Episode 105: Steadfast, Capable, and Ready: An Address by H.E. Boris Pistorius, German Minister of Defense

Boris Pistorius

German Minister of Defense

Boris Pistorius took office as Minister of Defense on January 19, 2023. The Minister of Defense is the commander-in-chief of the German armed forces. A member of the Social Democratic Party, Minister Pistorius previously served as the Minister of Interior and Sport in the state of Lower Saxony from 2013 to 2023 and as Mayor of the city of Osnabrück from 2006 to 2013.

Jeffrey Rathke

Jeff Rathke

President of AGI

Jeffrey Rathke is the President of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.

Prior to joining AICGS, Jeff was a senior fellow and deputy director of the Europe Program at CSIS, where his work focused on transatlantic relations and U.S. security and defense policy. Jeff joined CSIS in 2015 from the State Department, after a 24-year career as a Foreign Service Officer, dedicated primarily to U.S. relations with Europe. He was director of the State Department Press Office from 2014 to 2015, briefing the State Department press corps and managing the Department's engagement with U.S. print and electronic media. Jeff led the political section of the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur from 2011 to 2014. Prior to that, he was deputy chief of staff to the NATO Secretary General in Brussels. He also served in Berlin as minister-counselor for political affairs (2006–2009), his second tour of duty in Germany. His Washington assignments have included deputy director of the Office of European Security and Political Affairs and duty officer in the White House Situation Room and State Department Operations Center.

Mr. Rathke was a Weinberg Fellow at Princeton University (2003–2004), winning the Master’s in Public Policy Prize. He also served at U.S. Embassies in Dublin, Moscow, and Riga, which he helped open after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mr. Rathke has been awarded national honors by Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as several State Department awards. He holds an M.P.P. degree from Princeton University and B.A. and B.S. degrees from Cornell University. He speaks German, Russian, and Latvian.



In this special episode of The Zeitgeist, we are sharing German Minister of Defense Boris Pistorius’ address at an event hosted by AGI and Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies on May 9, 2024. “Steadfast, Capable, and Ready: Germany’s Security Renaissance and Transatlantic Defense” details Germany’s approach to international security and the transatlantic partnership. It is followed by a conversation between Minister Pistorius and AGI President Jeff Rathke, along with several questions from the audience.


Jeff Rathke, President, AGI


Boris Pistorius, German Minister of Defense

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American-German Institute.