Communiques and Capabilities

Wednesday, July 21, 2021, 9:00 – 10:00 am EDT // 15:00 – 16:00 CEST

Making the Aspirations of NATO & U.S.-EU Summits a Reality

With keynote remarks by
Spencer Boyer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy

followed by a panel discussion with American, German, and European experts:
Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook, Director and CEO, German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
Linas Linkevičius, former Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs
Amb. Alexander Vershbow, Distinguished Fellow, Atlantic Council; former NATO Deputy Secretary General
Moderated by: Jeff Rathke, President, American-German Institute

At the NATO and U.S.-EU summits in June 2021, the United States and its European partners committed to investing in transatlantic technological leadership and to addressing existing, new, and future threats and challenges. NATO allies reiterated the importance of an appropriately resourced, capable alliance in the face of aggressive Russian actions. What steps are required next to realize these goals, and how should the U.S. and its European partners prioritize their political and security engagement? How will the upcoming election affect Germany’s position on its security responsibilities? What capabilities from Europe are crucial, and where do they fall short? Join us to discuss the transatlantic security priorities and how the United States, Germany, and their European partners will approach them.

Spencer P. Boyer is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy. In this role, he is responsible for managing the day-to-day defense relationship between the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the European Union, and the nations of Europe. He also supports the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs by developing and implementing key security strategies in Europe and deepening defense cooperation with over 30 countries.

Mr. Boyer served in senior roles in both terms of the Obama administration. From 2009 – 2011, he was a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, where his portfolio included Western Europe, public diplomacy, and public affairs. From 2014 – 2017, he was the National Intelligence Officer (NIO) for Europe in the National Intelligence Council—the center for long-range strategic thinking within the U.S. Intelligence Community. As NIO, he served as the senior European affairs analyst and principal subject matter expert on Europe for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and as the primary bridge between the intelligence and policy communities on European affairs.

Mr. Boyer has been an Adjunct Professor at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a Director, Senior Fellow, or Visiting Scholar with numerous think tanks, including the Center for American Progress, the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Brookings Institution, the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University (NYU) School of Law. He has also been a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow at Harvard Law School.

Mr. Boyer began his professional career as an Associate with the international law firm of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue in Washington, D.C. Subsequently, he worked in The Hague as a Law Clerk to the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, in Zurich as a Staff Attorney at the Claims Resolution Tribunal for Dormant Accounts in Switzerland, and in Paris as Counsel at the International Court of Arbitration. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and received his J.D. from NYU School of Law, where he specialized in public international law and the work of international organizations. While at NYU, he also obtained a master’s degree in French Studies, with a concentration in French politics, history, and economy.

Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook began her work as director and CEO of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) on June 15, 2021.

Before joining DGAP, Clüver Ashbrook was executive director of the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts for ten years. The project, which she co-founded, addresses 21st-century foreign policy challenges through research by international leaders in academia and diplomacy as well as teaching conflict research and prevention. Since 2018, Clüver Ashbrook has also directed a research program on Europe and transatlantic relations. Previously, she served on the management board of the European Policy Centre (EPC) in Brussels and worked as both a consultant and senior journalist at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants in France and China, among other countries. She began her career as a television journalist at CNN International in Atlanta and London.

Clüver Ashbrook contributes to international publications, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, as well as leading German media on transatlantic relations – especially trade and security policy – and German foreign and digital policy. She also advises foreign ministries in Europe and South America on their digital strategy.

From 2012 to 2020, Linas Linkevičius served as Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Before, Ambassador Linkevičius served as the Lithuanian Permanent Representative to NATO from 2005 until 2011. Prior to this he was elected as a Member of Seimas (Parliament) from 1992 until 1996. In 1993, he was promoted to Minister of National Defence of Lithuania, a post which he held from 1993-1996. He was then appointed as the Ambassador and Head of Mission of Lithuania to NATO and the WEU. From 2000-2004, Ambassador Linkevičius was appointed again as Minister of National Defence of Lithuania. From 2004-2005, he was the Ambassador for Special Missions at the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2012, he was the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Lithuania to the Republic of Belarus.

Ambassador Alexander “Sandy” Vershbow is a distinguished fellow with the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and Eurasia Center. Ambassador Vershbow was the deputy secretary general of NATO from February 2012 to October 2016.

Prior to his post at NATO, Ambassador Vershbow served for three years as the US assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. In that position, he was responsible for coordinating US security and defense policies relating to the nations and international organizations of Europe (including NATO), the Middle East, and Africa.

From 1977 to 2008, Vershbow was a career member of the United States Foreign Service. He served as US ambassador to NATO (1998-2001); to the Russian Federation (2001-05); and to the Republic of Korea (2005-08). He held numerous senior positions in Washington, including special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs at the National Security Council (1994-97) and State Department director for Soviet Union affairs (1988-91). During his career, he was centrally involved in strengthening US defense relations with allies in Europe and Asia and in transforming NATO and other European security organizations to meet post-Cold War challenges. He also was involved in efforts to support democracy and human rights in the former Soviet Union.

This webinar will convene via Zoom. Please contact Ms. Elizabeth Hotary at with any questions.

This webinar is supported by the United States diplomatic mission in Germany.