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Germany: Defence Policy Guidelines for the Zeitenwende [VIDEO]

By Defence Industry Europe

On November 9, 2023, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius, alongside General Carsten Breuer, Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, presented significant revisions to the country's defence policy guidelines at the Bundeswehr conference. The new guidelines, the first in over a decade, respond to the dramatically altered threat landscape in Europe, particularly following Russia's attack on Ukraine.

 

Minister Pistorius emphasized the changed reality of war’s return to Europe, underscoring Germany’s role as a central figure in European defense: “As the most populous and economically strong country in the middle of Europe, Germany must be the backbone of deterrence and collective defence in Europe.”

 

 

The defence policy document outlines the Bundeswehr’s primary mission as national and alliance defence, requiring a war-capable force. It states, “A life in peace and freedom can no longer be taken for granted in the center of Europe.” The guidelines emphasize readiness for high-intensity combat, reflecting a shift towards more robust defence postures.

 

On November 9, 2023, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius, alongside General Carsten Breuer, Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, presented significant revisions to the country's defence policy guidelines at the Bundeswehr conference. The new guidelines, the first in over a decade, respond to the dramatically altered threat landscape in Europe, particularly following Russia's attack on Ukraine.

 

While the core mission of the Bundeswehr remains national defence, the guidelines acknowledge that Germany’s military commitment must extend beyond its borders. Crises, conflicts, and regional tensions in areas like Africa, the Middle East, the Arctic, and the Indo-Pacific also demand attention. The document describes China as “a partner, competitor, and systemic rival,” highlighting the complexity of contemporary global relations.

 

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The Bundeswehr is positioned as an indispensable contributor to international crisis management, crucial for maintaining stability in Europe’s neighborhood. The guidelines advocate for an integrated defence policy, including global military cooperation in training, exercises, and armaments.

These Defence Policy Guidelines 2023 are built upon the National Security Strategy adopted earlier and aim to further develop the security policy goals. They replace the 2016 White Paper and the Bundeswehr’s 2018 concept, marking a significant shift in Germany’s defence strategy.

 

 

Looking ahead, these guidelines will inform a new capability profile and military strategy for the Bundeswehr. General Breuer highlighted their importance: “They are the guard rails for our structures, leadership culture, personnel recruitment, equipment, and training.”

Beyond the military, the guidelines also call for enhanced state resilience, urging interconnectedness among all societal actors in peacetime to strengthen overall defence capabilities. This holistic approach emphasizes the integration of state, society, and economy in fortifying national security.

 

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