Partnerships

German, U.S. Defense Leaders Talk Shop at Pentagon

April 12, 2019

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan and German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen met at the Pentagon to confer about a wide range of issues critical to the defense relationship between the two allies.

Shanahan expressed appreciation for Germany’s role as host to the largest U.S. force presence in Europe, which he said is critical to supporting U.S. worldwide operations.

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan hosts German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, at the Pentagon
Defense Minister
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan hosts German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen with an honor cordon at the Pentagon, April 12, 2019.
Photo By: Lisa Ferdinando, DOD
VIRIN: 190412-D-BN624-0075C

The military-to-military relationship between the United States and Germany is one of the strongest in Europe. Here’s why:

  • Germany hosts the largest U.S. force presence in Europe and the second-largest U.S. overseas presence in the world. Japan has the largest.
  • Germany is the second-highest troop contributor to NATO operations, and serves as a framework nation in Afghanistan and the alliance’s Enhanced Forward Presence activity in Lithuania.

Soldiers perform maintenance on tanks.
Tank Maintenance
Soldiers prepare for Allied Spirit X by retracking an M1A2 SEP V3 Abrams tank in Hohenfels, Germany, April 3, 2019. The exercise included about 5,600 participants from 15 nations, including the United States and Germany.
Photo By: Army Capt. Margaret Ziffer
VIRIN: 190403-Z-DG846-021C
Soldiers exit an airplane and shake hands with other soldiers.
Commander Greeting
Richard Grenell, U.S. ambassador to Germany; U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John Gronski, deputy commanding general for the Army National Guard; and Maj. Gen. Carsten Breuer of the German army, commander of Germany’s Bundeswehr Territorial Tasks Command, greet soldiers arriving at Berlin-Tegel Airport, Germany, March 21, 2019.
Photo By: Army Staff Sgt. Kris Bonet
VIRIN: 190321-A-CI827-194C

  • The U.S. has a robust military personnel exchange program with Germany, in which German military personnel embed in U.S. units, and vice versa. Notably, the chief of staff to the commander of U.S. Army Europe is a German officer.
  • In 2019, Germany commenced a two-year stint on the United Nations Security Council, and is currently the chair of the council. Germany contributes to U.N. peacekeeping operations, including the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali and the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon.

A soldier uses a radio.
Radio Report
A German soldier radios in a situation report during an exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, April 5, 2019. Exercise Allied Spirit X included about 5,600 participants from 15 nations, including the United States and Germany.
Photo By: Army Spc. Meagan Mooney
VIRIN: 190405-A-VR275-1067C

  • The United States and Germany are commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift this year. From June 24, 1948, to May 12, 1949, U.S., British, French, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and South African aircrews flew more than 200,000 sorties, providing West Berliners up to nearly 13,000 tons of necessities such as fuel and food in a day.

Soldiers look at radios.
Radio Check
An airman conducts a radio check during an exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, April 4, 2019. Exercise Allied Spirit X included about 5,600 participants from 15 nations, including the United States and Germany.
Photo By: Army Pfc. Enrique Moya
VIRIN: 190404-A-EB230-1014C