Pentagon Spokesman Eric Pahon provided the following readout:
Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen H. Hicks spoke with German State Secretary for the Federal Ministry of Defence Mr. Benedikt Zimmer today via secure video call to discuss top issues of mutual interest in the U.S.-German bilateral defense relationship.
The deputy secretary highlighted the positive impact of Germany's decision to increase defense spending and welcomed the country's close cooperation on providing assistance to Ukraine.
State Secretary Zimmer provided Deputy Secretary Hicks an update on the European Sky Shield Initiative, which will fill a critical NATO capability gap in air and missile defense. He emphasized the importance of integrating all systems within the initiative into the broader NATO air and missile defense network.
The two leaders also discussed the importance of securing supply chains and strengthening the defense industrial base as critical components of U.S. and European security. They agreed that one major component of this effort is addressing workforce challenges in key defense industries.
Deputy Secretary Hicks expressed appreciation for Germany's decision to provide lethal assistance to Ukraine, including artillery and air defense systems, and its support for U.S. training of Ukrainian forces.
She also applauded the joint efforts of Germany, Denmark and Norway to fund 16 howitzers from Slovakia for Ukraine, and identified these types of efforts as a potential model for providing additional capabilities to support Ukraine's military modernization.
The two leaders expressed their commitment to ongoing dialogue on issues of mutual concern to further deepen the U.S.-Germany bilateral defense relationship.