Germany is set to strengthen its military and become the backbone of deterrence and collective defense in Europe, according to a new defense guideline. The guideline, the first since 2011, will provide a detailed breakdown of the policy shift known as “Zeitenwende” announced by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
To address the attrition suffered by the military since the Cold War, Germany has allocated a 100-billion-euro special fund for the purchase of modern weapons. In an editorial for Tagesspiegel, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius emphasized that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has fundamentally changed the continent’s security situation, prompting Germany to take on a new role.
Pistorius stated that Germany aims to become the backbone of deterrence and collective defense in Europe in response to the heightened security threats. He emphasized that just as Germany benefited from the presence of allied troops during the Cold War, its partners now expect Berlin to exercise leadership and fulfill its responsibilities.
As a demonstration of Germany’s commitment, Pistorius highlighted the permanent deployment of a combat brigade to Lithuania, a first for the country. He announced fundamental changes across all areas of the Bundeswehr, aiming to make it “ready to fight a war.” The future structure of the German forces will be determined by the defense needs of the country and its allies.
While specific details of the envisioned changes were not provided, Pistorius emphasized that it marks a significant shift from Germany’s focus on foreign missions, such as those in Afghanistan, in recent decades.
Germany’s defense guideline signifies a renewed commitment to its military capabilities and its role in ensuring deterrence and collective defense in Europe. The country’s efforts to modernize its armed forces and assume a leadership position reflect the evolving security landscape and the need for a strong defense posture.