geändert / updated: 17/04/08


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(Defence; 01-02; p.3)

New concepts?

Whereas the Weizsäcker-report provides a learned discussion of possible aims and means necessary, the papers of the MoD mainly present possible implementations of already defined and chosen aims. The report e.g. firstly outlines defence planning of France and the United Kingdom to formulate the goal of being able to intervene in conflicts. Secondly, some guide-lines concerning structure and size of the German armed forces are suggested. The question of conscript versus professional army is discussed in detail and the members of the commission do not give a unison recommendation. Procurement issues are not part of the report.
The concepts of the MoD focus on questions of necessary procurement and efficient management. Both are assuming that the Bundeswehr will consist of drafted recruits and professional soldiers as well and suggest appropriate re-structuring of the armed forces. They differ mainly in the assumption of size.
Defence secretary Scharping welcomed these concepts and worked on their implementation. An obvious example for that is the founding of GEBB, an organisation for procurement and operation lead by the ministry but guided by managerial virtues. On the other hand, Scharping did not develop answers to the political questions of tasks assigned to the armed forces and their respective size and structure needed. He thus acted like a company's manager: assuming a clear, not debatable goal and working only on its implementation.
The German political parties have different views on the genuine political questions: While the Democratic Socialists (PDS) prefer reducing the Bundeswehr to an army not capable to intervene in conflicts and sticking to territorial defence, the Liberals (FDP) can imagine a purely professional army and the Christian Democrats (CDU) mainly want to increase the defence budget. The current governing parties of Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens (GRÜNE) now have agreed on armed forces capable to intervene but not supplied with an increased budget.
Especially the Bundeswehr's structure shall not be changed according to the current government. If this may be explained by the fiscally advantageous institution of alternative service remains open.
(read on here)

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