“Less than 50 percent of the Bundeswehr’s tanks, ships and aircraft were available at any one time.”
While German Chancellor Angela Merkel has clamored for an EU army, the country’s military continues to deteriorate as a fighting force. The German armed forces, or the Bundeswehr, are underequipped, demoralized and running out of recruits,” an official report reveals.
The military was relying on civilian helicopters for tactical troop transport and the soldiers on the battlefield lacked even the basic equipment such as body armor and overalls, the annual report published by the German parliament’s military commissioner, Hans-Peter Bartels, said. The report found that “often less than 50 percent of the Bundeswehr’s tanks, ships and aircraft were available at any one time, either for training or operational purposes.”
Things look just a grim on the recruitment front. “The government has promised 198,500 active personnel by 2025, up from the current 181,000, but the number of new recruits dropped from 23,000 in 2017 to 20,000 last year,” the report disclosed.
German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported the details of the annual parliamentary inspection:
The biggest problem that Bundeswehr soldiers complained about was the lack of equipment, despite repeated government promises, dating back to a 2014 NATO summit, of a change in direction. That does not count as a surprising development, considering the barrage of poor press the German military has been facing.
Heavy machinery was a particular concern: [Hans-Peter] Bartels found that often less than 50 percent of the Bundeswehr’s tanks, ships and aircraft were available at any one time, either for training or operational purposes.
“Spare parts are still missing; maintenance in industry is dragging; the training programs are suffering,” Social Democrat Bartels said. “An absolute must is the acceleration of procurement.” (…)
Another worry for the Defense Ministry is the stagnation of its post-conscription recruitment drive, which began after Germany scrapped national service in 2011. Though the Bundeswehr is expanding overall (the report found a net gain of 4,000 professional soldiers), most of these were won by extending existing contracts. In other words, the German military is aging.
The government has promised 198,500 active personnel by 2025, up from the current 181,000, but the number of new recruits dropped from 23,000 in 2017 to 20,000 last year.
While the army is in a state of grave disrepair, the country’s first female Defence Minister and Merkel’s confidant, Ursula von der Leyen, is busy promoting diversity and ‘multiculturalism’ in the military.
As German business daily Handelsblatt reported in January 2017: “Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has invited senior officers from Germany’s armed forces, the Bundeswehr, to a groundbreaking workshop on sexuality.” The workshops titled “Dealing with sexual identity and orientation in the Bundeswehr” included eminent speakers such as the minister herself and “a sex therapist who supports transsexuals in the army.”
As laudable as these cosmetic efforts may be, they do nothing to enhance the combat readiness or boost troop morale.
Minister von der Leyen’s efforts to “open the army up to minority groups” hasn’t been a great success either. In recent years, the Bundeswehr has caught 24 Islamist infiltrators in its ranks. At least 29 Bundeswehr soldiers have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight for the Islamic State.
The findings are a vindication of President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly asked Germany and other NATO members to increase their defense spending up to two-percent of their economic output. He tweeted in July 2018: “Germany just started paying Russia, the country they want protection from, Billions of Dollars for their Energy needs coming out of a new pipeline from Russia. Not acceptable! All NATO Nations must meet their 2% commitment, and that must ultimately go to 4%!”
Currently, the United States contributes 4.2 percent of its GDP to NATO, compared to just 1.2 percent chipped in by Germany. In 2017, the U.S. “accounted for 51.1 percent of the allies’ combined GDP and 71.7 percent of combined defense expenditure,” Virginia-based Defense News reported. In addition to that, over 35,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Germany to bolster Europe’s military preparedness.
Under Chancellor Merkel’s watch, however, the Germany army has other pressing issues at hand than border security or defense preparedness. In wake of the 2015 migrant crisis, thousands of German soldiers were whisked off to build migrant shelters, making it the largest domestic deployment of the postwar ear. The county is busy converting army barracks into migrant camps.
The annual defense report glaringly highlights the fatal flaws in Germany’s military armor. Perhaps Chancellor Merkel should take a pause from her saber-rattling about an EU army and invest in the Bundeswehr for change.
Trump slams Germany over defense spending at NATO summit, July 2018:
[Cover image via YouTube]
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