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'Ineffectual' military set for radical overhaul

The Local · 26 Oct 2010, 12:17

Published: 26 Oct 2010 12:17 GMT+02:00

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The recommendations, released by Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg on Tuesday, confirmed what was already widely thought – that Germany’s military, as well as the ministerial defence apparatus, is inefficient and desperately needs modernising.

Civilian administration should be slashed by more than half to fewer than 1,500 officials, the expert panel said. The report will provide useful ammunition to Guttenberg, who is eager to reform the forces.

The expert panel backed Guttenberg's plan to cut the number of troops from 250,000 to 180,000, and his push to suspend conscription. Universal military service was “no longer necessary for the foreseeable future,” it concluded.

Unveiling the report in Berlin, Guttenberg announced it would form the basis for reforms. His ministry would put forward some recommendations by the end of January.

“Cosmetic measures will not be enough,” he said. The Bundeswehr was “no longer up to date.”

“Therefore a new direction is essential,” he said.

But Guttenberg also made clear that the recommendations would not be implemented word for word. He said he wanted the new direction for the forces to be set in concrete within two years but added the reforms would probably take five to eight years to carry out.

Guttenberg also batted away questions about his push to move part of the ministry from Bonn to Berlin.

The commission recommended that the bureaucracy be slashed by more than half – to fewer than 1,500 officers – and consolidated in Berlin.

According to weekly Die Zeit, the panel declared that within the ministry, there was an “overall diffusion of responsibility” that meant a clear direction was “impossible.”

Ministry staff “hindered one another in structures that were not capable of success.”

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The overall organisation was “systematically overstrained” and management structures “substantially ineffectual.”

Guttenberg set up the commission back in April to recommend the best way to overhaul Germany’s creaking armed forces. The experts were led by the head of the Federal Labour Office, Frank-Jürgen Weise.

DPA/The Local

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:57 October 26, 2010 by William Thirteen
indeed, the Defense Ministry is moving back to Berlin, our plan for world domination is proceeding nicely!
15:07 October 26, 2010 by adipk
really omg
18:12 October 26, 2010 by maxbrando
As a person who spent many, many years on former German kasernes, it is a real shame that these cannot be utilized by the military and its civilian administration. Some are architectural masterpieces, such as those in Augsburg, Karlsruhe, Bad Toelz, Heidelberg and others. I understand that some have been sold or given away but Geman military archictecture played a large role in German history, and cannot be condemned. Germany should take some pride in them and continue to use them.
19:44 October 26, 2010 by SRaab
I think the 'Ineffectual' govt , which runs the'Ineffectual' military is due for a radical overhaul.
23:23 October 26, 2010 by Lachner
I think that Germany should opt to reduce as much as possible their military forces and invest the extra resources in increased training, technology, infrastructure and weaponry to the current forces in order to be able to defend themselves in case of any future invasion (not that I think it would happen) or terrorist attacks.
05:12 October 27, 2010 by ErickDDiaz
Buffer Fish.
10:50 October 27, 2010 by moistvelvet
"confirmed what was already widely thought ­ that Germany¦#39;s military"... is crap!!

Hoorar that they are finally getting with the program, conscription was a burden and did nothing to defend the nation. Germany needs a leaner force fit for purpose.

Indeed some of the Kaserne are great pieces of architecture, but for it (the architecture) to be preserved doesn't mean they have to keep every barracks, it is the same old WW2 format repeated across the country, many of them can be demolished and regenerated into housing developments, nothing worse than seeing an old barracks, empty, overgrown with weeds beyond the rusted locked gates.

Actually there are far worse things to see, children living in slum accomodation with no safe places to play for a start.
19:33 October 29, 2010 by mixxim
Armies of hundreds or thousands of men sent by politicians to kill men sent by their rulers is expensive and ineffective against modern threats. We need to fight terrorists by terrorism, terrorists by their very nature pretend to be (or are) civilians, many acting alone or in small groups. Soldiers have a task of being targets to terrorists and are criticised when they react. Small squads of Special forces should be equipped to seek out and destroy the structure of the threat.
02:39 October 30, 2010 by Paul Mannstein
That's what you get when the Allies destroyed the German military tradition after WWII. You can't have it both ways. The Wehrmacht was the most effective and disciplined fighting force at the time.

Even enemy military men admired its fighting spirit.
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