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The 2011 Defense Policy Guidelines

The Defense Policy Guidelines set the strategic framework for the mission and the tasks of the Bundeswehr as an element of the whole-of-government approach to security. They describe the security objectives and security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Bundesadler und Schriftzug Verteidigungspolitische Richtlinien

Federal Eagle and und writing Defense Policy Guidelines (Source: Bundeswehr/Alkewitz)Größere Abbildung anzeigen

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Mission and Tasks of the Bundeswehr

The mission and tasks of the Bundeswehr are based on an assessment of the current situation, which also allows for current and likely future developments. The current situation and the possible developments constitute the binding terms of reference for the conceptual framework of the Bundeswehr and all related subsequent work within the purview of the German Ministry of Defense.

The lessons learned from military missions in recent years and the analysis of security developments go to show that Germany's security tools need to be adapted to counter the threat. From an interdepartmental perspective, this also means that the armed forces need to deal with changing requirements.

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Risks and Threats

Today, it is not so much the strength of other nations that poses the greatest challenge, but rather their weakness. Failing states and failed states give rise to security threats such as civil wars, regional destabilization, humanitarian crises and related phenomena, including radicalization and migration movements that help create safe havens and retreats for international terrorism and organized crime. International terrorism continues to be a major threat to the freedom and security of our country and our allies.

A direct territorial threat to Germany involving conventional military means, though, remains an unlikely event. This is because of the continued change in the strategic security environment which started years ago. Security is not defined merely in geographical terms. Developments in regions at the periphery of Europe and outside the European zone of security and stability may unleash their effects on the security of Germany. Crises and conflicts may emerge at any time, at short notice and without prior warning and may require swift action to be taken even over large distances.

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Current as of 3/5/15