Dr. Christian Mölling

Deputy Director of the Research Institute

Areas of Expertise

  • Security and defence
  • Military capabilities
  • Defence industry
  • Security and defence policy of Germany and other major European countries
  • EU Common Security and Defence Policy
  • NATO


English, French


Phone: +49 (0)30 25 42 31-31
Email: moelling@dgap.org

Christian Mölling became deputy director of the DGAP’s research institute in February 2017.

Before joining the DGAP, he held research and leadership positions with the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), the International Security Research Division at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zurich, and the Hamburg Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy.

He has been a visiting fellow at the European Union Institute for Security Studies in Paris, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, and the Paris-based Fondation pour la recherche stratégique.

He studied politics, economics, and history at the universities of Duisburg and Warwick and holds a doctoral degree from Ludwig Maximilian Universität Munich.


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Selected Publications

Will Ships be Sent?
Germany’s Options for Naval Intervention in the Strait of Hormuz
by Christian Mölling, Torben Schütz, Carlo Masala
DGAPkompakt 15 (August 2019), 11 pp. (in German)
Will Ships be Sent?
Iran is endangering the right to free navigation in the Strait of Hormuz. Together with EU partners, Germany should develop a naval mission and, if necessary, lead it. Europe has sufficient military capabilities for an observer or protective mission. Either way, its mission should be closely coordinated with the maritime operation planned by the US, but distinct enough from it to avoid being drawn into a war.
Category: Security, German Armed Forces, Law of the Sea, Iran, Oman, Persian Gulf
German Leadership in Arms Control
Three Pillars to Achieve More Realism
by Christian Mölling, Torben Schütz
DGAPkompakt 10 (June 2019), 5 pp.
German Leadership in Arms Control
Arms control is traditionally at the core of Germany’s cooperative security approach. It is therefore a natural leader for a new Western arms control policy. But Germany must overcome the Cold War approach that no longer suits today’s security environment. A new approach should build on three pillars: security, military, and alliance realism. While such a change entails risk and uncertainty for German decision-makers, the price of upholding existing outdated arms control architectures is already higher.
Category: Arms Control and WMD
A New Dimension of Air-Based Threats
Germany, the EU, and NATO Need New Political Initiatives and Military Defense Systems
by Torben Schütz, Christian Mölling, Zoe Stanley-Lockman
DGAPkompakt 8 (June 2019), 5 pp.
A New Dimension of Air-Based Threats
The range of air-based threats is expanding with considerable speed and intensity. The main reason is the proliferation of technologies and weapons systems. Germany could play a leading role in the necessary adaptation of arms control regimes and in the development of new air defense capabilities. To this end, Germany should initiate a PESCO project on short-range air defense and an air defense capability cluster within NATO.
Deterrence and Arms Control
Europe’s Security without the INF Treaty: Political and Strategic Options for Germany and NATO
by Christian Mölling, Heinrich Brauß
DGAPkompakt 2 (February 2019), 4 pp.
Deterrence and Arms Control
In response to Russia’s breach of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the US will withdraw from the accord. As a result, Europe loses a central pillar of its security. Russia’s threat potential rises due to its intermediate-range missiles. They could split NATO into two zones of security and lead Moscow to assume it holds escalation dominance. Germany and NATO should review their defense policy options. NATO’s unity and credible deterrence, complemented by dialogue with Moscow, are key.
Category: Arms Control and WMD
Protecting Europe
Meeting the EU’s military level of ambition in the context of Brexit
by Douglas Barrie, Ben Barry, Henry Boyd, Marie-Louise Chagnaud, Nick Childs, Bastian Giegerich, Christian Mölling, Torben Schütz
IISS/DGAP Study, November 28th 2018, 44 p.
Protecting Europe
The ability of the European Union to act in defense, today and in the future, is an important reference point in the discussion relating to strategic autonomy and to the impact of the British exit from the Union (Brexit). The EU has set itself a military level of ambition. This study assesses to what extent the EU is able to fulfil this level of ambition, today and with an outlook towards a 2030 horizon.
Responsible Defense Policy
This Autumn, Germany Should Pave Its Way out of the 46 Billion Defense Investment Gap
by Christian Mölling, Torben Schütz
DGAPkompakt Nr. 23 (October 2018), 6 pp.
Responsible Defense Policy
By the close of the ongoing budget negotiations in November 2018, Germany will have to decide on the future of its armed forces’ long-term recovery. To close the 46 billion euro gap, the defense budget and financial planning would need to be increased by approximately four billion euros each year until 2024. While endorsing their firm commitments to NATO and the EU, parliament and government have so far failed to agree on a budget fit enough to deliver on those tasks they have assigned to the Bundeswehr.
Category: German Armed Forces, Germany
EU Civilian Crisis Management
How the Union Can Live up to Its Ambitions – or Stumble into Irrelevance
by Hannah Neumann, Carina Böttcher, Christian Mölling, Marie Wolf
DGAPkompakt 15 (July 2018), 6 pp.
EU Civilian Crisis Management
Europe’s security situation has drastically changed. Current challenges can neither be tackled by member states individually, nor by military means alone. A new ambitious process at EU level gives member states the opportunity to improve the EU’s civilian crisis management and answer central questions. Most importantly though, member states need to increase their financial and personal commitments, if they want to prevent this trademark of European foreign policy from drifting into irrelevance.
Category: Security
The United Kingdom’s Contribution to European Security and Defence
by Christian Mölling, Bastian Giegerich
First published as Research Paper on the Military Balance Blog: Posts from the IISS Defence and Military Analysis Programme, February 2018, 16 pp.
Could defence and security be positive chapters in the Brexit story? Nobody wins if European common security is compromised, argue Bastian Giegerich and Christian Mölling in a new research paper. An unconditional commitment to the security of their citizens should inspire a serious conversation about how the remaining EU member states and the UK can work together.
Category: Military Capacity, United Kingdom
France Moves From EU Defense to European Defense
While the EU is celebrating PESCO, Paris is preparing for closer defense cooperation outside the union
by Claudia Major, Christian Mölling
DGAPviewpoint 16, 2017, 2 pages
France Moves From EU Defense to European Defense
Two parallel developments are currently taking place in European defense. One is the highly publicised expectation that the tiny Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) will transform into a comprehensive and powerful EU defense project. The second development is receiving far less attention. Paris is launching defense cooperation initiatives outside the EU format, thus moving from an EU-focused to a European-oriented defense approach.
Category: Security
Pragmatic and European
France sets new goals for a European defence policy
by Claudia Major, Christian Mölling
DGAPviewpoint 14, October 19, 2017, 3 p.
Pragmatic and European
With his Revue Stratégique, President Macron has given France’s defence policy a new direction. Instead of concentrating on the institutional framework of a European Union defence policy, Paris has placed pragmatic solutions and Europe’s capacity to take action into the forefront. This has consequences for both Germany and Europe: Berlin should give a speedy and constructive answer to Paris.
Category: Security, Europe