The “2016 White Paper on German Security Policy and the Future of the Bundeswehr” is the most imperative recent document to lay out the Germany’s principles and tools in shaping security policy at large. It discusses key elements of security policy, describes the international security environment, identifies strategic priorities, and points out areas of engagement in which Germany has the opportunity to shape policy. On first read, the paper´s most noticeable strength is the depth in which it explores its many concerns, from traditional policy power plays to the topical challenges of mass migration and climate change. The paper also bears testimony to the government´s clearly articulated commitment to a strategy that draws from all segments of society: domestic and international pundits, as well as consultants from both inside and outside the government, participated in drafting and shaping the document. This comprehensive approach to policymaking is in keeping with, and a step forward from, the German Federal Foreign Office´s “Review 2014,” a project that used a socially integrated approach to foreign policy strategy and analysis.
The timing of the White Paper coincides with the German parliament’s summer break, sheltering the document somewhat from immediate public scrutiny. It was enacted by the government on July 13, 2016, shortly after NATO’s 2016 Warsaw Summit: it is worth remarking that in the days leading up to the summit, General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg was outspoken in his public remarks on NATO’s antipodes.
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