Background Report: The German Armed Forces heading toward taking the offensive

Berlin By ,,means of a directive for the further development of the German Armed Forces", the German military shall be in a position, within a few years, to lead extended and ,,robust"combat missions ( ,,class instead of mass!") throughout the world. Thus, after the reorganization, the armed forces will become an instrument of ,,preemptive warfare"and satisfy the tenets of the basic ,,defense policy".

Defense Minister Struck instructed the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces to produce, by the end of the year, the first submission of a structural and organizational plan as well as a plan for materiel and equipment for the new concept of the Armed Forces. The British troops which marched into Basra during the war against Iraq, provide the primary model for the new operational capability of the German Armed Forces made ,,more fit for action". The guiding principle of the reorganization was formulated at a conference of the commanding generals under the leadership of Chief of Staff, General Schneiderhan. It reads: ,,The probability of deployments must be the governing structure."It relates to a ,,significant qualitative jump in the abilities and thus the effectiveness of our armed forces", the chief of staff explained to the Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie (National Association of German Industry): ,,We must seize the initiative and participate in the organization of the order of our world of the 21st century, which is still in the process of evolving."

,,An army fit for action"

To guarantee the final reorganization of the German Armed Forces into an army capable of world wide intervention, the present structure of the armed forces must have basic changes. The generals propose separation of the armed forces into three specialized parts, intervention forces, stabilization forces and support forces. The troop contingent of the German army, available for deployment abroad, will thus be tripled. This intervention force is to consist of 40,000 high tech specialists of the three specialized forces. Patterned on the US example, they will be digitally integrated ( ,,Network Centric Warfare"). An additional 75,000 soldiers are to be available as ,,stabilization forces", in other words, occupation duties as practiced currently in Afghanistan or the Balkans. For those troops ,,robust"equipment has been planned, which enables them to ,,separate conflicting parties."The rest of the armed forces shall be adapted to the objective of an ,,army fit for action"; it is to be available as a ,,structured reserve for deployment"as well.

The commanders of the specialized armed forces have already begun to implement the government's instructions along the relevant guideline ( ,,German Armed Forces 2020"). It is suggested, that the targeted concept of the German ,,military of the future"corresponds with those of the USA and Great Britain. Like their military, the German armed forces must be able to attack other states at any time. The military leadership asserts that ,,deployments for the purpose of preventing conflicts and coping with crises are highly complex; they can be identified through rapidly moving transitions and can quickly develop into intense battles."The Center for Analyses and Studies or ,,Zentrum fuer Analysen und Studien"of the German military had asserted in an earlier study that the German military would not be able to proceed only defensively, but would have to proceed with ,,offensive operations."Since these wars are to be conducted ,,outside of geographical boundaries", the ,,readiness of forces which can be strategically re-deployed"is regarded as an additional important aspect. The procurement of a new generation of armored personnel carriers, which is considered a ,,key project for the modernization of the German army"during deployments abroad, is already a foregone conclusion.


According to critics, the upgrading of the German navy and its orientation toward offensive actions against other states continues the ,,inglorious traditions of both, the empire and Hitler's fascism."Meanwhile, the navy officially asserts that it prepares itself to be ,,ready for world wide action on the high seas."This depends on the further build-up of the maritime deployment forces with a ,,broad escalation and de-escalation spectrum"in order ,,to be able to support political goals with an early and credible demonstration of military capabilities."Chief of Staff of the German Navy, Feldt, illustrates how the German war ships are to promote Berlin's ambitions for world power: ,,Using the high seas allows naval forces to be stationed in advance in distant regions. Prolonged, demonstrative presence in international waters within close proximity to a potential area of deployment, without the necessity of a diplomatic announcement or political approval of a host country, emphasizes the political will and ability for the deployment of armed forces."Feldt states, that the ,,most probable areas for action"are in the marginal seas and waters of potential crisis states or regions, ,,in the area ranging from the open sea to a coast line which must be controlled in order to support operations on land, as well as inland from the region which can be supported from the sea."

Further options

Upgrading of armament with aggressive weapon systems of the German air force is also well under way. The Chief of Staff of the German Air Force points out that precision armaments ,,to be used in air attacks"already exist and that the appropriate functions of development and integration are currently being emphatically pursued. It will be possible to cover the ,,total spectrum of the necessary capabilities, including the future capability to engage targets above water from the air."Notable is that the previous air force plans for a specific Tornado squadron have remained untouched by all plans for cutbacks connected with ,,modernization". This fighter bomber unit has been optimized for the deployment of nuclear weapons and also is scheduled into the plans of NATO - Berlin's option for nuclear participation. 1)

1) See also earlier article German Armed Forces wants ,,influence over nuclear bombs"

See also earlier articles ,,We only know one thing..." and Military Music

Die Luftwaffe wird auf die Einsatzaufgaben ausgerichtet; Europaeische Sicherheit 6/2003
Zukunftsperspektiven für die Deutsche Marine; Europaeische Sicherheit 9/2003
Das Deutsche Heer der Zukunft; Europaeische Sicherheit 10/2003
,,Neue Aufgaben - neuer Kurs"; 02.10.2003
Die neue Bundeswehr soll kaempfen koennen wie die Briten in Irak; Frankfurter Rundschau 27.10.2003
Bundeswehr sucht Einsatzbereitschaft; Berliner Zeitung 28.10.2003
Network Enabled Capabilities - Folgerungen für die Bundeswehr; 18.11.2003
Bundeswehr ,,kein bewaffnetes THW"; Neues Deutschland 20.11.2003
Bundeswehr vor Radikalumbau; Die Welt 01.12.2003