This essay pioneers a systems theory/liberalist approach to strategic culture. Employing a 3rd generation definition of strategic culture which treats security decisions as culturally unique and scientifically traceable, it works with the theory of Niklas Luhmann and Andrew Moravcsik. Societal interest groups operate within a society/environment milieu in their creation of strategic culture. The milieu is self-referential, ‘autopoeitic.’ Think tanks, ‘Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik’ (SWP) and ‘Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik’ (DGAP), have their Transatlantic leanings evaluated as autopoeitic milieus, for societal actor interest and structural coupling. SWP and DGAP have very different levels of autonomy in their research agenda/productive output, and likely different influence in German foreign policy towards the Transatlantic relationship. Evident is a ‘thought bubble’ (autopoeisis) and high level of structural coupling with non-government donors in DGAP, compared to SWP, with high research/production output autonomy – no thought bubble – and a low level of potential structural coupling with private corporations. SWP can be considered a quangos (quasi non-governmental organization), while DGAP cannot be. Think tanks evaluated exhibit societal actor behavior, operationally closed or open to evolutionary developments. This indicates that think tanks, and other systems involved in foreign policy creation, are malleable. Strategic culture is malleable.