Dirk Freudenberg


Today Carl von Clausewitz’s classic definition of war stands for militarism in a totally absurd way. During the last decade, however, it has become more and more obvious that the armed forces are becoming an active instrument also of German security politics. If armed forces are instruments of politics, special and specialized forces will represent instruments which have to carry out particularly delicate operations, and which are capable of fighting actively against irregular forces. Thus, they are equivalent to a surgical scalpel in the hand of military leaders who have to execute sometimes risky operations on behalf of politically responsible governments. Here fighting against transnational terrorism must be understood both nationally and internationally as an overall and inter-departmental government concept, which the armed forces contribute to in their specific way, because the challenges for our security posed by asymmetrical threats can only be met by an overall strategy which combines all military, paramilitary, executive, political-diplomatical, economic, fiscal, psychological and civil measures, focussing them on a mutual goal. To sum up, it can be stated that special and specialized forces can make an important contribution to fighting against irregular forces in a counterinsurgency in the comprehensive sense. These forces can even represent a strategic weapon. In the end, however, these forces only represent one out of a wide range of government instruments, and they can be applied only for certain - special - purposes effectively. Often only military means can create the conditions for the efficacy of other instruments. There must be absolutely no doubt, however, that for the establishment of peace or security in a certain area kinetic operations, in other words military fighting, can quite possibly be the prerequisite for everything else, and that the deployment of special and specialized forces can represent the “sharp end” of an operation just as well. The fundamental difference to classic conventional warfare is the special context of this innovative and modern comprehensive approach in its summary. As an approach concerning all departments and institutions, it is, therefore, as a derivative of the “Interagency-Interaction-Approach” a conception, which - in the sense of an overall strategy - can put both governmental and non-governmental means into action effectively in a coordinated way, even in an international framework. On the other hand, isolated actions are often insufficient, as has been proven in the course of current conflicts in progress, and they are also often counterproductive in their results and reactions, as far as the political-strategic end state is concerned.