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Defence Ministry warns cuts could ruin forces

The Local · 22 Apr 2011, 14:57

Published: 22 Apr 2011 14:57 GMT+02:00

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Troop numbers could be reduced from the current number of 226,000 not only to the so-far announced figure of 185,000 but further to just 158,000 by 2015 according to the report which was quoted by Bild newspaper on Thursday.

The ministry would not comment on the report, saying only that no firm decisions had been made.

Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziére is expected to publish his reform concept towards the end of May or start of June. He has to balance the capabilities required to fulfil Germany’s international commitments and the budget limitations placed upon him by the government.

And although cuts have long been expected and planned for, this latest warning from within the ministry is unusually clear.

“The German military contribution will neither be suited to Germany’s role in alliances, nor be enough for national security interests. These limitations will, in the mid-term be irreversible,” it said.

Personnel will be so starkly reduced by next year already, that the hierarchy will be damaged for the long term, while weapons systems will be mothballed far more than necessary and German participation in current conflicts will be endangered, the paper said.

“The sacrifice of whole areas of capability... will lead to a loss of competence which will not be able to be compensated for in a foreseeable period in the case of a deteriorated security situation,” the paper said.

Severe cuts are expected in the army, air force and navy, according to Der Spiegel magazine, with a reduction of submarines from ten to six, with ten further mine sweepers, frigates and other ships to be put out of action.

The army would be reduced to two divisions which would each have three brigades – a loss of three divisions and three brigades. The air force would lose five of its 13 squadrons, under the plans.

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“Whoever seriously follows these plans is castrating and marginalising the German armed forces, turning them into a cheap, mini army.

"The result would be that Germany would not be able to even start protect itself or its allies – not to even mention humanitarian action such as in Libya,” Ulrich Kirsch, head of the army union told Bild.


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Your comments about this article

16:27 April 22, 2011 by storymann
Germany the economic power house of Europe should take a more pro active role in Nato. There is no shortage of money to fund a capable and proficient military.

How long will Nato tolerate Germany shirking it's responsibility towards it's allies?

Anyone want to bet on Germany getting a permanent seat on the Council?
17:15 April 22, 2011 by Bruno53
Kind of like the uniforms worn by today's German military. Like those grey coats!
17:18 April 22, 2011 by Lachner
As a high profile member of NATO, a strong ally to the United States, home to the World's fifth richest economy and being the powerhouse of Europe, it does not make sense for Germany to reduce their military forces. They are highly exposed to Islamic terrorists due to their alliance with the United States and their proximity to the Middle East and Africa, so having a solid military force is vital for national security. Therefore, they should use their economic power to establish a powerful military and take a more pro active role in NATO.

Usually, a country will reduce their military forces to invest those resources in domestic infrastructure, education, security and social aid, but in the case of Germany they are already very solid in all of these areas. Therefore, they should maintain the current military forces and work in improving their training, equipment, arsenal and involvement in World affairs with NATO and the US. There is much work to do in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America with regards to terrorism, genocide and drug trafficking, so Germany could be of great assistance to the greater good of the World.
17:51 April 22, 2011 by derExDeutsche
good. The World is redrawing lines in the sand. Too many of Govt.s wars are failing. the war on drugs, the war on terrorism, the war on capitalism. Stick to making policy, try to save a few lives, that it. at least until you can find someone to man the post for a weeks, and you stop treating your electorate like children.
17:59 April 22, 2011 by storymann
ExD can you translate that please?
18:20 April 22, 2011 by derExDeutsche

Our Govt.s have us involved in wars that serve only them. Now, the Govt;s have enough of the Liberals brainwashed, that even they think its a good idea, with the right leader;).

What Happens to Us, the people? We end up Jailed, Persecuted, Murdered, living in a police state, due to bad policy and greed. until the world comes up with some real leadership, with honest goals, ideas that serve liberty and humanity, I would suggest the Hippocrattic Oath. Put down the gun, idiot. It may seem like it, but its not the time.
18:25 April 22, 2011 by Englishted
"Defence Ministry warns cuts could ruin forces"

Only one question : Will anybody notice?
18:26 April 22, 2011 by storymann
Ya ,now I understand what you mean. Thnx.

IN a perfect world that might work, but it is far from it and as you said based it is based on greed and power and brainwashing. When i was a younger person I had all the same thoughts .

Who said " A YOUTH to bad it is wasted on the young?"
18:35 April 22, 2011 by derExDeutsche
Guns don't kill people. Governments do.

I mean, who has killed more people than the Politicians in the last 500 years?

and Who wants more Govt?
18:40 April 22, 2011 by Landmine
German politicians aren't dumb, the smaller the German military the less they can take part in their NATO obligations and no one could really do much about it except fund it. The cost to Germany? The permanent seat on the Council. Do they care? It sure doesn't seem like it.
21:11 April 22, 2011 by Kiki somewhere in LaLa land
I am thinking that the article should read 'more ineffective', when they are deployed they tend to not really do anything....and when called upon they 'hide' & refused to come out of barracks (I am refering to an inccident in Afghanistan some yrs ago) As for the uniforms ...they are hideous & ill fitting....believe me I have seen them close up!
21:48 April 22, 2011 by Englishted
by derExDeutsche and storymann

Tweedle dee and tweedle dumb.

I would suggest the Hippocrattic Oath. Put down the gun, idiot.

" A YOUTH to bad it is wasted on the young?"

Strange people.
23:01 April 22, 2011 by jmclewis
Europe needs to start defending itself big brother is going home.
23:07 April 22, 2011 by Chigozie Ohanweh
Reducing the number of the german armed forces is not a great idea. the european economic power house ought not to talk about reducing it's military rather should be talking about strenghtening and enquiping it more n more. can you imagine any of the five pamanent security members attempting such.
00:46 April 23, 2011 by Altdude
The only years in the last 150 that have been peaceful in Europe are those in which the German military was weak. Let them support NATO economically, just as they dominate Europe economically, rather than militarily, and I will have more hope for my grandchildren's world.
02:21 April 23, 2011 by german99
#15, Altdude are you a racist?
07:20 April 23, 2011 by Altdude

What race are you referring to? Germany seems quite multiracial today.I don't mean to imply that Germans are more violent than others. In fact, history shows that Angles and Saxons are more agressive tribes. And we Gaels have our own angers. I think Germany suffers from a problematic geography, actually, and the German expression which translates, "Beware of hungry Russians in winter" explains much. I believe Germans are today a peace-loving society and a weak military within NATO has served Europe well for the past 60 years or so. Similarly, a weak military in Japan has brought relative stability to Pacific Asia during the same period. And, finally, a friendly suggestion for you to ponder. When you disagree with someone, try asking them if their position is racist, rather than resorting to ad hominem attack. You're more likely to encourage a peaceful reaction in that case.
10:45 April 23, 2011 by catjones
Future conflicts tend to be urban and civil where large, mechanized armies are no longer appropriate. Agility and accuracy are becoming more important than size.
15:33 April 23, 2011 by cobalisk
Why are we using a unattributed source in Bild to have a discussion?

A report within the ministry, but not an official report and certainly nothing like what the ministry will actually present.

So this is someone's opinion in other words, that then they leaked to Bild in the hopes of what exactly? Since there is no trackback or even a hint of who wrote this it is clearly simple speculation from an layperson.

In the end it is rubbish analysis, please treat it as such
15:53 April 23, 2011 by wenddiver
Britain has left Germany, the Americans will leave soon as it is politically untenable.

When that happens there are two possble scenarios:

The Russian Empire will own the biggest Army in Europe, with the resulting plitical weight and control Europe's fuel supply.


The German Army will be rebuilt as a counter balance.

That said it is going to be economically expensive and politically tough for Germany.

The Choice.....

Re-build or learn to dance to Russian Tunes like one of those bears.
17:24 April 23, 2011 by jmclewis
I am certain on can sit down and negotiate a truce with Osama Bin Laden over a nice German Beer. We can have peace in our time. There are no enemy within. On a serious point I have met many Turks in Germany and they are good people.
19:33 April 23, 2011 by Sastry.M
66 years ago Germany was a nation of geographical rubble with 80% of all major cities in ruins and the people suffering the greatest destitution in human history. The earlier successes of national reconstruction in the open under Hitler, a megalomaniac dictator, were truly noteworthy. But how many other European people approved or supported his militarization programmes although he was claiming to do so against Bolshevik threat from the east to protect the German Reich? No one cared for the miseries of Germany as a central European nation surrounded by many colonial powers but craved to extort reparation payments after ww1. The elixir of success drunk by an ambitious individual would inevitably lead to self exalting glory and the elixir is turned inside as a potion of poison blinding all humility and wisdom forced into self willed righteousness. So ruled the dictator of 3'rd Reich from the Wolfe's den (Wolfenschanze) directing all military operations in the open from the 'Den' dug deep inside the earth. For 45 years the German people lived as a divided nation with the west vigilant to a precarious peace under a cold war of nerves and the east subjugated to the will of brutal dictatorship. It is only that the people reunited by the will of Providence with walls of separation falling to pieces during 90's and a relatively definable peace returned to a beleaguered people Read from the news post the decision to cut down military expenditure is justified in view of many other present day commitments.But seen from the essence of most comments the choice for reduction is not feasible. The arguments put forward suggest increased militaristic security rather than a reduction as if to say that the war waged in all directions of azimuth sextant directed from Wolfe's den which ruined the nation is presently extended to many fields of concern. It means to suggest that the present German nation is vulnerable to more threats and hence cannot afford to be less vigilant to security and become impotent with demilitarization. However we observe concern for thick German Wallet to foot the bills of military expenditure for extended wars than the real interest of national security with guarded intelligence as if Germany is presently living in a wolves' den in the open European theater and whose borders were lost due to defeat from the den's deep pit.
02:56 April 24, 2011 by ronasch
Rearmament would not be in Germany's interest so why should they do it? I t might actually be in the interest of Germany's neighbors to be occupied by Germany because they are unable to manage their economies, but the current situation suits the German vey well. I am a citizen of the USA and wish my government would stop attempting to rule the wold and provide the citizens with jobs and some stability.
15:48 April 24, 2011 by hrt1
Germany has to improve its financial strength in the coming years, so reduction of military budget makes financial sense.

Sending fighter planes and troops often aggravates the problem rather than solving the issue.

War campaigns often becomes extremely lengthy until the last troop has been brought back, and civilian casualities can never be avoided.

Some while after a war campaign has been seemingly finished, we get confronted by an increased threat from underground activists.

There have been news articles about Latin Americans enrolling to U.S. military for obtaining a Green Card and then killed in the Middle-East leaving his wife and baby dependant on donations.

There also have been news articles that talks about the enormous size of U.S. population without any medial insurance.

I think that Germany is on the right move.
19:18 April 24, 2011 by raandy
Englishted Tweedle dee and tweedle dumb. you sound a bit stupid to me dude,get a grip,and make a comment you dildo
19:27 April 24, 2011 by hrt1
Get lost you Englishted nonsense.
08:11 April 25, 2011 by charlenej
I stopped reading at cobalisk. You're right, dude. It's from the Bild. Not even worth the time.
05:02 April 26, 2011 by jihao
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:31 April 29, 2011 by Major B
Forward from the "Great War of 2035", written by

American author William Keenan in 2055.

"The Great Central Eurasian superpower had hungrily eyed Europe like it's Mongol and Turkish ancestors centuries earlier. Since the U.S. withdrawal from its international policing role of the 20th and early 21st centuries, as demanded by its Congress and public, coalition organizations such as NATO seemed to keep conflicts in check. Alas, as in the 19th Century, this was not to last long. Europe had practically mothballed its military. China and Japan kept to themselves in Asia, pursuing their economic interests. The vacuum was filled by a state who had as strong coalition with the Russians and dreamed of a revivied pan-Turanism. Who would think they again would be knocking on the doors of Vienna? And there was no European state with the with wherewithal to defend Europe this time either."
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