Minister of Defence Christine Lambrecht will deliver a policy speech on the first German National Security Strategy on 12 September. The Minister will address renowned representatives from the fields of politics, academia, Bundeswehr and civil society.
The event hosted by the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik) will be streamed live on bmvg.de. The German Chief of Defence, General Eberhard Zorn, will participate alongside the Minister.
But why is Germany developing a National Security Strategy in the first place? What is its purpose? Which role will the Bundeswehr play in the Strategy? Lieutenant Colonel (GS) Philipp Lange from the FMoD is here to answer these and other questions on the matter.
What is the first German National Security Strategy?
First of all, the National Security Strategy is part of the coalition agreement reached by the parties that form the Federal Government. They agreed that they would prepare a comprehensive National Security Strategy.
For the Federal Government, the purpose of the National Security Strategy is to address current and future challenges to our security policy, be they domestic or external, in a comprehensive, integrated and innovative approach which is interministerial and spans all levels.
What makes this project special?
The project is special for two reasons. The first is its timing. For over six months now, Russia has been waging a ruthless and completely unjustified, aggressive war against Ukraine that fundamentally impacts the European security architecture. In Germany, too, we are seeing direct consequences of the conflict in almost all areas of society and policy. Given these circumstances, the Strategy comes at the right time to provide much-needed guidance and to state in clear terms how German security policy will be geared towards the challenges of the “Zeitenwende”.
The methodological approach to developing the Strategy is also unique. Ultimately, the National Security Strategy is to provide comprehensive answers to the diverse security challenges of our time. That goes far beyond traditional defence political issues and includes matters ranging from development cooperation to the defence against cyber risks. The goal is to create an interministerial consensus and draw on that to develop practical recommendations or guidelines. This is why, right from the beginning, the different ministries are closely involved in the drafting process coordinated by the Federal Foreign Office.
Which role does the Bundeswehr play in the National Security Strategy?
The Bundeswehr guarantees the freedom and security of Germany, the German people and our Allies. To do so, it must be modern and combat capable. It is a fundamental and indispensable tool of a security policy that is multilateral in nature and based on values. The Bundeswehr considers itself to be a key element of a new concept of “integrated security”. The National Security Strategy will set out the details of this concept and deduce practical actions.
Which challenges will the National Security Strategy entail for our armed forces?
The current security environment proves that we were right to refocus the Bundeswehr towards national and collective defence, as we did in the last years. Now, with the “Zeitenwende”, Bundeswehr capabilities and structures will be geared even more strongly towards national and collective defence. This is illustrated by our increased contributions at NATO’s eastern flank. These tasks can only be developed and carried out together with our allies, particularly within NATO.
The Bundeswehr is taking on a leading military role in the Alliance, too. We will continue to provide those capabilities that make Germany a partner for other European nations to lean on. In addition, the Bundeswehr will keep up its appropriate contribution to international crisis prevention and crisis management activities.
Moreover, an integrated approach means that the Bundeswehr will contribute to deepening and developing strategic partnerships as a means of defence policy and defence diplomacy. Our increased presence and participation in international exercises in the Indo-Pacific is an excellent example.
What does the National Security Strategy mean in terms of Germany’s broader security context in these times?
The National Security Strategy will be the overarching security policy document for the Federal Government. This means that it will serve as a guideline for the strategic orientation and practical implementation of Germany’s security and defence policy. That does not mean, however, that the strategy will provide detailed answers to all questions. Rather, it will enable the individual ministries to implement commonly agreed objectives within their own area of responsibility.
This is why it is important that, both for ourselves and for our partners, the National Security Strategy give guidance on or an explanation of what the “Zeitenwende” means for Germany. It will also lay down the direction for Germany to fulfil its responsible leadership role at the heart of Europe and make its necessary contributions to European freedom and security and to its alliances (NATO, EU).
What is the societal relevance of the project?
The DGAP Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik event with Defence Minister Lambrecht will be broadcast publicly and bears testament to the great significance we attach to a discussion with academia, parliament, associations and the general public. The National Security Strategy is not just intended by the government for the government. It is important to us that the people in our country support the direction of this future strategy. This is why we are seeking a dialogue with our citizens, as it is their security that is at stake.Furthermore, the Federal Government is in close contact with experts from think tanks and academia. We also have an important and lively exchange on the matter with our Allies and partners to learn about their expectations of us and their strategic reflections and processes that may be beneficial to us. Our National Security Strategy must be compatible with what our Allies and partners do.