We are experiencing a turning point. And that means: the world ahead is no longer the same as the world before.” This is how German Chancellor Olaf Scholz described Germany’s and Europe’s situation on February 27, 2022, a few days after Russia invaded Ukraine. In the midst of this upheaval, the German government is now drawing up the first comprehensive national security strategy for the country.

The challenges are enormous. War in Europe, emerging great power conflict, technological arms races, societal polarization, and an accelerating climate crisis: these are just some of the problems for which policymakers must find ambitious answers. When launching the strategy development process in March 2022, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock defined three pillars on which it will rest: the inviolability of our lives, the security of our freedom, and the security of the foundations that undergird our livelihoods. Guided by these principles, the security strategy will be developed across different ministries in the coming months.

What is this security strategy about? 

Unlike previous strategies, the National Security Strategy will serve as the German government’s overarching umbrella document”. As such, it will function as a reference framework for future, more specific strategy documents developed by the different ministries or on specific issue areas. The security strategy is expected to take stock of the state of Germany’s security and defense policies: What interests is Germany pursuing? Which current and future security and defense policy challenges should the German government prioritize? And how does Germany intend to address these issues? Ideally, the document will also increase transparency and provide orientation – internally for German citizens and externally for Germany’s partners in Europe, but also across the Atlantic and globally. Finally, the strategy will also address the question of which institutional innovations Germany needs to tackle in order to live up to its integrated security” approach. Many proposals and answers to these questions already exist – some of which will be available for reading on this platform.

What to Expect Here

How can Germany shape a secure future in and outside of Europe? What does it take for Berlin to preserve peace and prosperity at home and foster greater strategic engagement abroad? And what is really different about this world after”? The coming months will see German and international experts from academia, civil society and politics grapple with these and other questions on this platform. To accompany the German government’s strategy process, 49security curates the most important topics and debates surrounding the National Security Strategy – and offers space for strong opinions, a diverse set of voices and ideas on how Germany can better position itself in this rapidly changing world.

We hope to encourage readers to think about security and strategy, and to present proposals and initiate debates around these issues. In doing so, we deliberately apply a broad understanding of security. You’ll be able to read all of this in the form of opinion pieces, interviews and debates.

And the Name?

A symbolic link between Germany, Europe and the rest of the world – in the best case, a national security strategy fulfills this function, too. With this image in mind, we arrived at the name of our platform. We are giving a nod to +49 – Germany’s international calling code. If you want to get through to Germany or hope for any answers from there, you’ll have to call here. But there is more to it than that. Our plus” stands for the conviction that more is possible: more imagination, more strategy, more creative will, more listening, more partnership. And what better way to get started than with more voices and ideas?

Who We Are

49security is a project of the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) in Berlin and generously funded by the German Federal Foreign Office. The editorial team is located at GPPi. Responsibility for the content and opinions expressed in the articles and interviews lies with the respective authors.

If you have questions or feedback, you can reach us at fourninesecurity@​gppi.​net.


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