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15 Mar, 2023 08:47

Timeline revealed for full overhaul of German Army

At the current “sluggish” pace, it could take 50 years to modernize, a parliamentary report has said
Timeline revealed for full overhaul of German Army

The German Armed Forces remain underequipped, underfunded and too slow in dealing with problems, a report on the state of the Bundeswehr has found. While many of the issues have been known for years, “shockingly little” has been done to address some of them despite the crisis in Ukraine, it noted.

The document was produced by the office of Eva Hogl, the German parliament’s commissioner for the Bundeswehr, who submitted it to the legislature’s President Barbel Bas on Tuesday.

Hogl warned that the German military “lacks everything,” from helmets and vests to modern digital radios, and remained burdened by red tape when replenishing stockpiles. This problem also arises in replacing weapons and ammunition that Berlin sent to Ukraine for use in its conflict against Russia.

The slow procurement process means that the planned modernization of the Bundeswehr would take a long time. For example, decades would be required to upgrade barracks, some of which are in a “wretched condition,” Hogl warned.

“If we stayed at the current pace… it would take about half a century before just the current infrastructure of the Bundeswehr would be completely renovated,” the commissioner wrote.

The Defense Ministry also has trouble finding recruits to fill vacancies, Hogl reported. Berlin wants to have 203,000 troops by 2031, but currently has a strength of roughly 183,000 and numbers dropped last year.

As an employer, the Bundeswehr is challenged by competition from the private sector for a limited workforce, especially among younger people, the report said. Potential recruits are discouraged by the realities of military service, such as lengthy deployments to isolated bases.

Hogl welcomed the decision by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to create a special €100 billion ($107 billion) fund to refurbish the military, but estimated that a sum three times larger would be required to make the Bundeswehr fully operational.