Germany unveils big military cuts

13th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

13 January 2004 , BERLIN - Germany's military faces troop cuts, base closures and restructuring in the coming years aimed at creating a more nimble force with global reach, Defence Minister Peter Struck announced Tuesday. "Possible deployment areas for the German armed forces are the entire world," said Struck at a news briefing. Struck said the Bundeswehr, Germany's combined armed forces, will be divided into three new operational commands with a total of about 250,000 troops - down from their present str

13 January 2004

BERLIN - Germany's military faces troop cuts, base closures and restructuring in the coming years aimed at creating a more nimble force with global reach, Defence Minister Peter Struck announced Tuesday.

"Possible deployment areas for the German armed forces are the entire world," said Struck at a news briefing.

Struck said the Bundeswehr, Germany's combined armed forces, will be divided into three new operational commands with a total of about 250,000 troops - down from their present strength of 280,000.

A further 10,000 civilian employees will also be eliminated from the Bundeswehr's 128,000-strong civilian bureaucracy, he said.

About 100 Bundeswehr bases will be closed, Struck said.

Bundeswehr spending cuts in the coming years could reach EUR26 billion, Struck confirmed.

He insisted some of these funds would be put back into Bundeswehr from 2007 but this will be a matter for the government to decide year-by-year in its annual federal budget.

German defence spending is currently frozen at about EUR 24 billion annually through 2006 and NATO allies have criticized Berlin for spending a lower proportion of GDP funds on defence than other major Alliance nations.

Prior to Tuesday's announced cuts Germany was spending 1.5 percent of GDP on its military compared with 2.5 percent for Britain and France and well over 3 percent for the United States.

The classical Bundeswehr division into army, air force and navy will be maintained but forces will be revamped into a new triad with a rapid reaction force of 35,000 troops for high intensity warfare, said Struck.

A second echelon will be a 70,000-member stabilisation division for low and medium intensity conflict, he said.

A third element with 137,500 members will be for logistics and medical support and mainly comprised of civilian personnel.

Among projects being cancelled by the Bundeswehr are an order for 10,000 unarmoured vehicles, said Struck. The number of navy MA-90 helicopters ordered will be cut to 30 from 38.

Struck insisted Germany's nine-month military conscription system would be maintained but there have been widespread reports the system could be axed after the next general election in 2006.

DPA
Subject: German news

 

 

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