• Security Strategies Today: Trends and Perspectives

    GCSP Geneva Paper 9

    Security Strategies Today: Trends and Perspectives  

    Ambassador Fred Tanner , Prof. Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan , Mr Sunjay Chandiramani

    6 April 2009 View this publication

    GCSP Geneva Papers

    The Geneva Papers promote a vital dialogue on timely and cutting-edge global security issues. The series showcases new thinking about security issues writ large – ranging from human security to geopolitical analysis.

    Persistent and emerging security challenges are explored through the multiple viewpoints and areas of expertise represented in GCSP conference proceedings and by speaker presentations.

    The Papers offer innovative analyses, case studies and policy prescriptions, with their critiques, to encourage on-going discussion both within international Geneva and the wider global community.




    There have been considerable developments in security-policy thinking since the end of the Cold War, and a complex set of transnational threats and challenges necessitates new security policies and strategies. Not only the attacks of 11 September 2001, but also the dark side of globalisation such as climate change, the global spread of dangerous technologies and international organised crime have changed the security perspective and policy procedures in recent years. Consequently, new national-security strategies, white papers and security-policy documents have been drafted in order to take into account the changing security landscape.

    On 6 April 2009, the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) welcomed a group of leading security experts for a seminar entitled “Security Strategies Today: Trends and Perspectives”. The goal of the seminar was to provide a forum for experts from different European states, major international powers and regional and international organisations to take stock of current security polices in the European region and beyond. The participants had an opportunity to assess the direction of security-policy thinking by analysing a number of key security-policy documents such as national-security strategies, defence concepts and white papers, among others. Assumptions regarding future threats were considered, as were a variety of drafting processes and methodologies.

    More than 30 participants attended the seminar, including representatives of the Defence Ministries of Finland, Germany and Sweden, as well as representatives of the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In addition to faculty members from the GCSP, regional and international experts from a range of academic and policy institutions participated, including speakers from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the International Affairs Institute (Rome), the Institute for International Strategic Studies (Beijing), the Royal Institute of International Relations (Brussels) and the Foundation for Strategic Studies (Paris).

    During the seminar, a wide range of views were expressed on the process of formulating strategy, with both states and regional organisations represented. The main areas of focus were the realities of building consensus at the different levels of governance, the methodologies that states have used to produce their strategic documents, and an examination of the motivations and uses of these documents in a globalised security environment. This Geneva Paper provides a synthesis of the ideas presented at the seminar in an attempt to outline a set of best practices that will be of use to other experts within the strategic community.