Defence Königswinter Conferences were started off on the initiative of Ambassador Sir Michael Arthur, the former British Ambassador to Germany, and both the German and UK Ministry of Defence. Until the 1990s, security and defence policy issues had been part of the topics of the traditional Königswinter Conferences. As these have gradually been focusing on issues of economy and finance, Europe and foreign policy, this gave rise to the demand to discuss security and defence policy in a separate, smaller conference. The inaugural Defence Königswinter Conference took place in the UK in 2011.
The 11th Defence and Security Königswinter Conference took place in March 2023 in Berlin.