Chief Petty Officer Travis Simmons
VIRIN: 190916-N-UN744-1044C
Soldiers fire a military weapon at night.
Rock Shock Blast
Army paratroopers fire an M224 60 mm mortar system at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, Aug. 14, 2019, during Rock Shock Two, a battalion-level combined arms live-fire exercise.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Henry Villarama
VIRIN: 190814-A-AR102-849C

Germany is the largest non-American contributor to NATO operations – especially in Afghanistan, where German troops help the government fight violence perpetrated by the Taliban, Esper said. German troops also help to train troops in Iraq and Syria, and Esper thanked Kramp-Karrenbauer for her nation extending its operations there. He also pointed out that Germany supports sanctions against Russia to stop that country's conflict in Ukraine.