“To promote world peace in a united Europe” ‒ on the basis of this mission enshrined in the Grundgesetz (Basic Law), we want to shape a free international order that respects and upholds international law, the Charter of the United Nations, the sovereign equality of states, the prohibition on the threat or use of force, the right of all peoples to self-determination, and universal human rights.
In this National Security Strategy, the Federal Government describes what this means for us now and what conclusions we draw from that in order to ensure the security of our country and its people in the future. The Federal Government firmly believes that this aim can be achieved through a policy of Integrated Security. By this we mean the collaborative interaction of all relevant actors, resources and instruments that, in combination, can comprehensively guarantee the security of our country and strengthen it against external threats.
What shapes us – Germany in the world
As the most populous country and the largest economy in the heart of Europe, Germany bears special responsibility for peace, security, prosperity and stability, as well as for the sustainable use of our natural resources. We also assume this responsibility in awareness of our history. That is why we are grateful for the reconciliation with our European neighbours and why we will continue to take on responsibility for Israel’s right to exist.
The overarching guiding principle for the Federal Government’s actions is to protect our country, its free democratic order and our values. Our foreign and security policy is committed to a free international order based on international law and the Charter of the United Nations. We and our neighbouring country France enjoy a close friendship, in which we have overcome historical perceptions of enmity and to which we owe major steps in European integration, a process we view as indispensable. At the same time, we are firmly rooted in the transatlantic alliance, which expresses our close ties and partnership with the United States.
Where we stand – Germany and Europe in a changed security environment
Germany’s security environment is undergoing profound change and we are living through a watershed era, a Zeitenwende.
Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is a violation of international law and of the European security order. Today’s Russia is for now the most significant threat to peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic area.
We are living in an age of increasing multipolarity. Some countries are attempting to reshape the current international order, driven by their perception of systemic rivalry.
In this international context, China is a partner, competitor and systemic rival. We see that the elements of rivalry and competition have increased in recent years, but at the same time China remains a partner without whom many of the most pressing global challenges cannot be resolved.
Wars, crises and conflicts in Europe’s neighbourhood are having an adverse effect on Germany’s and Europe’s security. Fragile states are becoming a cradle and safe haven for terrorism, while internal conflicts are spilling over into other states.
In addition to this, our society and economy face complex threats: terrorism, extremism, organised crime, and illegal financial flows are on the rise, as are cyberattacks, which cause significant damage and pose risks to security and stability. Our critical infrastructure is being increasingly targeted by significant threats and disruptions. A secure supply of energy sources and raw materials is at risk. International economic and financial relations also have a security dimension. One-sided dependencies in these fields can develop into security risks.
The climate crisis is threatening our livelihoods and the very foundations of our economies. It already has security implications today. We can no longer entirely prevent the effects of this crisis, merely curb them. Poverty, hunger, diseases and the destruction of natural habitats pose a threat to millions of people around the world.
What we are doing – Integrated Security
Germany is a solid democracy with a vigorous economy and strong partners in Europe and around the world. We are therefore tackling the challenges of our age with confidence and optimism. In a changed world, we are redoubling our efforts with a view to keeping our country secure and free. Through a policy of Integrated Security, we will make sure that Germany is wehrhaft (robust) and resilient, and that it acts sustainably.
The paramount task of German security policy is to ensure that we can continue to live in our country in peace, freedom and security. Germany’s security is indivisible from that of our European partners and allies. Our commitment to NATO and the EU is unshakeable. We stand resolutely by the mutual defence pledge under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. We are strengthening the Bundeswehr as a cornerstone of defence in Europe. National and collective defence is the core task of the Bundeswehr, and this task includes our contribution to NATO’s deterrence capabilities. We will allocate two percent of our GDP, as an average over a multi-year period, to reaching NATO capability goals, initially in part via the newly created special fund for the Bundeswehr. At the same time, we will bolster investments in critical-infrastructure protection, cyber capabilities, effective diplomacy, civil protection, stabilising our partners, and dedicated humanitarian assistance and development cooperation.
We aim to strengthen civil preparedness and protection through a comprehensive approach involving the whole of society, with the Federal Government, the Länder, the municipalities, the business sector and the public taking on responsibility together. We are improving Federal Government support for the Länder in the field of disaster prevention and relief and making our critical infrastructure more resilient.
Our goal remains a Europe united in peace and freedom. We want to ensure that the European Union (EU) is able to act geopolitically and to uphold its security and sovereignty for the coming generations. The Federal Government supports further EU integration, cohesion, and enlargement to include the Western Balkan states, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and, in the longer term, Georgia. In order to prepare the EU for this enlargement and to ensure its continued ability to act, reforms within the EU are essential.
Our security is linked to the security and stability of other regions in the world. The EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy plays a key role in our crisis management. Integrated security means joining up civilian, military and police capabilities in crisis prevention, conflict management and peacebuilding and including these capabilities in our actions at international and multilateral level. In this context, the Federal Government will also take particular account of the interests of women and disadvantaged groups, in line with a feminist foreign and development policy.
The Federal Government will increase its engagement to fight poverty, hunger, social inequality and the climate crisis. Where governments undermine security and the rule of law, we will focus our cooperation to a greater extent on non-state actors, the local level and multilateral approaches. At the same time, we will strengthen those partner governments that, like us, are committed to upholding the international order based on international law. The Federal Government will align its development policy to an even greater extent with its strategic goals.
We will increase our efforts to uphold the global arms-control architecture, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation on the basis of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Our goal remains a safe world free of nuclear weapons.
As regards the control of arms exports, the Federal Government will continue to adhere to its restrictive baseline policy. When deciding on arms exports, it will take into account in particular human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the importing country. At the same time, the Federal Government takes into account alliance and security interests, the geostrategic situation and the needs of enhanced European arms cooperation.
Resilient: Safeguarding our values through inner strength
Our open society allows all people in Germany to live their lives in freedom. We therefore defend our free democratic order against illegitimate foreign interference, disinformation and all forms of extremism.
We are committed to upholding a free international order based on the Charter of the United Nations, universal human rights and international law. We actively support multilateralism and the strengthening of the United Nations. We counter attempts to divide the world into spheres of influence by promoting the positive model of such a rules-based order. We know that we see eye to eye here with partners who share our values and interests. At the same time, we endeavour to work more closely with countries that may not share all our values, but which, like us, are committed to this type of international order.
We implement an active human-rights policy, promote the elimination of discriminatory power structures and strive to foster participation and diversity. Where human rights are protected, crises and wars are less likely.
Our national economy is founded on rules-based access to markets, raw materials, technologies, and financial and human capital. We will reduce current one-sided dependencies in the supply of raw materials and energy, as well as in other strategically relevant areas, by diversifying our supply relationships and taking targeted steps to safeguard supply, for example of crucial raw materials; we will also uphold our country’s economic openness and innovativeness.
Germany’s resilience and competitiveness are based on its high level of innovativeness and on technological and digital sovereignty. The Federal Government will therefore provide targeted support for science and research, as well as for innovativeness in the business sector, and will take measures to protect against illegitimate interference and knowledge flows.
The state, the business and research sectors, and society as a whole must strengthen cybersecurity together. The Federal Government will not accept rule-breaking or aggressive conduct on the part of cyber actors; it will modernise its cybersecurity architecture and strengthen its abilities to defend against cyberattacks.
The free and unimpeded use of outer space is vital for our security. The Federal Government will expand its space capabilities and work to further develop the international order in space.
Curbing the climate crisis and dealing with its consequences is one of the fundamental and most pressing tasks of this century. Global emissions need to be drastically reduced. At the same time, a global, sustainable, green and socially just transformation presents great opportunities, as it not only means clean energy, but also fewer dependencies. We need climate-crisis adaptation strategies to protect people and natural spaces. We require equally great dynamism to overcome the biodiversity and ecosystem crisis. In order to counter these global crises, all states must participate.
Hunger and malnutrition impair people’s health, jeopardise the economic foundations of entire societies and lead to setbacks in development work. The Federal Government wants to strengthen global food security via transformation to sustainable agricultural and food systems. In doing so, we will focus in particular on disadvantaged and vulnerable people. In addition, we are advocating more strongly for fair trade and the removal of trade restrictions in accordance with human-rights standards.
The global prevention of and swift reaction to pandemics is key to guaranteeing human security. The Federal Government is therefore intensifying its international endeavours in this field. In this context, it is pursuing a One Health approach that focuses on the links between the health of humans, animals and the environment. At the same time, we will enhance our national resilience by ensuring our long-term ability to provide medical care and maintain our supply chains, training specialised experts, improving early detection of pandemic risks and investing in research and development with security relevance.
Security is an issue of relevance to everybody in our country; everyone shares responsibility for it and can contribute to it. That is why the Federal Government wants to use this National Security Strategy to promote an ongoing process of interaction between all state levels, the business sector and society, thus further developing the strategic culture in Germany.
In pursuing this policy of Integrated Security, our aim is to work with our allies, neighbours and partners to foster security in Europe and around the globe. We want to shape our future together ‒ in awareness of the risks, but with confidence and with every faith in our strengths.