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Most military leaders say reforms 'will not last'

The Local · 7 Sep 2012, 15:45

Published: 07 Sep 2012 15:45 GMT+02:00

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The structural reforms, spearheaded by Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière, are part of a plan to reduce the German army to 170,000 full and part-time employees by 2017.

But around 90 percent said the changes would have to be reversed soon, and would not last, while around 75 percent said they were poorly or very poorly involved in the reforms.

Of the more than 1,700 soldiers asked by the Chemnitz Technical University on behalf of the soldiers' association (Bundeswehrverband), just 27 percent said they thought the reforms were bad or very bad.

But 62 percent said they thought there would have been better ways to reform the military, while 47 percent said the changes had been poorly executed.

Over 75 percent of the 1,700 leaders asked said they felt they were not involved enough in the changes that have already been made – something de Maizière's spokesman said the ministry would work to improve when implementing future changes.

De Maizière's spokesman added on Friday that the minister found the study results understandable.

“It was to be expected and understandable that military structural reforms have created a feeling of security among soldiers, employees and their families.”

Upcoming stages of the reforms, and how they can be better introduced, are to be discussed at the German army conference at the end of October.

Story continues below…

DPA/DAPD/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:29 September 7, 2012 by raandy
I am sure it can be said that the down sizing of the Military here in Germany was handled poorly

but one could also say "why pay for a cow when the milk is free."
19:10 September 7, 2012 by coffeelover
@ raandy,,,Did you just learn the "free milk" idiom? I do not understand what that common reference has to do with the story of downsizing Germany's military, and how military leaders are unhappy with the way it came down. Please explain your meaning, and reference.
22:15 September 7, 2012 by tercel
@ 19:10 September 7, 2012 by coffeelover

"the "free milk" idiom"

The meaning is you do not buy the cow when the milk is free. The reference is to the US military defending western europe.

67 years after WW2 ended and 22 years after the cold war ended the US still has over 68,000 troops in Germany. Why? The US nuclear umbrella over western europe and Germany has cost the US taxpayers 100's and 100's of billions of dollars. Why? So Germany and western europe can spend as little as possible on their self defense.

Germany is down sizing it's military so now Germany will be spending LESS on it's self defense and expecting the US taxpayers to pay more. Why buy the cow - pay for your own defense, when the milk is free - the US tax payers pay for the defense of your country. That's not so difficult to understand now is it?
22:25 September 7, 2012 by The Man
Not sure I understand the reference to the US forces with the plans to downsize Germany's armed forces.

Surely, as it is so often said these days, peace in Europe since 1945 has been solely due to the actions of the EU, who alone have been responsible for bringing peace and harmony across Europe?

Which begs the question, what purpose is there in NATO and why does the US maintain such a high force level in Europe?
23:50 September 7, 2012 by tercel
@ 22:25 September 7, 2012 by The Man

The reference to US forces has to do with the question about "free milk", read all the posts.

"Surely, as it is so often said these days, peace in Europe since 1945 has been solely due to the actions of the EU, who alone have been responsible for bringing peace and harmony across Europe?"

The formation of the EU was started in 1957, that is quite a few years after 1945, the Maastrich treaty established the EU under its name in 1993 and the Lisbon treaty established it's constitutional basis in 2009. In so far as western Europeans killing one another as in WW1 and WW2, yes the EU it appears did put an end to that. In so far as the western European defense against the possible Soviet and Eastern Block invasion, the EU had nothing to do with it. If the US pulled out of western Europe after WW2 as it did in WW1 you all would be satellites of the Soviet Union now.

"Which begs the question, what purpose is there in NATO and why does the US maintain such a high force level in Europe?"

Exactly, now that the Soviet Union has collapsed NATO is useless, you should just disband your military and like Costa Rica just have a national police force to go after those nasty right wing neo-nazies that don't want their country over run by islam. Why have a military to defend your country when your country is not worth defending? To save the US taxpayer from wasting any more money on western Europe, all US forces in Europe should be sent home.

By the way we should also dig up our war dead and bring them home also, I doubt the US would like to read in 20 or 25 years from now that their graves have been desecrated like the graves of the English war dead in Libya recently.

03:17 September 8, 2012 by Hell low Kitty
@ tercel

U wrote:"In so far as western Europeans killing one another as in WW1..."

The USA was not as a neutral peace choir in Europe !!

You should rather ask yourself why the U.S. has ever interfered in Europe.

The end of WWI without the United States, would probably have found a different peace.

The Peace Treaty of Brest-Litovsk(March1918) was allready signed in WWI between Soviet Russia (after the Octoberrevolution in Russia) and the Central Powers.

Soviet Russia renounced its sovereign rights in Poland, Lithuania, and Courland. The future of these areas should be in agreement with the German Empire controlled by the local people for the right to self determination. Estonia and Livonia, as well as almost the entire territory of Belarus (west of the Dnieper) were occupied by German troops, the Ukraine and Finland were recognized as independent states. The Central Powers renounced annexations and reparations. Russia lost through.

It appears possible to negotiate an similar acceptable peace agreement with the rest of the Entente. German soldiers were tired of fighting,mutinies also developed the Kiel and at the November Revolution.The Central Powers had to consider such negative developments in a realistic view for the future.So a balanced outcome were maybe possiple,and WWII never developed,same for the Cold War Period.
05:24 September 8, 2012 by tercel
@ 03:17 September 8, 2012 by Hell low Kitty

"You should rather ask yourself why the U.S. has ever interfered in Europe."

You are right, the German defense of July 18, 1918 against the French and French colonial forces at Chateau-Thierry and Fontenoy was poised to succeed if the darn Americans were back home in the US. This was part of the second battle of the Marne. This was poised to punch a 25 mile wide hole in the French lines, and was advancing towards Paris. If the Germans using many troops from the Russian front captured Paris, France would have surrendered and the English would have been forced back across the channel and Germany would have won WW1. Only if...

Then those darn Americans again wrecked Germanys plans to conquer Europe in WW2. Then can you believe it, those Americans stood eyeball to eyeball with the Soviet Communists poised to overrun western Europe until the Soviets blinked and backed off.

Your post has some facts but mostly it is full of only ifs and maybe possibles that never were. The biggest thing that you leave out is that France DEMANDED massive reparations from Germany after WW1 and would not compromise despite the English and American attempts to get them to tone down what they demanded.

Well it seems we got a long way off the topic of downsizing the German army and "the milk is free".
06:13 September 8, 2012 by Hell low Kitty
I rather ment the delivery of amunition to the UK before the US entered the War.

"Conquer Europe" is such a typical simplification.have you ever condemned the UK for their conquest in the same Way?But i give you something to think about it.

In June 1939, Marshal Rydz-Smigly told Polish officers: "Poland wants war with Germany and Germany will not be able to prevent it, even if it wanted to."

Have you ever read something about "Międzymorze"?Also known in English as Intermarium or Intermarum) was a plan, pursued after World War I by Polish leader Józef Piłsudski, for a federation, under Poland's aegis of Central and Eastern European countries. Invited to join the proposed federation were the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia), Finland, Belarus, Ukraine, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia.

The proposed federation was meant to emulate the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.

I really don`t want rewrite History here,but the majority of people knows not very much about what happens,between WW1 and WW 2 in the so called "Polish Corridor".The Polish People saw a good moment to go against the Germans.Germany was forced after the capitulation after WW1, to reduce its military drastically It always had to reckon with the military intervention by former opponents.

By the way,France declared War on Germany first.(Sep.3.1939)and they invade German Territory first on Sep.7.1939,but just until Sep.12.1939.It was the start of the so called "Phoney War"(Sep.39-March40 - 7 Month)

By the way have a link about Costs for the US Military presence in Germany?
07:57 September 8, 2012 by CoolBlueIce
The poor German military... Damned if you do... damned if you don't.
09:03 September 8, 2012 by wood artist
Sounds like a bunch of self-important officers need to grow up. Grunts understand that you follow orders unless they're clearly illegal, and most of those 1700 should do the same thing. Remember, the military is ultimately responsible to the civilian government, not the other way around. I'm all for participatory management, but when the decisions are at least partly political, it's time to salute and do your job. Sorry your little fiefdom got changed, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

Ultimately the decisions made may be good or bad, or simply different, but beyond asking for input and ideas it's the job of the government to make these decisions.

12:28 September 8, 2012 by Onlythetruth
What's the problem? The reshuffling of german defense priorities is inconsequential as the US has been providing the real deterrent all along. In an increasingly complicated world defense money has to be spent on many things other than the army.
10:12 September 9, 2012 by raandy

try this one

"open mouth and insert foot." a little less cryptic for ya
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