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Big cuts in store for Bundeswehr

The Local · 26 Oct 2011, 13:33

Published: 26 Oct 2011 13:33 GMT+02:00

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The total number of military personnel will be reduced from more than 200,000 to 185,000, of which between 5,000 and 15,000 will be short-term voluntary recruits. Civilian staff numbers will be slashed from 76,000 to 55,000 under the plan, which is due to be completed by 2017 at the latest. The cuts are the biggest in the Bundeswehr's history.

Some 10,000 soldiers will remain available on a permanent basis for action abroad.

Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière said 31 bases would be closed completely, including six with more than 1,000 personnel. A further 90 cases will face severe cuts, while 33 will have fewer than 15 soldiers or civilians, meaning they no longer qualify as bases. The former East Germany will be left with just five bases.

Just six of Germany’s 16 states will see no base closures, although every state will see at least some reduction in troop presence.

The most severely affected region will be the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, where eight of the 31 bases will be closed, reducing the number of military personnel from 9.2 to 5.4 per 1,000 civilian inhabitants.

Some of the most spectacular closures will occur in Baden-Württemberg, where a tank base will lose nearly 2,000 jobs. And at the Fürstenfeldbruck air base in Bavaria, 800 airmen and 700 civilian personnel will see their jobs cut.

Florian Illing a spokesman for the city of Fürstenfeldbruck, a city of about 35,000 which relies heavily on the economic impact the airmen bring, said city leaders were very upset by the news.

"People here are very disappointed," Illing told The Local. "The economic impact will be major."

Announcing his plan, De Maizière insisted that the Bundeswehr could remain strong, but must function “under the terms of a consolidated federal budget and with fewer numbers.”

Wednesday’s decision is among the most important in a series of reforms, including eliminating conscription, which have been designed to try to save money and streamline the Bundeswehr, which has been criticized for inefficiency in the past.

A number of states and cities which are set to lose soldiers or bases are appealing for help to offset the economic blow the cuts will inflict.

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Rhineland-Palatinate state premier Kurt Beck called for financial support for the affected communities.

As for the soldiers themselves, the Federal Employment Agency said it was mobilizing to help them find new work.

DPA/DAPD/AFP/The Local/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:08 October 26, 2011 by Wise Up!
Why not? America is paying for their defense. Frees up more money for the welfare....
23:31 October 27, 2011 by Englishted
Defense against whom?
01:35 October 28, 2011 by nemo999
It just a signal to the United States, that it can continue if not deepen and accelerate it's reduction of forces in Europe. The United States Department of Defense see major threats in the Pacific Rim, not in Europe, and it force structure and base structures will be adjusted accordingly. The 9.25 percent reduction in Bundeswehr, will be match with at least a 7.25 percent reduction in US forces in Europe.
13:15 October 28, 2011 by Major B
That's right U.S., drastically reduce military forces in Europe. Go deep and long.
21:15 October 28, 2011 by McNair Kaserne
"The German government announced the biggest cuts in its military since the end of World War Two"

Did the person who wrote this intend it to be as funny as it is?

Methinks the German troop cuts of WWII were achieved in a different fashion. They were certainly not announced by what was left of the German government, unless we were to consider death notices sent to relatives to be such.

This is almost as funny as the Cunning Linguists solving an old code......
13:05 October 29, 2011 by Sastry.M
Shades of ancient wisdom appears to be dawning upon Deutschland! One Swamiji in preamble to a lecture discourse on the Bhagavad Gita in early 1980's, blamed it on Emperor Ashoka ,as the monarch of a strong central government whose Reign of power spread all over India, for greatly dismantling the Indian army more than 2500 yrs.ago.This was done as part of great social welfare reforms he had undertaken and as token in compliance with pacifying faith of Buddhism to which he had dedicated himself. Although protected by high rise Himalayan mountains in the north and oceanic waters of southern peninsula, the fate that had befallen India passing through centuries of dark period following AD is a well recorded history.

The above reference,apparently irrelevant to modern history, addresses basic human susceptibility of sustainable defense against temporal vicissitudes. Even if the federal German Govt. at center has confidence in safeguarding territorial integrity with reduced military, the voiced economic concerns of local laender govts. should be accorded immediate priority, given the present day financial and economic crises sweeping the globe.

If the spared money of saved defense spending can judiciously augment the welfare of national people, their fertile productivity can well wither the economical debacles. If the local govts. are forced to finance themselves by setting up more gambling Casinos and bar restaurants to amuse dark night life, the saved finances of military spending may not appease the insatiable greed of day time bankers with supporting bail outs.
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