The Bundeswehr is expected to grow to 203,000 soldiers by 2031. But developments point in a different direction.
Despite efforts to increase personnel, the number of Bundeswehr soldiers has fallen to 181,500 men and women. As of December 31, 2023, there were around 1,500 temporary and professional soldiers as well as voluntary military service fewer than a year earlier, as the Ministry of Defense announced to the German Press Agency. At the end of 2022, the Bundeswehr still had 183,050 soldiers.
The primary goal of the Bundeswehr is and remains the sustained strengthening of personnel readiness, said a spokeswoman. “We need qualified and operational women and men who are available in sufficient numbers for the upcoming tasks and orders.”
The increasingly noticeable effects of demographic and social change were evident in practically all professional and work areas. “The former competition among job seekers for a job has turned into competition between employers for workers – especially skilled workers,” she said. This development was also reflected in the Bundeswehr. A “bundle of measures and initiatives” have been introduced to increase the attractiveness, act more flexibly and react more quickly.
A detailed look at the number of personnel shows that there is a slight increase in the number of professional soldiers and those doing voluntary military service, and a decrease in particular in the case of temporary soldiers. The declared goal is for the Bundeswehr to grow to 203,000 soldiers by 2031. Recently there has also been an increased debate about possible compulsory military service or the hiring of soldiers without German citizenship.
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