Uncertainty is a fundamental aspect of human existence. In politics, economics and civil society, decisions constantly have to be made that are based not on certainty, but on sound assumptions. This is why a large number of risk analysts, futurologists, strategy and planning departments, think tanks, etc. dedicate themselves to the task of rationalising decisions for the future and analysing contexts, actors and perspectives. In the field 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 a 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 side-lined.
The working group takes a systematic approach to investigating the opportunities and limitations involved in analysing future developments in security policy. Certain developments are more likely to become a reality than others. And although it is often the case that seen in retrospect, a simple continuation of existing trends did indeed occur, 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 fuller 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 use them 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 of the security policy perspectives of the “World in 2035” are better equipped to tackle the challenges of both the present and the future. The key objective here is to shift attention away from short-term problems and onto long-term developments, to increase awareness of these developments, and to initiate discussion and decision-making processes on central security policy challenges.
Prof. Dr. Cord Jakobeit, Programmbereich Politikwissenschaft, Universität Hamburg
Head of Department Science – Policy – Society, Head of Berlin Office
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