New Germany defence minister Boris Pistorius, his soldiers and the press.
The upgrade of Germany’s armed forces is proceeding at such a sluggish pace it will take 50 years to complete if it continues at its current speed, according to an annual report on the state of the Bundeswehr.
Eva Högl, the parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces, singled out the country’s slow defence procurement hampering the Bundeswehr’s much-needed upgrade. In her 170-page report submitted to parliament on Tuesday, she welcomed the announcement last year by Chancellor Olaf Scholz that included a special €100bn fund for military refurbishments and praised decisions to buy F-35 fighter jets, transport helicopters and armed drones.
But Högl said that even if some new equipment was on its way, in 2022 “not a cent had arrived from the special fund”.
She added: “If we stayed at the current pace and the existing framework conditions, it would take about half a century before just the current infrastructure of the Bundeswehr was completely renovated.”
Högl also cast doubt over whether a goal of recruiting 203,000 soldiers by 2031 would be achieved.
Högl said that the war in Ukraine had exacerbated the already deep problems with equipment for the armed forces because “the sensible and correct” decision by Berlin to send an array of weapons to Kyiv had created gaps that had proved difficult to fill.
Billions more, she added, would be required to replenish depleted stocks of ammunition, which are not covered by the €100bn fund, at a time when Europe is trying to keep pace with Ukraine’s ferocious consumption of artillery shells.
Högl’s report underlined the challenges faced by Germany’s new defence minister, Boris Pistorius, who was appointed in January after the resignation of his gaffe-prone predecessor Christine Lambrecht.
Last year, Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz received a standing ovation in parliament when he announced the end of Germany's pacifist tradition. The new policy included a commitment to NATO's spending target of 2% of GDP for defence, as well as the new special military fund.
…If Germany will stop funding war in Ukraine there will be no need to worry about the combat effectiveness of the army.
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