The political leadership of the Bundeswehr wasn't convincing since, well, since the end of the 80's.
One of the symptoms of this is the personnel system mess in the Bundeswehr - "too many chieftains and not enough Indians", as it's usually called.
The government doesn't raise the pay appropriately and doesn't make service attractive, so the only way out for recruiting and retaining was to promote many soldiers to higher ranks.
Back in the 80's a tank driver was an enlisted conscript, now he's rather a junior NCO.
Back in the 80's a Feldwebel (lowest senior NCO rank) was respected for his training and experience - nowadays you first need to get to know him, for he could be anything from useless to competent. Staffs are huge, too.
One of the reasons for rank inflation at high levels (among professional officers) is likely NATO; you cannot send an NCO pilot to a staff where his colleagues with comparable qualification are ranked major or more. Certain positions de facto require a certain quantity of stars or a certain officer rank, so the Bundeswehr provides this rank (and doesn't do so only temporarily).
Multiple rounds of cutting the personnel size of the Bundeswehr affected mostly the short-serving soldiers of low ranks, while the professional and long-term volunteer soldiers were not cut away. Nowadays there's no useful balance between "chieftains and Indians" any more.
Global Observer has figures about the planned new Bundeswehr structure:
32.94% senior NCOs
19.73% junior NCOs
29.02% enlisted personnel
Everybody knows that this sucks, and everybody knows that this is the result of a bureaucracy following its momentum, not a result of deliberations about how to be able to expand the forces quickly if the need arises.
Those junior NCOs are effectively glorified enlisted personnel. The phenomenon known as "Neckermann Stuffz"* (a soldier who has the second junior NCO rank already on day one of his basic training) has been known since the mid-90's at the latest.
This rank inflation erodes confidence in superiors, confidence in subordinates and is generally an example of how corrupting language harms overall communication.
I consider the cutting of the Gordian rank inflation knot as the litmus test for a good minister of defence; every really good minister of defence would cut it. The others only administrate the misery.
*: Neckermann is a mail order retail company.