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Innere Führung – admired, ridiculed, praised to the skies, rejected. Sometimes it sounds as if different parties were saying the same thing, except each is standing on different banks of a river.” That is how the former commander of the Leadership Development and Civic Education Center (Zentrum Innere Führung, ZInFü) in Koblenz, General Jürgen Weigt, summarizes the current debate on Innere Führung.

Innere Führung – from the beginning, it has played a dominant role in the Bundeswehr, where it provides the foundation for serving as a soldier. The fathers of the German armed forces wanted to learn from history. Innere Führung characterizes the self-image of the German soldier, and is intended as a guiding principle for leadership in this special profession. Prompted recently by the book “Armee im Aufbruch” (the title can be translated as “Armed Forces on the Move”), new discussions and debates have arisen in various sections of the armed forces, society and the military chaplaincy, questioning whether this concept is still in step with the times. In connection with the new White Paper for the German armed forces, there has also been controversy over what the soldier of the future should be: What qualities and characteristics do soldiers need to have so that they can deal with the completely changed security situation and task structure?

The discussion about Innere Führung has been going on for a long time. Back in 2005, the German bishops, in their text “Soldaten als Diener des Friedens” (“Soldiers as Servers of Peace”), declared: “On closer inspection, it can be seen that especially critically trained soldiers with a deeper and more effective understanding of their task are better suited to meeting the complex challenges, and resisting the temptations associated with daily contact with violence and the use of force.”

Can human dignity, freedom, peace, justice, equality, solidarity and democracy even exist in an armed conflict? In view of the increasing threat, what type of soldier does international politics need? The new edition of the e-journal considers these questions in a variety of ways. It also explores the focus topic: Who serves Germany, now and in the future? This question provides a great deal of material for further discussions, which we hope that this new edition will stimulate. The aim of the e-journal is not to settle a controversy, but rather to initiate further debate.

“Global Warriors? Soldiers and the Value of Innere Führung” – with this special theme for the new edition of the “Ethics and Armed Forces” e-journal, we wish to follow and contribute to the international debate.

I would like to thank everybody who has contributed to this online publication – the insightful authors, the vigilant co-editors, and especially the highly dedicated editorial team here in Hamburg.