This project is concerned with military commitments abroad, understood as 'security export'. The concept of 'security export' refers to a situation in which traditional security policy is no longer a task that primarily refers to national territories and immediate national defense as its object. Rather, it is directed towards countries or institutions outside one's own territory. Security at home is within this framework of understanding to be achieved (or established) by transferring modes of security to other territories. This can be undertaken through a broad range of policies, including among others diplomatic efforts or economic assistance. The focus of this project, however, lies on security export via military means.
Our research focuses on the justification and legitimization of such an export of security as well as on its institutionalization in a comparative perspective. Since military security export is a particularly controversial issue it is expected to require a particularly strong level justification. The security actors promoting such a step initiate a process of securitization, claiming a state of exception which, in turn, may legitimize extra-ordinary measures. Such communicative processes aim to legitimize interventions abroad by referring to security threats emanating from other territories. In other words, one's own security can only be achieved by averting the threat originating from another territory. The links between security export and the construction of issues within processes of securitization is a core concern of this research. How does the discursive construction of the necessity for and mechanisms of security export result in specific prescriptions for action? An emphasis on military interventions abroad involves a modification of existing ideas of security in societies which are often sceptic about the use of violence. Furthermore, diverging societal conceptions of security are likely to enter into conflict.
During the first phase, the project considers three different cases of securitization and 'security export': Germany, the European Union and Japan.
The first project analyses to what extent and in what manner the paradigm of security policy has transformed in Germany - from mere national defense towards an emphasis on countering security threats world-wide. Empirically, it reconstructs the debate about overseas commitments of the Bundeswehr from 1973 to 2010. The project examines changes and transformations in concepts of security through securitization processes resulting in security export. Furthermore, it is being analyzed how new concepts of security have prescribed a new role for the armed forces.
The second project addresses the link between securitization and security export in the context of the European Union. The focus of this body of work is placed on the analysis of dominant narratives which constitute the various understandings of the creation of (in)security and conceptually link these to external military interventions. A comparison between discourses at the national and supra-national level adds value to current debates regarding the formation of a common strategic outlook and culture at EU-level.
The third research project is focused on Japan. Thus, it adds a non-European component to the project, broadening the comparative perspective. Japan is an interesting case, especially as it shows how constructions of identity which are deeply embedded in national discourse may enter into conflict with processes of securitization. For quite some time, there have been intense discussions in Japan about whether the country should give up its tradition of restraint in military matters. Hence, the project will explore to what extent the process of securitization is driven by security elites, which methods are being used, and why the security agents have, to this point, succeeded only to a limited extent.