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The new German White Paper on security policy: Sustainable days ahead?

Panel discussion and inauguration of the Centre for International Security Policy (CISP)

State Secretary Katrin Suder presented her perspective on the 2016 White Paper. In a panel discussion moderated by Sylke Tempel, she and Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger discussed the current state of German security policy and the most important challenges the country and its partners are facing. Specifically, they dealt with the importance of public support for a more active German security policy and the role that universities and think tanks can play in improving public debate on foreign and security policy. 

A multitude of severe crises in and beyond the European continent in recent years have triggered a renewed public interest in security policy. Politicians on both the national and international level have begun to adapt to the changing security landscape. In 2016, the German government published the White Paper on German Security Policy and the Future of the Bundeswehr, the first such document since 2006. The European Union also agreed on a new EU Global Strategy, just as NATO, at the Warsaw Summit, continued with its major strategic reorientation – begun two years previously at the Wales Summit. At the same time, Germany still lacks university programmes and academic research commensurate with its increasing role in European and Western foreign and security policy. As President Joachim Gauck remarked at the Munich Security Conference in 2014: “To find its proper course in these difficult times, Germany needs resources, above all intellectual resources. It needs minds, institutions and forums. A security conference once a year in Munich – that’s to be welcomed, but it’s not enough. I wonder if it isn’t time for all the universities to mobilise more than a handful of chairs where German foreign policy can be analysed. Doesn’t research on security issues need to be invigorated, to boost work on matters such as defence against cyber attacks by criminals or intelligence services?”


Helmut K. Anheier, Dean and President, Hertie School


Katrin Suder, State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Defence

Wolfgang Ischinger, Director, Centre for International Security Policy, Hertie School


Sylke Tempel, Editor-in-Chief, Internationale Politik and Berlin Policy Journal, German Council on Foreign Relations DGAP

The event was part of the Hertie School’s broader effort to contribute to well-informed public debate on security issues. Following the establishment of the Master of International Affairs (MIA) in 2015, the School took its next step towards achieving this goal: the event also marked the inauguration of the new Centre for International Security Policy (CISP) at the Hertie School. The centre, led by Professor Wolfgang Ischinger, pursues policy-relevant research on international security and serves as a hub for academics, policymakers and other stakeholders to advance the increasingly important debate on security policy among experts and the wider public.