Defense report debate
Concern about “alarming” deficiencies in the Bundeswehr – Lambrecht: Defense has never been so important
In view of the Ukraine war, the lack of equipment in the Bundeswehr is once again the focus of attention. In the Bundestag, the military commissioner points out “alarming” problems and warns that 100 billion euros alone is not enough.
The annual report by Defense Commissioner Eva Högl makes it abundantly clear how bad the Bundeswehr’s equipment is at the moment. The report had already been presented in March and was discussed in the Bundestag on Friday. In view of the new findings, Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) emphasized the massively increased urgency of sufficient national defense capabilities. “It has never been so important in the history of our reunited country to be defensive,” she emphasized in the subsequent debate.
“Action is needed, more than ever,” said Lambrecht. “We see the atrocities of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine every day and we still cannot say today how far Putin is pushing his superpower mania,” the minister explained. Other politicians also referred to the massive lack of equipment in the troops.
Defense Commissioner: “Allianz and national defense are now becoming concrete”
For the rapid modernization of the Bundeswehr with a special fund of 100 billion euros, the entire administrative procedure must be streamlined, according to the opinion of the military commissioner Eva Högl (SPD). “Priority should be above all the personal equipment. Helmets, protective vests, clothing, backpacks,” said Högl in the Bundestag. The 2.4 billion euros provided for this would have to reach the troops quickly and in full. “Even the 100 billion euros cannot be spent in the traditional procedures. Procurement law must be simplified. And we need less bureaucracy in the Bundeswehr.”
Their annual report was presented in March and lists problems in the armed forces. Högl describes shortcomings and material deficits in operations abroad as “alarming”. “The readiness for use of large equipment was sometimes just under 50 percent. Everyday items of equipment such as protective vests or winter jackets were sometimes only sent to the area of operation.” In basic operation – i.e. the service in Germany – it doesn’t look any different. The Bundeswehr is far removed from the “train as you fight” claim.
On Friday, Högl welcomed increased efforts to get the armed forces ready for action. “The horrific war in Ukraine changes everything. For the soldiers it means that things can get serious, that things have to happen quickly and that they always have to be ready for action,” she said. Alliance and national defense are now becoming concrete,” said Högl. It is becoming clear what Germany needs the Bundeswehr for. “Our soldiers defend peace, freedom, democracy and security.”
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Lambrecht promotes Bundeswehr special funds
“We need a fully equipped and operational Bundeswehr that protects us and our alliance partners,” Defense Minister Lambrecht said. It is therefore good and important that the report of the military commissioner Eva Högl (SPD) discloses the existing shortcomings. You have to “know where the problem is” in order to be able to take countermeasures. The minister admitted that there is a massive need for investment, from personal equipment to large equipment or infrastructure.
She again campaigned for support for the planned Bundeswehr special fund, because “after years of shortages, we urgently need this booster to quickly increase operational capability.” This applies to the agreed re-equipment of soldiers with personal protective equipment by 2025, for which 2.4 billion euros are planned, as well as to the purchase of armed drones, US F-35 fighter jets and the purchase of heavy transport helicopters.
The CDU politician Kerstin Vieregge said that in view of the new security situation, an operational and “cold startable” Bundeswehr not only needs more modern equipment. If more is now being asked of the soldiers, it is also essential to create better social conditions, for example for families. After previous mostly plannable foreign missions, there is now talk of short-term transfers of thousands of soldiers. Care offers are good, but not designed for such magnitudes. Vieregge emphasized that more funds are needed for the defense budget in the long term beyond the planned special fund of 100 billion euros.
The CDU politician Serap Güler also warned that, in addition to the planned special fund, Germany must permanently provide more than two percent of the gross domestic product in the budget for the Bundeswehr and to significantly increase the regular defense budget. “The money is urgently needed,” she emphasized.