Quick message on the German defence review/reform

The short version:

There was a minister with an undersecretary who prepared a defence review. The chancellor's office didn't like the 'concept'. The minister left office because of a scandal, a new minister came, the undersecretary was fired asap, the new minister explained that he needs to look into everything closely and will not make major decisions/announcements till summer at least. Now we have rumours that there wasn't enough money for the old reform idea and the Bundeswehr might need to shrink to about 156k personnel.

And now the really short version:
It was a good idea to not pay much attention and to not write much about German defence reform in the last months. Nothing came of it anyway.



  1. There are quite a few numbers floating around (130k, less than 150k, 156k, 165k, less than 185k). Even disregarding how large our forces actually need to be, the German taxpayers seem to get really poor value for their money. Other countries with higher investment per soldier ratios, similiar living standards, (larger, more capital-intensive navies) and professional forces seem to be able to maintain larger, more capable militaries than Germany. According some older modells (Weizsäcker, ...) we should be able to maintain highly, capable, professional armed forces of around 210k active troops with the current budget.

  2. That is a common problem in almost all countries with a military.

    #1 Keep peace.
    #2 Upkeep the necessary military at rather low taxpayer's expenses.

    Most states aren't run this way.

  3. The 185k number was to high anyway. Remember that Reichswehr had only 100k nominal. Did the numbers some time ago (didn't safe it, though) and came up with 150/155k, including everything.

    The Bundeswehr is certainly a disaster area.
    No expeditionary capability to speak of (for a lot of reasons), nill strategic mobility.
    And if it would be capable of territorial defence - well, we'll never find out.
    It's a political, ideological, societal problem foremost.

    And Germany is faaar away from the 2% GDP NATO goal, can't even stabilize at 1.5% annually that one might consider the peace time minimum for the armed forces of an industrialized country.

    But I guess by now my position is known :-D ... forget about national forces, go for a Euro-force. Anything else will never deliver what is required without turning Germany into a highly militarized state.