Field Study 2 Continues in Berlin: a First-hand View on Germany’s Strategic Defence, and Security Concerns and Policies
On the heels of Italy Day, Senior Course 143 (SC 143) continued the subsequent leg of its European Field Study in Germany, where on 3 November 2023, Course Members visited the Federal Ministry of Defence, attending a number of important and fruitful briefings, all comprising dedicated Q&A sessions, lively and enriching discussions, resulting in deeper understanding of Germany’s perspective and priorities. In the afternoon, Lieutenant General Max A.L.T. Nielsen, Commandant of the NATO Defense College, led the delegation to the Bundeswehr Memorial for a commemorative ceremony and laid a wreath in honour of all members of the German Armed Forces who lost their lives in service of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Upon arrival at the Federal Ministry of Defence, the NDC delegation was welcomed by Mr Nils Hilmer, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Defence who delivered welcome remarks, and provided an overview of the international security context and challenges that led the German Federal Government to change its defence policy. Since the Russian invasion of Crimea, Germany has significantly increased its contribution to NATO to bolster the Alliance’s security and deterrence posture on the eastern flank, under threat by Russia. Mr Hilmer also pointed out how Germany is sensitive to the Indo-Pacific issue, and spoke of German presence in that area.
Brigadier General Maik Keller, Chief of Division I, Directorate - General for Security and Defence Policy, then delivered “An Overview of German Security Policy”, pointing out how Germany will provide comprehensive and sustainable civilian and military support to Ukraine “for as long as it takes”. Germany is allotting resources and investments; supporting NATO’s eastern flank and future commitments; contributing to the European Union Rapid Deployment Capacity; and following through on partnerships and current military commitments within NATO, EU and UN, with approximately 24 400 troops.
RADM (Lower Half) Christian Bock, Chief of Division II, Directorate-General for Strategy and Operations at the Federal Ministry of Defence, briefed Course Members on the “Employment of Armed Forces in International Crisis Management and National and Collective Defence”, providing an outlook of current and future development of the German Armed Forces, and its national and international engagements, including in Africa and the Indo-Pacific area.
In the afternoon, following the visit to the Bundeswehr Memorial, Professor Carlo Masala, from the Bundeswehr University of Munich, shared his insights on “current national and international challenges in security policy”, speaking candidly about recent events that are the threatening the security environment: the Russian aggression to Ukraine, and the Israeli war against Hamas. He also spoke of Germany’s posture and contribution to responding to the situation.
Thus concluded the academic portion of the visit to Germany.