The Club of Three, in partnership with ThyssenKrupp, held a special meeting on defence in Essen-Kettwig in March 2007. It focused on the concept of a ‘long war’ against terrorism and whether the West was equipped to win it.
Participants were welcomed at the Schloss Hugenpoet by the then CEO of ThyssenKrupp Technologies, Olaf Berlien. Discussions focused on the nature of the threat from hostile states such as North Korea, terrorist groups and collapsing states (Session I). In the second session, the debate moved onto European procurement, government approaches to defence technology and the appropriate finance models. The USA’s role as a defence collaborator and/or competitor was also debated. The final session examined the role of politics, diplomacy and public opinion in defence. Participants asked whether defence should be repackaged as ‘homeland security’ in order to garner support for higher spending and operations abroad. And which out of the EU, UN and NATO was the most effective instrument for international cooperation?
Discussions were complemented by a keynote speech over dinner at the Schloss Landsberg from Christian Schmidt, then Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Defence. Major General Simon Mayall, then Assistant Chief of the General Staff at the UK Ministry of Defence, spoke on the “realities of Iraq” over lunch the next day.
Around 40 senior defence officials, industry figures and politicians took part. Among those were: Axel Arendt (then President of Defence Aerospace, Rolls-Royce plc); Hans-Christoph Atzpodien (then CEO of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems); Jean-Paul Béchat (then CEO of SAFRAN); Thomas Enders (then CEO of EADS Deutschland); Sir Michael Pakenham (Senior Adviser, Access Industries); Denis Ranque (then Chairman and CEO of Thales); and Nick Witney (then Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency).