At current ‘slow’ pace modernization could take 50 years, says parliamentary report
Germany’s armed forces remain under-equipped, under-funded and too slow to deal with problems, a report on the state of the Bundeswehr has revealed. Although many problems have been known for years, “surprisingly little” was made to respond to some of them despite the crisis in Ukraine, he noted.
The document was produced by the office of Eva Hogl, German parliament commissioner for the Bundeswehr, who submitted it to parliament speaker Barbel Bas on Tuesday.
Hogl warned that the German army “lack of everything” from helmets and vests to modern digital radios, and remained burdened with bureaucracy when replenishing inventory. This problem was true even for the replacement of arms and ammunition that Berlin sent to Ukraine for use in its conflict against Russia.
The slow procurement process means that the planned modernization of the Bundeswehr would take a long time. For example, it would take decades to modernize the barracks, some of which are in a “wretched state” Hogl warned.
“If we stayed at the current rate… it would take about half a century before only the current infrastructure of the Bundeswehr would be completely renovated,” writes the commissioner.
The Department of Defense is also struggling to find recruits to fill vacancies, Hogl reported. Berlin wants to have 203,000 troops by 2031 but currently has a strength of around 183,000 and the numbers have dropped in the past year.
As an employer, the Bundeswehr faces competition from the private sector for a limited workforce, especially among young people, the report says. Potential recruits are discouraged by the realities of military service, such as long deployments to isolated bases.
Hogl hailed German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s decision to set up a 100 billion euro ($107 billion) special fund to refurbish the military, but said three times that amount would be needed to return the fully operational Bundeswehr.
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