• Germany edition
 
Military faces looming soldier shortage
photo: DPA

Military faces looming soldier shortage

Published: 01 Mar 2011 07:37 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Mar 2011 14:20 GMT+01:00

According to statistics from the Defence Ministry, which the daily Financial Times Deutschland reported on Tuesday, the number of interested volunteers is well below the numbers needed by the armed forces, the Bundeswehr, after Germany abolishes the draft.

According to military documents from early February, the number of volunteers interested in enlisting in April is currently just 10 percent of the target, the newspaper reported.

The statistics have raised fears in the Bundeswehr that the end of conscription could endanger the readiness of German forces.

The Bundeswehr hopes to enlist up to 15,000 volunteers a year in a new all-professional military. They would serve between 12 and 23 months. The plan is to reduce the armed forces from its current size of 240,000 soldiers to around 170,000.

But the resignation of Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg of Tuesday could cloud what would be the biggest reform effort in the Bundeswehr's history.

A spokesman for the Defence Ministry admitted to the Financial Times Deutschland that it was "not yet satisfied" with the interest level, but warned against jumping to conclusions. The ministry plans to start an enlistment campaign this month to get the numbers up.

DAPD/The Local/kdj

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

09:16 March 1, 2011 by moistvelvet
With only 10% interested in volunteering isn't it a bit hypocritical of Germany to comment on the democracy in other countries when they themselves obviously force young men into uniform and armed service who given the real choice would not volunteer.

The Bundeswehr is bloated with useless conscripts that at the end of the day would rather be at home than on the front line, get rid of them and make it a proffesional armed force with better incentives for the right people.
10:26 March 1, 2011 by pepsionice
There are three problems here. First, I'm not sure that incentives exist in today's environment to entice a sufficient number of German youths (men mostly) to join. Education is free. Pay structure after getting your apprenticeship done is already outstanding as a civilian...so you can't really compete. Early retirement? The German public won't dare accept that.

Second problem is simply the career path of most German kids by age sixteen. Most have plans and don't really want to change them to include the military.

Finally, you come to this issue of political slant. Even by early teens....a fair number of German youth are anti-military and find it a bit crazy to even consider the military as an option.
10:33 March 1, 2011 by storymann
An all professional military is difficult to achieve when times are good.The pay needs to exceed the average pay for non military personnel ,if you are to attract people in a good social system like Germany's.

In the USA there are areas of high unemployment that offer good opportunities for recruiters.

Germany will find many of it's recruits from areas in the former GDR that have higher than normal unemployment.It is doubtful however that the goal of 170,000 will be achieved with good volunteers unless the pay is very attractive.
10:47 March 1, 2011 by auniquecorn
His plan is to reduce the Bundeswehr from its current size of 240,000 soldiers to around 170,000.

I think he can do this within the first year. at this rate, easily
11:52 March 1, 2011 by michael4096
There is really only one problem: what does a military career offer a youngster?

- it used to be cool, not many brownie points anymore

- it used to lead to good civilian careers afterwards, leadership & responsibility, technical achievements.. - the good bits are outsourced to civilians anyway now

- it used to be something to be proud of, defending the country! Now you are fighting to instal puppet regimes in someone else's empire

The military in Germany is just at the hard end of this problem, most countries are going the same way. Unless the modern world finds a new use for armies that offers young people what they need - we won't have any armies soon
16:47 March 1, 2011 by strahlungsamt
I'll tell you what Germany's problem is. They're CHEAP!!!

I'll bet you anything a soldier (who gets sent to some Durka-Durkastan to get his head or legs blown off) does it on a 400 euro basis.

Then he's fighting to defend American Oil interests or something like that.

The only ones I can see joining up are the NPD/Nazis. Once that happens, there will be a major incident down the line somewhere that will make the Gorch Fock look like tabloid gossip.
17:58 March 1, 2011 by michael4096
yer - wot ee sed

Now tell me again why the bright young things needed to lead armies should join up?
18:01 March 1, 2011 by johnny108
I"ll sign up, once I get out of the US army- German soldiers only go to the desert for 4 to 6 months.

I've never done less than 12!!
18:56 March 1, 2011 by Major B
Oh just great. A nation of 80,000,000 can't raise 15,000 volunteers a year. I strongly feel Guttenberg was wronged but his reformation plan supposedly had all this worked out and projected.

And American has an aircraft carrier off the coast of Libya, when America doesn't even get oil from there -- Libyan oil goes to Europe.

Can't wait till it wakes up and leaves the Europeans to their own defense!!!!
Today's headlines
Siemens lands €650m Norway wind power deal
Photo: DPA

Siemens lands €650m Norway wind power deal

German engineering giant Siemens has won a contract worth 650 million euros to supply wind turbines to Norwegian power groups Statoil and Statkraft, the company said Thursday. READ  

BVB seeks cash to match Bayern
Photo: DPA

BVB seeks cash to match Bayern

Borussia Dortmund announced its plan to raise €114.4 million on Thursday in an effort to compete with Bundesliga rival Bayern Munich. READ  

Merkel tops Putin hot-line call queue
Call me maybe: The Berlin-Moscow hot-line has been busy. Photo: DPA

Merkel tops Putin hot-line call queue

"If there's somethin' strange in your neighbourhood; Who ya gonna call?" If you're Vladimir Putin, growing ever more isolated among his G8 peers, it's Angela Merkel, say the Kremlin hot-line stats. READ  

More Germans seek assisted dying abroad
A Belgian "suicide kit" including the commonly-used drug sodium pentothal. Photo: DPA

More Germans seek assisted dying abroad

A study revealed today that more people traveled to Switzerland to undergo assisted dying from Germany than from any other country in 2012. READ  

80,000 trainee jobs empty as Germans opt for uni
Photo: DPA

80,000 trainee jobs empty as Germans opt for uni

More young people are choosing university degrees over vocational training, leaving firms scrambling to find qualified new hires. READ  

Doctor arrested over medical test 'rape' photos
The Bamberg Clinic, where alleged abuse was reported. Photo: DPA

Doctor arrested over medical test 'rape' photos

Police in Bavaria have arrested a 48-year-old doctor for allegedly drugging and raping medical test volunteers, media reported Thursday. READ  

German of the Week
Nuts and bolts of being a piercing king
Rolf Buchholz, world's most pierced man. Photo: Caro von D Photografie

Nuts and bolts of being a piercing king

The world's most-pierced man, Rolf Buchholz, was just deported from Dubai, for fear of 'black magic', he says. But as shocking as many people find his body modifications, it is a genuine passion, our German of the Week explains. And who knows, he may just enchant you yet. READ  

Amazon 'should not endanger diversity'
State minister for culture and media Monika Grütters. Photo: DPA

Amazon 'should not endanger diversity'

A German minister on Wednesday threw her weight behind the authors battling US online retail giant Amazon over its alleged strong-arm negotiating tactics with publishers. READ  

Opposition calls for arms export debate
Photo: DPA

Opposition calls for arms export debate

Green Party leader Katrin Göring-Eckhardt is calling for a special session of parliament following Wednesday's announcement that Germany will break its rules and deliver weapons to an active conflict zone. READ  

Families find solace and help with seniors
Photo: DPA

Families find solace and help with seniors

When Verena Herz found out she was pregnant with twins, she had no idea what she was in for. Luckily, she was able to borrow a grandmother. The Local learns the advantages of welcoming a new grandparent into the family and why Omas and Opas say: "I tell everybody about it!" READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Culture
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? 10 reasons why you should.
Photo: DPA
Society
A German journalist shares the story of his US arrest in Ferguson
Photo: DPA
National
Berlin's senate puts the brakes on Über
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The mysteries of Berlin's abandoned theme park
Photo: DPA
Culture
How I deal with my German Hausmeister
Photo: Ingrid Eulenfan/flickr
Gallery
Nine German treats you'll want to eat right now (and one you won't)
Photo: DPA
Society
Who's getting German citizenship?
Photo: DPA
Culture
How World War I changed Germany forever
Photo: APA/DPA
Gallery
The 12 best words in Austrian German
Photo: DPA
Society
'Look at those German shanty towns!'
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,365
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd