Citizen Participation (I)

BERLIN (Own report) – The Federal Academy for Security Policy (BAKS) is calling for a propaganda campaign to strengthen the German population’s resilience to attacks in their country by enemy combatants. In collaboration with “media partners” and “civil society,” an “understanding” must be achieved that “firmness against crisis” by each citizen towards “terrorist attacks” forms an “integral part” of society’s overall resilience,” explains the government’s military policy think tank. BAKS explicitly refers to the “White Paper on Security Policy and Future of the Bundeswehr,” presented by the German Defense Ministry in 2016, which is also pleading “to improve the ability of both state and society to withstand and adapt” to all kinds of attacks, necessitating a “whole-of-government approach to security.” The state-owned Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft had launched urban projects along the same lines, already years ago, in which “each individual citizen” is considered “part of a comprehensive concept of resilience to multiple security risks.”

Crisis Resistant Citizens

In a current “Working Paper,” Lieutenant Colonel Michael Hanisch, the Executive Assistant to the President of the Federal Academy for Security Policy (BAKS) is calling for “measures to advance the strengthening of resilience in Germany.” The set of measures, he is proposing include an “information campaign” to be launched in cooperation with “media partners” and “civil society.” Each citizen’s “firmness against crises, be it towards propaganda, fake news or terrorist attacks, ultimately forms an integral part of society’s intended overall resilience. To make the general public understand this – ultimately leading to their willingness to actively contribute – will require a great deal of explaining and persuading.”[1]

Society’s Ability to Protect and Help Itself

To create the conditions for such a propaganda campaign, Lieutenant Colonel Hanisch proposes to proceed in several coordinated steps. First, a “framework model” should be developed, which would define “major requirements” for “strengthening resilience.” This, however, should not only be oriented toward the “provision of public and commercial measures to prevent and manage crises,” but should include measures for “society’s ability to protect and help itself.” The author subsequently proposes to “establish an ‘Advisory Council for Resilience Promotion’ at the German Chancellery, consisting of representatives from all relevant areas of state and society.” The Advisory Council could assist in determining “whose resilience is more relevant or critical for whole-of-society security,” Hanisch explains, referring to “certain groups of persons or occupational categories” such as policemen, fire fighters and paramedics as well as “sensitive infrastructure (IT networks).” In a third step, the BAKS fellow would like to “design tangible projects” and, in major cities, establish “resilience partnerships” between the state economy, science and society. “Experience on networking between the different actors and joint, effective action in the event of disturbances (which is gained from such small-scale pilot projects) could then be transferred to other regions so that resilience is built gradually from the bottom up.”[2]

Self-Evident Cooperation

Inclusive Processes

Comprehensive Concept

The German Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is pursuing a similar strategy. In the framework of its “Morgenstadt” (“City of the Future”) initiative ( reported.[7]), already in 2012, the state-owned research institute introduced its “vision” of a “resilient” urban space. In addition to monitoring systems identifying “dangers in the entire urban area” with “risk assessment tools,” the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft seeks to integrate all inhabitants in a process of establishing “sustainable security.” “Public security in the Morgenstadt lies not only in the hands of the police, but each individual citizen is part of a comprehensive concept of resilience to a wide variety of security risks.”[8]

Spiritual Unity

The idea of mobilizing the entire society for struggle on the home front and therefore making the population “resilient” in face of the effects of war is nothing new. This had already been among the reflections of Gen. Erich Ludendorff, who, during World War I, had been a member of the German Empire’s Supreme Army Command, and later joined the Nazi movement in the 1920s. It was Ludendorff, who coined the term “total war,” who’s “foundation” he saw in “the people’s spiritual unity.” “Spiritual unity alone enables the population to repeatedly fill the beleaguered Wehrmacht with renewed spiritual energy, to work for the Wehrmacht and in the hardships of war, even under enemy combat, continue to relish victory and take pleasure in resisting.”[9]

Full article: Citizen Participation (I) (German Foreign Policy)

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