On Course, Of Course

Don’t anyone ever tell you that Germans aren’t reliable.

Bundeswehr

As noted yesterday, the equipment used by the German army is still as inadequate as ever, despite repeated promises by the German defense minister to make improvements.

And now, despite claims by the German government to one day reach the official NATO target of 2 per cent GDP on defense spending it agreed to years ago, it won’t even be able to make the 1.5 percent it set for itself by 2024. This is “round,” as the Germans say. It all fits like a glove.

Germany is on course to miss its self-declared target for defence spending in a development that threatens to trigger a new row with the US and raises further questions over Berlin’s military contribution to Nato.

The government of Angela Merkel agreed last year to raise the German military budget to 1.5 per cent of gross domestic product by 2024 — a marked increase but still short of the official Nato target of 2 per cent. 

But the 1.5 per cent target is now under threat after Olaf Scholz, the Social Democrat (SPD) finance minister, rebuffed plans for an ambitious increase in military spending in the years ahead, citing a worsening economic outlook.

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The Bundeswehr Is Kaputt So Let’s Put It In Charge

Makes sense. Sort of.

Bundeswehr

As of Jan. 1, Germany is on the hook to provide 5,000 soldiers for NATO’s so-called Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, or VJTF. The formation must be ready to fight wherever it is needed within 48 to 72 hours. Partner nations for this year’s rotation include the Netherlands, Norway, France, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Lithuania, bringing the total package to around 8,000.

A key rationale for the quick-reaction force is to display to Moscow the ability to ferry combat power across Europe rapidly at a time when speed is believed to be a Russian advantage. Governments here are on edge from the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea, and more recently from a naval standoff between the two countries in the Sea of Asov. Both incidents fit into a pattern of Russia steering clear of outright war while trying to shake up the post-Soviet order around its borders, according to issue experts…

The Bundeswehr, plagued by equipment shortfalls, management problems, or both – depending on who is asked, has had to dig deep to assemble the needed equipment for the task force lead. In the end, funneling supplies from across the force to the tip of the spear appears to have worked, but it has depleted the readiness of many units, said Christian Mölling, an analyst with the Berlin-based German Council on Foreign Relations, DGAP.

“It means the rest of the Bundeswehr is no longer the kind of deterrent it is meant to be.”

Bundeswehr To Become More International

Because it can’t find enough Germans willing to serve.

Bundeswehr

Germany’s armed forces appeared ready to break with its German nationality prerequisite for fixed-term and professional soldiers Thursday by suggesting that other EU citizens could help fill its thinned ranks.

This makes sense. At least for Germany it does. Why have the army protecting your so-called “nation” (already an outdated notion in Europe) made up solely of those citizens born and raised here when you could recruit folks from other countries who have even weaker emotional ties to Germany than the Germans do? And why just limit it to European citizens? I’m thinking you could have the Russians, the Chinese and everybody else on God’s green acre protecting you from the Russians, the Chinese and everybody else on God’s green acre and you wouldn’t even have to fly in interpeters once the surrender negotiations begin.

Aus einem vertraulichen Ministeriumskonzept geht hervor, dass Ministerin Ursula von der Leyen vor allem Polen, Italiener und Rumänen für ihre Truppe anwerben will.

Stray Dogs Might Be Next

Germany’s military has a manpower problem, and its solution may be foreigners and teenagers.

Bundeswehr

Germany’s long-understaffed Bundeswehr is using computer videogames in an effort to lure young people into its ranks.

During this year’s Gamescom trade fair for video games in Cologne, the German armed forces unfurled a number of “Multiplayer in Its Best” and “A More Open World Doesn’t Exist” posters with a bundeswehrkarriere.de link carefully printed underneath.

“Vor zwei Jahren hab’ ich noch mit Playmobil gespielt.”

Must Be The Heat

Modern German war machines aren’t made for it, if you know what I mean.

Heat

German army shows off ailing NATO helicopter – German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen is touring the ranks of the Bundeswehr this summer. But some of the military hardware she is admiring, like the NH90 helicopter, has seen more ground time than flight time.

Mismanagement or routine problems?

Can’t be mismanagement because Frau von der Leyen is Miss Management herself. She has been the Bundeswehr boss for ages now and would never allow this type of thing to happen even though it clearly is happening (a man would have been fired long ago). Besides, she’s one of Chancellor Merkel’s very top girls in the Chancellor Merkel girl group. They’re called The Untouchables.

“We can say that the NH90 has proved its worth.”

That’s Not Fair

Why couldn’t German tanks take part in the competition?

Oh, I forgot. They’re all broken.

The idea of green U.S. Army M1 Abrams tanks with big white stars on their sides, huge American flags flying on top, and art on the hull depicting a turtle wearing a World War II-era tanker uniform, running over a pile of cars sounds like something straight out of a 1980s arcade game. But its actually a real scene from the annual Strong Europe Tank Challenge at the service’s 7th Army Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany.

German Of The Day: Biodiesel

That means biodiesel. And it’s dangerous stuff. Just go ask the German Air Force.

Biodiesel

An entire squadron of Luftwaffe Tornadoes was out of action for a week because there was too much biodiesel in their kerosene. But at least the air quality around that airbase was exceptionally good for a few days, you know?

Meanwhile… The Bundeswehr is running out of tents and clothing now. Well, to be fair, it’s not the entire Budneswehr. It’s just their special rapid deployment forces.

Die Luftwaffen-Tornados auf dem Fliegerhorst Jagel in Schleswig-Holstein dürfen seit einer Woche nicht fliegen, weil dem Kerosin zu viel Biodiesel zugemischt war.

PS: I think this guy may have been given too much biodiesel, too.

Can Somebody Pick Up The German Army In Mali?

I mean, if it’s on your way and not too much of an inconvenience? They want to come home now but their airplane is broken.

Mali

The Bundeswehr, one of NATO’s largest militaries, is now a steady source of news about planes that can’t fly, tanks that break down and troops that admire the Nazis. So what exactly has gone wrong in Germany’s army?

Quite simple, really. These are soldiers who are not allowed to be soldiers in an army that is not allowed to be an army – other than to serve as an excuse for being able to export lots of way cool and expensive military equipment that works fine everywhere else but here. There’s a lack of culture in Germany regarding its military and its responsibility as a partner, in other words.

Insgesamt 89 in Mali eingesetzte deutsche Soldaten warten seit Tagen auf eine Rückflugmöglichkeit aus dem westafrikanischen Krisenstaat in den Heimaturlaub.

“Not Deployable For Collective Defense”

Three years ago, Germany’s military made headlines when it used broomsticks instead of machine guns during a NATO exercise because of a shortage of equipment. The lack of real weapons in the European Union’s most populous nation was seen as symptomatic of how underfunded its military has long been.

Germany

One Russian annexation later, if anything, the state of affairs has only gotten worse, according to the parliamentary commissioner for the country’s armed forces.

He has now reached the conclusion that the German military is virtually “not deployable for collective defense,” at the moment. Independent commissioner Hans-Peter Bartels also indicated in a recent interview that Germany was unprepared for the possibility of a larger conflict even though smaller operations abroad may still be possible.

Meanwhile… Rising exports, Turkish tanks fuel German arms sales debate.

Again: Germany’s army is an alibi army that will never be used for anything other than to make Germans feel better (less worse?) about being 1) pacifists while being at the same time 2) the world’s third largest weapons exporter. Remember this when the next demand for them to spend 2 percent GDP on their defense comes up and they start to fidget – and get away with not spending it again.

We Are The One Percent

Whereas in 1990 there were 585,000 soldiers in the German army, this number has now dropped to 177,000. The military budget, meanwhile, currently stands at a little over 1 percent of GDP.

That’s GDP for Got no Dinero, Partner.

Bundeswehr

But now Germany is going to change all of that or something and like totally increase its military spending by, I dunno, way lots. Or at least that is how we are supposed to see it. Flinten-Uschi (Ursula von der Leyen) has taken control and isn’t going to take it anymore – and is also shooting for a raise and a new job at the Chancellery one day, by the way.

Nonetheless, the new commitment still keeps Germany way below its NATO commitment to invest two percent of GDP in its military. For that it would have needed to raise the budget to €60 billion instead of €39.2 billion

Ständig kommen neue Auslandseinsätze auf die Bundeswehr zu, aber ihre Ausrüstung ist veraltet oder technisch anfällig. Die Aufstockung der Truppe löst die Probleme nicht.