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Shorter Bundeswehr conscription to cost Defence Ministry millions

DDP/The Local · 31 Mar 2010, 09:00

Published: 31 Mar 2010 09:00 GMT+02:00

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A draft law for the change crafted by both the Defence Ministry and the Family Ministry lists the sum, daily Financial Times Deutschland reported.

Earlier this month Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg decided to push forward the government’s plan to shorten conscription starting this autumn despite criticism from the ranks. The centre-right government coalition had initially agreed to reduce the conscription period from nine to six months in early 2011.

The alternative to Bundeswehr service, compulsory community service, or Zivildienst, will also be shortened but the government is considering allowing voluntary extensions, as many community groups believe six months would not be long enough to make the service worthwhile.

But in contrast to shorter military service, shorter Zivildienst will actually save the government money, according to the Financial Times Deutschland.

The draft law does not name an amount for the savings, but said “reduced expenditures” were part of the ministerial discussion.

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Guttenberg acknowledged in mid-March that the conscription reform would be more expensive, pinning the price tag on outfitting the simultaneous increase of recruits from 40,000 to 50,000 each year, the paper said.

The change is set to begin on October 1, while shortened Zivildienst will begin on August 1.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:48 March 31, 2010 by twisted
Germany should either dump the draft or make it worthwhile. Six months military service isn¦#39;t enough time to learn to do anything other than march and salute. When the US had a draft, the minimum time of service was two years unless one was in the Reserves or National Guard and even their (the latter two) training continued after basic and advanced training. The German Government should either do away with the draft and move to an all volunteer military or make a persons¦#39; time in the military a learning experience, teaching soldiers a skill that would either make them want to be professional soldiers OR having learned a skill that has a usefulness in civilian life. Plus young people learn some discipline in the military (at least we did in the U.S. military), of which seems to be missing in many of today¦#39;s youths and I am NOT referring just to Germany.
18:26 March 31, 2010 by Henckel
@ twisted: I agree. Having had a number of relatives serve in the German military (Napoleonic Wars, Franco-Prussian War, both World Wars), I know well that 6-months' service time is a farce. The only time it was ever worthwhile was in 1807-12 when Napoleon restricted the Prussian army to 42,000 men and men were cycled through on short-term conscription; there were thus many trained men available when the French yoke was thrown off in 1813 and thousands flocked to the colors to fight against Napoleon.
23:27 March 31, 2010 by wxman
Henckel is right. Six months is ridiculous. That's nothing but training time; then you let them go home w/o any benefit to the military.
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