Uncertainty is a fundamental aspect of human existence. And yet in politics, economics and civil society, decisions must constantly be made that are not based on certainty but rather on sound assumptions. Hence a growing number of risk analysts, futurologists, strategy and planning departments, think tanks, etc. are devoting themselves to the task of rationalising decisions for the future and considering contexts, stakeholders and perspectives. In the field of security policy, where the central task of the state is to ensure citizens’ safety both nationally and internationally, the planning horizon is often determined by the demands of everyday politics and the fixation on election cycles however. Meanwhile, long-term developments and trends as well as the dependence on developments in other parts of the world are sidelined.
The working group takes a systematic approach to investigate the opportunities and limitations in the analysis of future developments in security policy. Certain developments are far more likely to become a reality than others. While it is often the case that, in retrospect, the simple continuation of existing trends does indeed correspond with the actual development, it is just as important to systematically consider which disruptions could ultimately render such simple extrapolation entirely obsolete. Only those who understand the present and are able to gauge possible discontinuities in addition to shifts in the significance of key variables can 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, review important trends and possible discontinuities, and use these to deduce a set of clearly-defined recommendations for policymakers and the general 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 meet the challenges of both the present and the future. The key objective here is to shift attention from the short-term problems to the long-term developments, increase awareness of these, and initiate discussion and decision-making processes on central security policy challenges.
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The project is financed by the German National Academy of Sciences – Leopoldina.