Report of the military commissioner Eva Högl: Bundeswehr condition remains desolate
Has the special fund improved the situation of the Bundeswehr? The judgment of the military commissioner Eva Högl is harsh.
BERLIN taz | Too sluggish, a miserable condition, too little of everything: It is a devastating testimony that the military commissioner of the German Bundestag, Eva Högl, issues to the Bundeswehr.
The Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, which has been going on for more than a year, has changed everything. “The defense of the country and the alliance is once again the core task of the Bundeswehr,” said Högl at the presentation of its annual report. There shouldn’t really be a lack of money, after all, the Bundestag had decided on a special fund of 100 billion euros. But, the SPD politician complains: “Unfortunately, I have to say that in 2022 from this special fund not a single euro or cent has yet been spent.”
The military commissioner is considered the “lawyer” of the soldiers. In accordance with Article 45b, it supports the Bundestag in parliamentary control of the armed forces. Högl sharply criticizes the procurement system, which she says is simply “too sluggish”. Material, the soldiers’ personal equipment, various equipment: “It all takes far too long.”
With the support of the Ukraine, the problem would have been exacerbated because the material that had been handed over had to be replaced quickly. Your examples sound absurd. Equipment for a biology laboratory for the NBC defense school in Sonthofen has apparently been missing for around six years, and a special pilot’s helmet has been on the procurement list since 2013. According to Högl, these are products that are definitely available on the market.
Högl also does not resist a small dig at Chancellor Scholz. The Germany speed he proclaimed for infrastructure projects such as LNG terminals must also apply to the Bundeswehr: “Too many barracks in Germany are in a wretched condition.” And: Without speed “it would take about half a century” for the infrastructure of the Bundeswehr would be modernized.
New tasks, more stress for the staff. And its number of 183,051 soldiers is currently declining. According to the report, there were still 183,695 soldiers in 2021. By 2031 it should be 203,000. Högl’s prognosis is also bleak on the subject. Long deployment periods, overwork, unattractive jobs for women – all this makes it difficult to reach the mark. The gaps are known and apparently cannot be closed with the promised special fund. Högl renewed her demand for the amount to be tripled and supports the demand Defense Minister Boris Pistoriusto increase the regular budget by 10 billion euros.