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Bundeswehr: Lindner and Buschmann against Pistorius’ military service model

The German army has significant personnel problems. Defense Minister Pistorius wants to introduce a new form of military service. But his cabinet colleagues Lindner and Buschmann are opposed to this.

The model for a new type of military service presented by Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) is strictly rejected by the coalition partner FDP. In a letter to the Defense Minister, Finance Minister Christian Lindner and Justice Minister Marco Buschmann welcome the debate he has initiated on increasing military capability. However, they do not consider general military service or conscription to be realistic for financial, economic and legal reasons. Instead, the two FDP politicians are focusing on making the military profession more attractive and giving the reserves a stronger role.

The letter from Lindner and Buschmann to Pistorius was first reported by “Welt”. It is also available to the German Press Agency in Berlin.

FDP sees no social acceptance

“We are united by the goal of making the Bundeswehr one of the most modern and powerful armies,” the letter states. “We can and will only achieve this goal with the appropriate social acceptance. In our opinion, this rules out the reintroduction of general conscription or compulsory service.”

High costs feared for new military service

The two FDP ministers point out that structures would have to be set up for a new general military or service obligation, which would be a “lengthy and extremely costly process”.

A new military or service obligation could also lead to significant economic losses, as the Ifo Institute determined in a brief expert report for the Federal Ministry of Finance. “According to the Ifo Institute’s calculations, the annual obligation of a quarter of an age cohort to military or service obligation alone, i.e. around 195,000 people, would lead to a decline in gross national income of 17.1 billion euros.”

Legal concerns too

Lindner and Buschmann believe it is a “measure of foresighted wisdom” to take stock of the people in Germany who could be drafted in the event of a defense. “Any further requirement for small parts of a year group to be examined or even to perform military service would, however, raise unavoidable questions of military justice,” they write. In addition, this represents a profound infringement on the freedom and personal life planning of those affected.

In order to solve the Bundeswehr’s personnel problems, the two FDP politicians are instead focusing on making the armed forces an “even more attractive employer”. In addition, the role of reservists should be strengthened. They must be more integrated into the Bundeswehr’s structures because they are the practitioners and professionals that the troops urgently need.

Proposal from Pistorius

Pistorius’ new model provides for 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 – young women can do this voluntarily. From 2025 onwards, 5,000 additional conscripts will be recruited each year from the pool of 400,000 candidates per year, and later more.

Source: Stern

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