The special fund for the Bundeswehr is not enough

The special fund for the Bundeswehr is not enough

Et is a gigantic sum that a rare coalition of the willing in the Bundestag has set in motion. Hundreds of billions of euros are to be spent in the coming years to armed forces into a force worthy of its name: capable of fighting, on which its allies can rely, and whose military might no opponent doubts.

The step is overdue. After all, the equipment gaps in the troops have been growing for decades. In the end, however, it first took the Russian invasion of Ukraine to persuade the traffic light coalition and the Union to make the effort that had now been decided. With the “special fund” worth a hundred billion euros, which is actually debt that the Germans will have to pay off from 2031, the Bundeswehr is to be upgraded in such a way that at least the major gaps in equipment are closed, and “quickly”, as the defense minister said Christina Lambrecht highlights.

The Federal Government has not presented an overall concept according to which criteria this should be done. But at least the shopping list can be read as a compilation of projects with which Germany wants to improve its contribution to the NATO planning goals that had already been decided and for which the money was lacking so far.

41 billion euros are earmarked for the often very expensive systems from the “Air Dimension”. This includes the American F-35 fighter jet. Germany urgently needs it to replace the museum-ready Tornado and to contribute to NATO’s nuclear deterrence. But there is also money for new Eurofighters for electronic warfare, for light and heavy transport helicopters – and last but not least for the armament of drones, about which the SPD in particular has repeatedly started new fundamental discussions for ten years – instead of finally using them to protect the get soldiers.

But has the list of projects to be financed in the special budget also been strategically thought through to the end in view of the Russian invasion of Ukraine? The alliance does not lack either combat aircraft or warships to stop a Russian attack on NATO’s eastern flank. The Americans can provide them quickly. But it takes time for a large number of American soldiers to be transported to Europe.

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