BONN — Germany has restructured its military’s branches and organizations effective Oct. 1, part of a plan to give each area more independence.
The five new military commands and three new civil agencies are now the top administrative level below the Defense Ministry. The military chiefs of staff will no longer be both the head of a ministry department and commander of their services at the same time — only the latter. The move cuts an administrative level.
The overall ministry organization has been reshuffled, to include a reduction of departments and cuts to its personnel by more than one third, down to 2,000.
In the military hierarchy, the chief of defense has become the disciplinary leader of all soldiers and the head of all civilian employees. As the military adviser to the government and the highest military representative, he becomes part of the ministry’s leadership below the level of the civil state secretaries.
The new commands and agencies are situated throughout Germany. The Army is in Strausberg near Berlin, the Air Force is in Berlin, the Navy is in the northeastern town of Rostock, the joint service command is in the western city of Bonn, and the medical service is in nearby Koblenz.
The three new civil agencies are the Federal Office for the Personnel Management of the Bundeswehr (Federal Armed Force) in Cologne; the Federal Office for Infrastructure, Environment Protection and Services in Bonn; and the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Utilization in Koblenz.
All of this is part of the ongoing major restructuring and downsizing of the Bundeswehr. Changes also include ending conscription, closing bases and reducing equipment. The Bundeswehr’s personnel level will be cut from 225,000 military and 76,000 civil posts to 185,000 military personnel and 55,000 civilians. The reform is due to a changed security-political environment and budget deficits.