Uncertainty shapes human existence. Although political, economic and social decisions are con-stantly subject to uncertainty, they nevertheless must be made on the basis of well-founded as-sumptions. Therefore, a large number of risk analysts and futurologists, strategy and planning departments, think tanks, etc., are dedicated to rationalizing future decisions and dealing with the environment, the players involved and the perspectives. In the area of security policy, where the key task of the state is to guarantee the safety of its citizens both internally and externally, the planning horizon is nevertheless often determined by the demands of everyday politics and the fixation on election cycles. Meanwhile, long-term developments and trends as well as the state’s dependency on developments in other parts of the world are pushed into the background.
The working group takes a systematic approach to investigating the opportunities and limitations involved in analyzing future developments in security policy. Certain developments are more likely to become a reality than others. Although a simple continuation of existing trends can often be noted in retrospect, it is just as important to think systematically about potential disruptions and rifts that could render such simple extrapolation entirely obsolete. Only those who understand the present and can gauge possible discontinuities as well as shifts in the significance of key variables are in a position to allow their present actions to be guided by a broader understanding of the future.
The aim of the working group is to look into long-term developments, draft a statement on expectations, important trends and possible discontinuities and then use it to extract a set of clearly defined recommendations for policymakers and the public.
Those with well-informed notions of changes in the security situation and the security policy per-spectives of the “World in 2035” are well equipped to meet the challenges of both the present and the future. The key objective here is to shift the attention away from short-term problems on to long-term developments, to raise awareness of them and to initiate discussion and decisionmaking processes on key security policy challenges.
Prof. Dr. Cord Jakobeit, Programmbereich Politikwissenschaft, Universität Hamburg