July 22, 2015 | Select Work | TPF Staff

European-American Security Workshop

In 2013, the Potomac Foundation, in conjunction with Georgetown University, has reinstated the legendary European-American Security Workshop.

Originally founded and hosted by the great American strategist Albert Wohlstetter and Germany’s Uwe Nerlich during the last two decades of the Cold War, it aimed to encourage a thoughtful consideration of the Soviet offensive potential and its implications for European security, and to identify opportunities for joint defense initiatives.


Purposefully limited in size, the workshops were known for bringing together diverse groups of senior officials, academics, and rising intellects; as well as sitting SACEURs (Generals Haig, Rogers, Galvin and Joulwan).

The European-American Workshop was responsible for successfully promoting the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces modernization, introduction of AirLand Battle and Follow-On Forces Attack (FOFA) concepts in NATO.  One of the collateral, yet highly positive outcomes of these conferences was the creation of a network of personal relationships among strategists from a variety of nations — a number of whom would rise to key policy making positions of ambassadors, foreign and defense ministers, commanding generals, as well as the future Secretary General of NATO and the Western European Union.

TPF has been successful in reinstating the prestige, intellectual heft and policy influence of the original workshop. Our latest workshop, which took place last June in Florence, focused on the Lessons of Ukraine for Baltic Security and counted among its participants the Vice Minister of Defense from Lithuania, Deputy Ministers of Defense from Latvia and Estonia, senior defense officials from Poland, the U.K. and NATO; as well as U.S. Army/Europe representatives.

Significant political momentum achieved as result of the most recent workshop, as well as the immediacy of the Russian threat to the region, have convinced us to transition the workshop from an annual to a biannual basis.

We are currently planning a workshop for Fall 2015. This workshop would specifically address operational requirements for the Baltic region. The workshop will be hosted in Vilnius, Lithuania, on October 8-9 with the patronage of the Vice Minister of Defense of Lithuania.

The output from this workshop will include a collection of papers presented by participants, as well as a final report. However, most critically, we are hoping to gain operational insights derived from the candid discussion; and the multilateral consensus at the highest levels of military and policy decision-makers, which would inform each of their respective governments.

RELATED: May 2015 European-American Security Workshop (Florence, Italy)

RELATED: October 2015 European-American Security Workshop (Vilnius, Lithuania)