(Defence; 01-02; p.4)
But according to the "Eckwerte" paper
there are up to 170.000 young men available every year serving
as social care workers in governmental and public organisations.
They are paid considerably less than their professional counterparts
while employed with mostly the same activities. On the other hand
there are up to 120.000 possible draftees a year exceeding the
replacement needs for professional soldiers. Their capabilities
in military terms are doubted - a reason for army officials to
refuse further reductions in service time - and they are not needed
to fulfil the tasks newly assigned to the Bundeswehr. Thus, they
are primarily costs in the balance but these could be avoided
by not drafting them.
Since the defence budget shall not be increased procurements have
to be rather selective. Secretary Scharping has tried to focus
on qualitative improvements but obviously had to take into account
industrial-political aspects. The issue of a new transport aeroplane
is a case in point: other than European offers were not taken,
reasons for the necessary number of items have been given but
the according underlying scenarios were not discussed in public.
Whereas Scharping's statements in this respect have been criticised
and branded as a mistake, his predecessor Volker Rühe did not
have to substantiate his decision to buy a new European fighter
Whatever the outcome of the next federal election
and whoever will be Germany's next defence secretary and whoever
will be the chancellor defining political guide-lines, there remain
some fundamental decisions about the armed forces to be made.
Even if the Bundeswehr becomes an army capable to intervene in
conflicts it needs political will to implement a certain structure
and focus on special procurement. Hopefully, the debate about
these issues will not be restricted to members of the government
or committees but take place in public, i.e. at least in the sole
institution than can legitimise the Bundeswehr, the German parliament.
(end of article)