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German Defence Policy in 2014 and beyond: Options for Change

German Defence Policy in 2014 and beyond: Options for Change

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Published by IFRI
The speeches made by several German leaders at the Munich Security Conference in early 2014, emphasized that Germany needs to be ready for greater international commitment, and without a priori excluding military instruments. While several elements seem to indicate growing awareness that change is needed, the nature of German contributions – especially in Africa – shows the long road ahead. A basic contradiction persists between the government’s rhetoric that Germany should participate in international operations and the political limitation on its contributions toward training, advisory functions and logistical support. Apart from political support at the highest level, increased responsibility needs also to be supported by public opinion, which still lacks enthusiasm for what it often perceives as militarism. Similarly, German defence export policy is torn between the government’s willingness to support industry in exporting and the negative feedback about these exports from the public.

Change may occur as a result of external developments, linked to NATO or the defence industry, but these impulses need to be taken up by national debate. It remains to be seen whether or not the direction taken will coincide with that outlined in Munich. The crisis in Ukraine must also be taken into account: it could have a catalytic effect, increasing Germany’s visibility and engagement in NATO. Through this crisis, Germany is under pressure to intensify its engagement.
The speeches made by several German leaders at the Munich Security Conference in early 2014, emphasized that Germany needs to be ready for greater international commitment, and without a priori excluding military instruments. While several elements seem to indicate growing awareness that change is needed, the nature of German contributions – especially in Africa – shows the long road ahead. A basic contradiction persists between the government’s rhetoric that Germany should participate in international operations and the political limitation on its contributions toward training, advisory functions and logistical support. Apart from political support at the highest level, increased responsibility needs also to be supported by public opinion, which still lacks enthusiasm for what it often perceives as militarism. Similarly, German defence export policy is torn between the government’s willingness to support industry in exporting and the negative feedback about these exports from the public.

Change may occur as a result of external developments, linked to NATO or the defence industry, but these impulses need to be taken up by national debate. It remains to be seen whether or not the direction taken will coincide with that outlined in Munich. The crisis in Ukraine must also be taken into account: it could have a catalytic effect, increasing Germany’s visibility and engagement in NATO. Through this crisis, Germany is under pressure to intensify its engagement.

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Published by: IFRI on Jul 01, 2014
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10/02/2014

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German Defence Policy in 2014 and beyond: Options for Change
 ___________________________________________________________ 
 
Claudia Major Christian Mölling
June 2014
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Study Committee for Franco-German Relations
 
Ifri is a research center and a forum for debate on major international political and economic issues. Headed by Thierry de Montbrial since its founding in 1979, Ifri is a non-governmental and a non-profit organization.  As an independent think tank, Ifri sets its own research agenda, publishing its findings regularly for a global audience. With offices in Paris and Brussels, Ifri stands out as one of the rare French think tanks to have positioned itself at the very heart of European debate. Using an interdisciplinary approach, Ifri brings together political and economic decision-makers, researchers and internationally renowned experts to animate its debates and research activities.
The opinions expressed in this article are the authors’ alone and do not reflect
the official views of their institutions.
Cerfa’s research activiti
es, editorial and publication secretariat are supported by the
Centre d’analyse, de prévision et de stratégie
of the ministère des  Affaires étrangères et du Développement international and by the Frankreich-Referat of the Auswärtiges Amt.
Editors : Yann-Sven Rittelmeyer, Hans Stark ISBN : 978-2-36567-295-5 © Ifri
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Authors
Claudia Major is deputy head of the Research Division “International security policy” at the German Institute for International and Security
 Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik).  After achieving a double Masters degree at Sciences-Po Paris and the Free University of Berlin she obtained her PhD from the University of Birmingham. She is an external speaker at Sciences Po Paris. Since 2010, C. Major is also member of the Advisory Board for Civilian Crisis Prevention of the Federal Foreign Office. Her research areas concern security and defence policy in Europe (Common Security and Defence Policy
 –
 CSDP) and within NATO, military-civilian issues and comprehensive approaches to crisis management. Furthermore, she takes an interest in British, German and French security and defence policy. Christian Mölling is Research associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik). He has previously done researches in several think tanks or institutions like the Fondation pour la recherche stratégique (FRS), the Permanent Representation of Germany to the European Union, the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), or the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy of the University of Hamburg (IFSH). He holds a PhD in political science from the Ludwig Maximilians University Munich (LMU). His research areas are the German and European Defence Industries, the European Defence cooperation, or the Defence policies of EU-Countries.

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