Structural principles of Luxembourg's defence policy

La politique de défense du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg est structurée par sept principes, définies dans les Lignes directrices de la Défense à l’horizon 2035.


In order to be fully recognised as an EU Member State and NATO Ally, Luxembourg cannot delegate the safeguarding of security to its partners but must instead assume its fair share of the collective defence effort. The personnel of the Luxembourg Armed Forces is the face of our external action in theatres of operation. Their deployment, with the inherent risks of an operation, is the highest expression of our solidarity and fair sharing of risks.

Decision-making autonomy

Decision-making autonomy relates firstly to the freedom of strategic policy choices and secondly to the control of operational activities and the life cycle of capabilities.

Transatlantic Partnership

The importance of the transatlantic partnership, which is based on solidarity commitments, no longer needs to be demonstrated in the field of defence. This is why Defence remains a central link in this transatlantic bond.

Adaptability and military specificity

Given the rapid changes in the security context, the Luxembourg Defence must show itself capable of agility and reactivity in order to anticipate and respond rapidly to multinational initiatives and opportunities for cooperation that arise. This applies to the organisational, operational and capability levels.

The adaptability and specificity of the military profession means that the Luxembourg Armed Forces cannot be subject to all the same rules and laws as those applicable to civil servants and other state agents. This is due to the unique nature of their missions, which include emergency response, engagement in peacekeeping operations as well as combat readiness. Therefore, specific legislation is needed to regulate the activities of the military and to ensure that it can fulfil its obligations effectively in accordance with applicable international legal and ethical standards. This legislation should include specific laws on labour regulations, military discipline, procedures for the conduct of operations and military justice procedures. It is important that this legislation be reviewed regularly to ensure that it remains relevant to the ever-changing environment in which the Luxembourg Armed Forces operate.

©Luxembourg Armed Forces Illustration of the Armed Forces in action

Partnerships and pooling & sharing

Few countries have the capability to conduct complex operations of significant scale on their own. Given our structural limitations, our international partnerships of reference - Belgium, The Netherlands, France Germany and the United States of America as well as NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), European Defence Agency (EDA), Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAr), etc. - are essential. These partnerships will guarantee our operational and mutual added value, as well as of our credibility. 

Without being exhaustive, it is worth mentioning Luxembourg's participation in multinational programmes such as the A400M, Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), Allied Ground Surveillance (AGS), Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), which are realities today and continue to grow in importance. They allow us to meet the ambitions and requirements of both NATO and the EU. 

Commitment to Luxembourg society

Defence is an integral part of Luxembourg society. Under the control of the Parliament, Defence ensures the transparent and responsible management of the important resources allocated to it. As shown by the numerous interventions of the Luxembourg Armed Forces at national level in recent years, Defence fulfils its role to support the population in case of major incidents such as extreme weather events. Defence also secures the population on a daily basis by fulfilling its mission of removing and desposing of munitions from the two world wars. At the same time, Defence maintains its commitment to the successful transition of volunteers from the military to the private and public sector after their military service. Finally, Defence also regularly contributes to the duty of remembrance.

Foreign and security policy of the "3D"

Luxembourg traditionally applies a holistic approach to security and defence issues, favouring a mutually supportive method in a multilateral system that combines diplomacy, development cooperation and defence - commonly referred to as the "3D"-concept and fully in line with the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The Luxembourg Defence, one of the nodes of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), of NATO's common defence policy and necessarily of the Grand Duchy's foreign and security policy which, in complementarity with the means of traditional diplomacy and development cooperation policy, contributes to conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction. In this respect, Luxembourg attaches particular importance to modes of action that are not solely military, and contributes to the development of capabilities that enable third countries to ensure their own security in accordance with our values.

Today, with the emergence of hybrid aggressions, this traditional approach needs to be complemented by a range of other instruments in view of the complexity of threats and drivers of instability. It is essential to support an integrated approach that brings together all relevant state instruments to respond to a crisis. The range of these instruments includes diplomatic, economic, communication, financial, intelligence, legal, environmental and internal security instruments.

©Sabino Parente Photographer Beautiful view of Luxembourg city from the "Parc des Trois Glands"

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