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German Military Leaders Criticize Bundeswehr Reform

Sep. 7, 2012 - 02:17PM   |  
By ALBRECHT MÜLLER   |   Comments
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BONN — More than 46 percent of the German officers and sergeants recently surveyed had negative reactions toward the implementation of the ongoing restructuring of the Bundeswehr.

This study was carried out between June 26 and July 31 by the Technical University of Chemnitz on behalf of the German Bundeswehr Association. At its presentation on Sept. 7 in Berlin, the federal chairman of the lobby association, Col. Ulrich Kirsch, saw instant need to act: “If the politics do not readjust now, the realignment is on the verge of toppling.”

Of the 1,768 officers and sergeants who took part in this survey, 27.3 percent described the plan itself to reform the Bundeswehr as bad or very bad. However, 88.1 percent of them also say that the process would not last and soon would need corrections. Also, 76.2 percent said it was extremely difficult for them to actively take part in the process and introduce their own ideas.

“In general, the survey corresponds with our own picture of the current situation,” said a spokesman of the German Defense Ministry. A feeling of insecurity among soldiers, civil servants and their families would come along with this reform, the spokesman said.

The German military is undergoing a restructuring process, including large cuts in military and civil personnel, closing of bases or ending of conscription. In October 2011, the Bundeswehr begun an internal, long-term study to assess topics such as the acceptance or the expectations toward this reform.

While pointing out the general acceptance of the project, the spokesman of the Defense Ministry said, “It must make us think, that only half of the interviewees judge the implementation of the realignment positively and see even more need to act.”

According to the study, the mission orientation and mission capability of the Bundeswehr is improving, but at the expense of all other areas, including the soldiers themselves. However, the military leaders also see need to improve equipment and they fear there will be problems recruiting enough qualified personnel.

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