Bundeswehr bets on 6-month selected conscription to reach 460 soldiers

Like all Western armies, the Bundeswehr, which brings together the three German armies, encounters significant difficulties in recruiting, and even simply maintaining its workforce of 181 active soldiers and 000 reservists.

How, in these conditions, can Berlin hope to achieve a format for its armies of 460 soldiers, including 000 active, in the years to come, to meet its commitments and operational obligations within the NATO?

The dynamic Minister of Defense, Boris Pistorius, presented his strategy to achieve this. This is based on a return to a six-month conscription, but in a chosen model, as it has been applied by the Scandinavian countries, successfully, for several years.

With a German Defense budget above 2% of GDP, the Bundeswehr could well, in the years to come, reach a size 45% larger than that of the French Armies, and thus take a largely dominant position to become the undeniable pivot of European defense.

The Bundeswehr faces its weaknesses and constraints by the war in Ukraine

The day after the start of the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Armies, General Alfons Mais, then Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, published a post on the social network LinkedIn, which had the effect of a bomb in Germany.

Luftwaffe eurofighter Typhoon
In 2019, only a handful of Eurofighters Typhoon of the Luftwaffe, was actually capable of combat, due to the administrative and legal burdens imposed on the armies, and a budget that was too small.

Without convolution, the German officer affirmed that the German Army was naked, and could only offer very limited options to the political power, in support of Ukraine, as it lacked resources.

If these declarations made a big noise across the Rhine, and were at the origin of the famous Zeitenwende of Olaf Scholz, beat on an envelope of 100 billion € to modernize the Bundeswehr, and on the increase of the latter's annual budget to 2% GDP, it in no way surprised attentive observers of the immense difficulties encountered by German operational staff in recent years.

Whether it is a deplorable availability of equipment, arms contracts postponed, cut or canceled, and the increasingly heavy constraints imposed by the executive and the legislature on the functioning of the Bundeswehr, The German Army had, in fact, no more operational capabilities, or almost no more, for several years.

In this chaos, if the Zeitenwende potentially provided the essential means to initiate the desired transformation, it was necessary to initiate a profound reorganization of the armies, and their personnel, to meet the challenge effectively.

This is the mission that Boris Pistorius has given himself since he was appointed Minister of Defense. After having taken over the application of the Zeitenwende, then having put the Franco-German FCAS and MGCS programs back on track, the minister, who has meanwhile become the most popular German political figure in the country, is now attacking the Schwerpunkt, the most difficult point: the return of conscription in a country strongly marked by 30 years of state antimilitarism.

A Bundeswehr of 460 men, including 000 active, to meet NATO requirements

The problem is, indeed, significant. Despite a particularly small size of just over 180 active military personnel today, and a reserve of 000 men and women, the Bundeswehr has not been able, for several years, to dynamically renew its workforce, and is today in deficit of several thousand active military personnel, in its theoretical format.

the Bundeswehr is unable to maintain its numbers, despite a format that is far too small to meet NATO's requirements.

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  1. I still remain extremely skeptical about the operational reserve….. thinking that it is equivalent to a trained legionnaire is at best an illusion and at worst an intellectual fraud.

    Fighting has become a professional affair and it's not 200k nice feet that will bring real added value.

    Maybe on the 3rd rank and again……it’s fighters that we need (two divisions isn’t crazy anyway)


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