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Defense: Union considers military service plan to be cowardly

Defense: Union considers military service plan to be cowardly
Defense: Union considers military service plan to be cowardly

The CDU/CSU accuses Boris Pistorius of hesitation in his military service plans. The Defense Minister counters the criticism, but believes that further steps are necessary in the medium term.

Union parliamentary group vice-chairman Johann Wadephul has described Defense Minister Boris Pistorius’ (SPD) model for a new military service as a politically missed opportunity. Pistorius is clearly falling short of his own announcements, Wadephul told the German Press Agency in Berlin.

He criticized: “Instead of making a major move and proposing an obligation for women as part of a general military service obligation, he is making a half-baked proposal that does not solve the Bundeswehr’s personnel problems.”

It is wrong for Pistorius to claim that there is not enough time and the necessary unity to change the Basic Law in this election period. The traffic light government, together with the CDU/CSU, changed the Basic Law to enable special funds for the Bundeswehr. Discussions are currently underway on how to change the Basic Law together in order to secure the Federal Constitutional Court in the long term. It is incomprehensible why there cannot also be an agreement on changes to the military constitution or Article 12a of the Basic Law – this regulates military service for men. Wadephul: “Here Pistorius seems to have lost his courage and capitulated to his own party. The CDU, on the other hand, is still available for such discussions.”

Pistorius presented his concept on Wednesday. It is intended to be the basis for quickly strengthening the Bundeswehr in the event of a defense situation. From 2025 onwards, 5,000 additional conscripts will initially be recruited each year from the pool of 400,000 candidates in each year group, and later more. The new model will consist of a basic military service of six months with an option for additional voluntary military service of up to an additional 17 months. For this purpose, a mandatory registration will be introduced in which young men must state their willingness and ability to perform military service – and young women can do so.

Pistorius defends himself

The minister defended his actions. On Wednesday evening, the SPD politician said in the ARD “Tagesthemen” and ZDF “heute journal” that a general military service requirement would require an amendment to the constitution and that this could not be achieved before the 2025 federal election. “We have to get started. That’s why we’re in a hurry now. We cannot wait until we have a discussion about a general military service requirement or about the obviously obvious question of conscription for women,” said Pistorius on the ARD “Tagesthemen”. “Both mean an amendment to the constitution. Both take longer.” Pistorius stressed that he had made no secret of the fact that he considered a discussion about a general military service requirement and also about extending conscription to women to be necessary.

In response to calls for further steps, the minister replied that these were often the people responsible for the reduced capacity for training and barracks. “We are now getting back into it. And unfortunately we have to start from scratch,” said Pistorius on ARD. The military registration system had been “completely destroyed,” the minister complained on ZDF. There are no district military recruitment offices, no conscription structures, no training capacity.

Former military commissioner Bartels: “Proposed solution is small”

The former military commissioner Hans-Peter Bartels, now president of the Society for Security Policy, said of the Pistorius plan: “The problems identified are large, the proposed solution is small.” The lack of personnel is increasingly becoming the Achilles heel of Germany’s defense contribution, and the “strengthening of the questionnaire” will not change anything about this. “A revival of conscription in an adapted form should firstly make a substantial contribution to strengthening the active troops and secondly to the growth of the reserve,” said the Social Democrat Bartels.

The Greens’ junior members are insisting on maintaining voluntary service. “Young people must not become a stopgap measure for a misguided personnel policy in the Bundeswehr,” warned Svenja Appuhn, co-federal spokesperson for the Green Youth, in the “Rheinische Post” (Thursday). “We expect a clear assurance from Boris Pistorius that voluntary service will be maintained in any case,” said Appuhn. She made similar comments to the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND/Thursday). “Our crisis-stricken generation already has enough to go through,” said Appuhn there. She also demanded that volunteers be treated equally to those doing military service.

Source: Stern

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