Bundeswehr Chief of Staff Volker Wieker has had plans drawn up that would reduce the armed forces’ personnel from 250,000 to 150,000 to meet the tough savings demands being made by the Finance Ministry, daily Die Welt reported on Tuesday.
However, Wieker is also having alternative plans drawn up that would mean lighter cuts, the paper reported.
All three branches of the military – the army, airforce and navy – as well as support and medical staff would be severely affected by the cutbacks.
The army would bear the brunt, being reduced to 47,000 soldiers from its present strength of 94,188. The airforce would drop to 19,000 staff compared with its present 42,212 personnel, while the navy would fall to 9,000 staff from its current strength of 17,476. The support staff would be cut by two thirds from its present 72,685 to about 26,000 while medical staff would be cut from 23,775 to 11,000.
There would also be reserve personnel, however.
Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has in recent weeks ordered the Bundeswehr’s top commanders to start doing their sums on how and where cuts could be made. Wieker has been asked to present his alternatives for making the cuts by the end of July.
The modelling is based on the expectation that the Finance Ministry needs to cut €4.3 billion from defence spending in the next four years.
Military affairs spokesman for the centre-left Social Democrats accused Guttenberg of conducting “security policy according to the budgetary position.”
The 150,000-staff model was a “radical surgery” that was “not politically justified,” he said.