What Army?

Nobody wants to join Germany’s army.

Army

Germany’s armed forces are struggling to attract much-needed recruits, with the number of new soldiers joining the Bundeswehr falling to an all-time low last year. The shortages are an urgent challenge for the German military, which has tried to boost its strength and capabilities at a time of record-low unemployment, and against fierce competition from both the private sector and institutions such as the police.

The need to build up the Bundeswehr reflects at least in part the recent pressure from the U.S. and other allies to raise German defense spending to 2 percent of gross domestic product, in line with a longstanding commitment given by all NATO members. Berlin spent 1.2 percent of its budget on defense last year, a figure that is expected to rise to 1.5 percent by 2024. Still …

JUST 20,000 RECRUITS JOINED THE ARMED FORCES IN 2018, DOWN FROM 23,000 THE PREVIOUS YEAR, AND THE LOWEST IN THE HISTORY OF THE BUNDESWEHR.

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Germany Reassures NATO Partners It Will Continue To Miss Defense Spending Goals

Worried that the German government’s tax revenues are likely to decrease in coming years due to a slowing economy, German defense officials were quick to explain to their NATO partners that this will have absolutely no effect on the country’s continued failure to increase defense expenditures.

Defens

“Whether tax revenues increase or not is really not the issue here,” these officials stressed. “We have absolutely no intention of raising our defense spending under any circumstances. We do this to ensure that our NATO partners will be able to plan effectively for future increased defense spending on their part and thus continue to protect us as they have done so in the past, pretty much free of charge. For us, anyway. But still.”

“We have time until the end of March. Let us negotiate.”

This Is A Bad Hair Day

For hair everywhere. Especially in the Bundeswehr. German court rules goth soldier must get a hair cut.

Goth

Sorry, pal. But a man’s goth to do what he’s goth to do. At least those cute Bundeswehr chicks goth off the hook…

The soldier, a member of Germany’s Gothic scene who wants to wear his hair long, considered the armed services law discriminatory because it allows women to wear long hair, but not men.

Men in previous ages wore their hair long, argued the 51-year-old who works in the defense ministry in Bonn. He said ancient, long-haired warriors were thought to have a particular masculinity, so he did not understand why only women were currently allowed to wear their hair long.

“Fashionable hairstyles are allowed, provided they are not particularly conspicuous in cut or shape, such as mohawk, ornamental or sidecuts.”

Speaking Of Mangelhaft…

As reported yesterday, the guy in charge of inspecting the Bundeswehr has given it yet another inadequate (mangelhaft) rating.

Steinmeier

Now the President of Germany himself, that guy up there, forget his name, can  personally confirm this. He is currently gestrandet (stranded) in Ethiopia after making a state visit because his Bundeswehr One or whatever the hell they call it is, well, she is broken.

Anybody know anybody passing through Ethiopia the next few days who might be willing to pick up the President of Germany and bring him to the nearest bus station or something?

Die Unglücksserie bei den deutschen Regierungsfliegern reißt nicht ab. Nach Entwicklungsminister Müller sitzt nun auch Bundespräsident Steinmeier zeitweise in Afrika fest. Ein Defekt an seiner Airbus-Maschine muss erst noch repariert werden.

German Of The Day: Mangelhaft

That means inadequate.

Mangelhaft

And that’s what Germany’s Wehrbeauftragter (Defense Commissioner) has to say about the conditions of Germany’s Bundeswehr. It’s still inadequate. I know this isn’t news or anything but it’s a cool word, don’t you think?

Funny, the Bundeswehr has been inadequate for as long as anyone can remember. At what point can you safely conclude that this inadequacy is intentional?

“Die Lage der Bundeswehr als „nach wie vor mangelhaft.”

Spying? On What?

An Afghan linguist has been arrested in the Rhineland for spying for Iran to get – now get this – information about German military operations in Afghanistan.

Bundeswehr

What German military operations in Afghanistan? We need to get our spies moving on this, too. And pronto. Talk about top secret stuff. Not even the Bundeswehr knows about any German military operations in Afghanistan.

The German armed forces (Bundeswehr) have up to 1,300 personnel in the international security force in Afghanistan, with a mandate currently running until the end of March.

Based in Mazar-e-Sharif, a northern city, the German contingent’s job is to train Afghan government troops, carry out surveillance and protect humanitarian missions. They have been involved in clashes with Taliban insurgents…

Clashes with the Taliban? A few fender benders with the Taliban or what? Or was it loud haggling over the price of a carpet?

Der gebürtige Afghane arbeitete für die Bundeswehr als Sprachauswerter und landeskundlicher Berater. Für den iranischen Geheimdienst soll er bereits seit mehreren Jahren gearbeitet haben.

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.”

But Then Who’s Going To Protect Us?

German ISAF (I Saw Americans Fighting) are already packing their bags in Afghanistan.

ISAF

President Donald Trump’s mooted decision to pull half the US troops out of Afghanistan could mean that the German military follows suit, according to a former head of the Bundeswehr.

“If the United States reduces itself to a small contingent in Afghanistan there’s no reason for us to continue the mission anymore,” retired General Harald Kujat, inspector general of the German military between 2000 and 2002, told the Tagesspiegel newspaper on Thursday.

He added that it was “out of the question” to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan if the protection and support of German troops could not be guaranteed, though he said he expected other NATO members, such as the UK, to increase their contribution to make up for any US withdrawal.

I mean, what on earth do the Americans expect the German army to do? Protect themselves? Like, with firearms or something?

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.

It Wasn’t Sabotage

I read half a dozen times today that no, it wasn’t sabotage that caused a forced landing of Angela Merkel’s plane on its way to the G20 in Argentina shortly after leaving Berlin.

Plane

Of course it wasn’t sabotage. It was a Bundeswehr plane, folks. That’s all you need to know. What’s interesting is how the first thing everyone thinks is that it could have, might have, must have been sabotage. Angie, maybe it really is time for you to go.

The plane’s communications system went down and the crew had to use a satellite phone to contact air traffic controllers, Germany’s Spiegel website reported. The problem is thought to have been with an electronic distribution box, which controls both the radio and discharge of aviation fuel.

The German air force denied suggestions that the plane’s electronics could have been sabotaged. “There’s is absolutely no indication of a criminal background,” a spokesman said.

Es ist dringend.”