General Stéphane Abrial, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation of NATO, discussed key elements of the Alliance’s New Strategic Concept, with particular emphasis on the need for improved cooperation between the EU and NATO. He singled out recent successes in Haiti, Georgia, and Kosovo as examples of effective collaboration and emphasized that no single institution can function effectively on the global stage alone. General Abrial remained optimistic that despite budgetary restraints, the EU and NATO could work more efficiently and effectively to meet common objectives. He highlighted the need for greater and more consistent outreach to the alliance’s stakeholders, and the importance of growing public understanding and support of NATO and its multiple missions. He concluded that if the EU and NATO were to work on a global scale with a unified effort, they would be more capable of achieving success in future endeavors.  The discussion was moderated by Ambassador Robert Hunter, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and a Senior Advisor at RAND Corporation.

Click here to read the full text of General Abrial's remarks.

The European Institute hosted The Honorable Eric Hirschhorn, U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security, who discussed the challenges facing the implementation of President Obama’s export control initiative and the implications for the transatlantic trade relationship.  Under Secretary Hirschhorn said that the President’s initiative will not only streamline export control processes but will also cut the number of items protected by current controls and require licenses for fewer components.  The Under Secretary emphasized that the reforms under consideration should not place any additional legal burden on U.S. companies, and that the Administration's goal is to make the process less cumbersome and more hospitable to growing the export market.  Under Secretary Hirschhorn remained hopeful that the U.S. Congress would take up the export control legislation this year, or at the latest, early next year.

Click here to read the full text of Under Secretary Hirschhorn's remarks.

In a drive to prove how serious it is about nuclear disarmament, the Obama administration last week made public the size of the American nuclear arsenal – 5, 113 weapons. This number attests a drastic cut back from cold war levels and is intended to show that the U.S. is complying with its responsibility under the forty-year-old nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by its own moves toward nuclear disarmament and wants other signatory nations such as Iran to adhere to their commitments to refrain from seeking nuclear weapons.

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In nuclear-weapons policy, President Barack Obama has redefined the purpose of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Since the birth of the atomic bomb and the onset of the cold war, these weapons have been justified as a deterrent against attack by a rival superpower. That fear no longer exists, and the Obama administration has responded to strategists’ conclusion that the real current danger has changed. Now it has become the threat of proliferation of nuclear weapons and the concurrent rising risk that nuclear weapons may fall into terrorists’ hands. As a result, the Obama administration wants to assign the U.S. nuclear arsenal and nuclear doctrine a new main purpose: increasing global political pressure against nuclear proliferation.

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Transatlantic Press Review: Pentagon Slammed for Poor Management

The collapse of the joint tanker bid by Northrop Grumman and EADS triggered extensive and strongly worded media criticism on both sides of the Atlantic of the Obama administration’s handling of the bidding process by the Pentagon. These commentaries are echoed in private by many U.S. and European officials, who say that it further dims hopes for reversing a declining trend in transatlantic defense relations, starting with defense-industrial cooperation.

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