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Bundeswehr Restructuring

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  • Perhaps interesting from a historical perspective for similar problems in the USA, for the current treatment of problematic historical names of army bases in Germany:

    The German Navy is renaming bases that had been named for Grand Admiral Tirpitz and Admiral Scheer. As state secretary of naval matters from 1897 to 1916 and commander of the High Seas Fleet 1916-1918 respectively the two are not considered to be in line with current tradition decrees in the Bundeswehr, representing a feudalist regime.

    Affected sites are "Tirpitz Harbour" in Kiel and within it "Tirpitz Quay" and "Scheer Quay".

    In the renaming process the Inspector General of the Navy explicitly picked names that keep a historic context from proposals from sailors stationed in Kiel.

    Tirpitz Harbour will be simply named "Naval Base Kiel-Wik" - for the city district in which it is located. While the Navy highlights that that simple renaming emphasizes its 150 year history in the city, local politicians have pointed out that it also serves to emphasize Kiel - and "the Wik" - in its role in the 1918 democratic revolution which had been initiated by sailors of the High Sea Fleet in the city.

    Tirpitz Quay had several proposals, one of which was naming it for the first submarine constructed in Kiel ("Brandtaucher"), built in 1850 during the war against Denmark. Might have been a bit of a controlversial name too. The chosen new name is "Gorch Fock Quay" - for the sail training ship of the Navy, which has used that quay for 60 years. The name also alludes to the author "Gorch Fock" who the ship is named for - he died in the Skagerrak battle in 1916 "as a simple sailor" (Navy advertising) after having served in the infantry on both East and West Front in 1915. "Gorch Fock" from analysis of his works was explicitly nationalist, but - unlike other nationalist authors of his time - neither racist nor antisemitic.

    Scheer Quay will be renamed "Oskar Kusch Quay". Kusch was a Navy officer from 1937 onwards, served in WW2 as commander of several submarines and was executed in 1944 for insulting Adolf Hitler. He was rehabilitated posthumously in 1996. The street to the former Navy shooting range in Kiel - where he, and over the course of the war several hundred others, was executed - was named for him in 1998.

    The Air Force is also renaming the "Marseille Barracks", home of the Air Force NCO School. This was not named for the French city, but for Hans-Joachim Marseille, the WW2 fighter pilot with the most kills over North Africa, back then also propagandized as the "Star of Africa". The base is being renamed "Jürgen Schumann Barracks". Schumann was a retired Air Force pilot who on his civilian pilot job had his passenger aircraft abducted by a Palestinian group supporting German terrorists to Somalia in 1977 where he was shot by them. Schumann was posthumously awarded the Federal Merit Cross and is honoured as one of four "paragon" pilots in the history of the Bundeswehr.

    The Army is renaming "Rettberg Barracks" to "Oberst Hermann Barracks". Rettberg was a WW1 infantry officer who ordered the destruction of the Belgian town of Löwen in 1914, killing 248 civilians in the process. It should be noted that it took a century for the German side to acknowledge this in the first place. Hermann - the one they refer to, there were dozens of colonels with his last name in his time - was a WW2 cavalry officer who after joining the Bundeswehr became the first commander of the 6th Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion in 1956 which is still stationed at the base.


    • I wonder if there will be any cries of "cancellation!" "erasing our history!" here...:)
      There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov


      • Originally posted by astralis View Post
        I wonder if there will be any cries of "cancellation!" "erasing our history!" here...:)
        Oh, there are of course.

        On the main German defense blog of Thomas Wiegold the comment section for the article was just closed by him after one day with a "since apparently some people feel called upon to form a Friends of War Criminals circle or dunk similar brown morass upon us...".

        And those previous comments literally included stuff like "that's the easy thing about the military - you can just order inconvenient history cancelled".

        However, the Bundeswehr only rarely renames barracks for "lack of values" as stated reason - 14 times since reunification in 1990. Part of the reason for that is that conservative politicians usually resist these with heavy lobbying. The first of those renamings back in the early 90s was about four-star general Eduard Dietl, variably called the "Hero of Narvik" or the "Butcher of Murmansk". That one brought up murder threats against people calling for the renaming. Against their families too. And physical attacks on journalists reporting on it. In comparison to that it's pretty relaxed nowadays.


        • Originally posted by kato View Post
          Wildflecken will become the new central training area for German "Home Defense Regiments". Three other training areas, yet to be decided, will provide regional training.

          Under that moniker the Bundeswehr is currently planning to build up reserve territorial infantry forces again.
          Deutsche Welle spins that into the government-approved version:

          Germany launches new voluntary military service program

          The German military has started a voluntary year-out program for young people. The volunteers will be trained to provide support during the next natural disaster or health crisis.


          • There are currently plans underway in the Bundeswehr to:
            • dissolve the Central Medical Service
            • dissolve the Joint Support Force
            and reassign their units to the other Forces, mostly to the Army. Some other stuff would also get reassigned

            Of course so far that's mostly something instigated by the inspector general of the army and his counterpart in the navy (mostly the army though) that has found some attraction with the minister of defence. There will be an internal presentation this week and a public presentation of such plans on the 19th (i.e. in a week from today). The restructuring would affect 50,000 soldiers and 20,000 civilian employees, i.e. about 30% of the Bundeswehr.
            • The idea in the army seems to be to get the medical and logistics battalions under their direct control - the two services basically field one of each for each army combat brigade. The army also wants military police and NBC Defense back under their control.
            • The navy seems to be trying to get parts of the BAAInBw - the Bundeswehr procurement agency - reassigned, mostly those parts that manage their end-user procurement.
            • Elements that the army doesn't want would get relegated to smaller individual commands under direct command of the inspector general of the Bundeswehr (i.e. our counterpart to the Joint Chief of Staff) with three-star generals placed under him. This would be mostly Territorial Defense and the Medical Service's fixed-site hospitals as big-ticket items.
            • There was apparently a counter-proposal from the inspector general of the joint support force - keep his service and integrate the centeral medical service and the cyber and information space force into it. This seems to have been rejected on the basis that the resulting force would be as big as the army.
            Overall, the plans are met with heavy criticism so far - both from the affected forces, but also from other parts of the Bundeswehr. In particular soldiers at the MoD itself seem to be miffed to hear about this from the press first. The general inspector of the Central Medical Service has lodged a formal complaint letter with the minister and also leaked that to the press now.

            It is considered extremely doubtful that these plans will come to pass - in particular since there's a federal election in September and we'll definitely have a different government with other priorities. The minister has been questioned about it in the Defense Committee of the Parliament, and tried to weasel out with the fact that she doesn't have any finished plans to present yet. The government coalition minority partner has also already threatened the minister of defense that this kind of reform would have to pass parliament (and is not solely under her purview) and definitely won't go up there before the election.


            • I'll just leave this here, speaks volumes by itself...

              Click image for larger version  Name:	image_9497.png Views:	3 Size:	170.4 KB ID:	1573570

              And now to read the actual 27-page draft paper that right after the above exchange someone very, very quickly uploaded to the official Bundeswehr website...
              Last edited by kato; 18 May 21,, 14:50.


              • So,after diving through 27 pages of the usual buzzword bullshit bingo twice...

                Major points:
                • Rename the four remaining forces into four "dimensions" - land, air/space, maritime, cyber
                • Attach a "systems house" (*) to each dimension. This command would have "responsibility and competence" for "conception, development and readiness of weapon systems" of their dimension.
                • Dissolve Joint Support Service (with distribution of its units) and Central Medical Service (pro forma).
                • Establish a Territorial Command on equivalent level to the Deployed Forces Command, i.e. a three-star position.

                The details is where it gets a bit complicated.
                • Command Structure:
                  • All forces outside the traditional three forces (army, air force, navy) are "flattened" where possible. This means they are shoved into a single "decision layer" and a single "execution layer". Ostensibly this is intended to reduce "unnecessary" staff personnel.
                  • The former "Cyber and Information Space" force - now "Dimension Cyber" - is flattened in the same way, apparently dissolving its current two component commands (Strategic Recon and IT). This would mean that as their "execution layer" there would be about 14 battalions directly under a two-star general.
                • Former Joint Support Service
                  • The Army grabs NBC Defense, Military Police and the Multinational CIMIC command.
                  • Territorial Defense (the new light infantry "Homeland Protection Regiments") will be under the new territorial command. Currently this whole thing is a Joint Support Service task.
                  • Where the Logistics Command will be hooked up - army wants them - or whether they will be "integrated into the dimensions" will be "subject to a ministerial survey".
                • Former Central Medical Service
                  • The formal, sharp, published complaint of the inspector general of the central medical service is showing quite some effect there.
                  • The inspector general gets a post as basically "Surgeon General of the Bundeswehr" directly in the Ministry. A new "Health Service of the Bundeswehr" command under his purview will pretty much take over the former central medical service and its duties. There's a full-page description in the paper detailing what fields of responsibility that entails.
                  • The above for the logistics command of the Joint Support Service is fully equally valid for the medical regiments of the central medical service.
                • System houses
                  • The four forces/dimensions will field "warfare centres" for their domain responsible for concepts and development. And yes, the term "warfare centre" is stated in English.
                  • These warfare centres would be combined with other "assets for weapon system readiness" into the System Houses for each domain.
                  • The Navy in the process is trying to grab the Navy Arsenal (currently under Procurement Agency Command), the Air Force tries to grab the Air Traffic Control Agency and the Army is trying to grab HIL - the "privatized" state-owned commercial army maintenance contractor. In each case this is stated as "to be evaluated" only.
                  • The "Health Service of the Bundeswehr" will equally form a similar system house despite no longer being a force.
                • Dimension Air/Space
                  • You may note the name - the Air Force will get a Space Command later this year. Will be co-stationed with the "Air Operations Center" in Kalkar.
                  • Since the satellites are all within CIR (and will remain there), this Space Command will be "in the responsibility of the Air Force" but use CIR assets.
                  • Buzzwords standing out here are "cross-dimension" and "intended multinationalisation".

                (*) Don't know if the term comes across in English. In German a "Systemhaus" is specifically an IT company offering full solution packages.


                • The document also defines a level of ambition.

                  This LoA is to field for use by NATO or EU (considered fully equivalent btw):
                  • Dimension Land : One Division, no details
                  • Dimension Air : Command and Core of a Multinational Air Group, no details
                  • Dimension Sea : Sustained Command or Contribution to up to four naval deployments plus Baltic Maritime Coordination Function
                  • Dimension Cyber : Cyber and Information Domain Task Force plus (for corps level) Combined Joint Operational Communication Task Force

                  Under "Priorities" it also lists
                  • structuring Dimension Land with a "continuum of light/airmobile, medium/wheeled and heavy/mechanized forces" - which is ambiguous enough to possibly not mean a possible transition to shift infantry battalions on Boxer out of mechanized brigades
                  • a "cross-dimensional" capability to overcome an enemy employing A2/AD to deny own forces access to a battlefield, to include both defensive (GBAD) and offensive ("stand-off effectors and unmanned systems"). That last part is worded ambiguous enough to possibly not mean UCAVs.
                  • "Turntable Germany" - enabling what NATO likes to call "Military Schengen" with logistics capacity.
                  Last edited by kato; 20 May 21,, 21:54.


                  • The MoD has proposed a list of projects for which she still wants parliamentary okay before end of June. This list of projects contains 15 items which she has marked as "Federal Budget" - i.e. she wants parliament to sign off on projects for which she supposedly doesn't have money in her budget but wants money from the general federal budget. Some of these are relatively big-ticket stuff, altogether we're probably talking somewhere around 5-10 billion Euro. It includes among lots of other stuff also funding for the next development phases for FCAS and MGCS.

                    Now the defense and finance spokesmen of the two government parties in parliament have given her an answer to that. That answer is pretty simple: "we've looked at your list and found that we already gave you money for many of those projects. What did you do with that?" Followed by:"If you want parliament to go over that stuff we would request that you present us with full disclosure on the detailed financing situation of each and every item for procurement and R&D in your budget for this year and next year - based on the classified version, not the public one. Before this friday."


                    • The Federal Parliament exactly one year ago unanimously (!) gave its okay to reintroducing the office of a military rabbi in the Bundeswehr. It's planned that the first rabbi (who has been selected by now) will be formally installed on June 21st this year.

                      The office is generally considered more symbolic and was heavily lobbied for by the head of one of the two rabbi colleges in Germany, himself a Colonel in the Reserve. The number of Jewish soldiers serving is officially estimated at 300 by the Bundeswehr, but is generally considered to be much lower - including by the Federation of Jewish Soldiers.

                      Historically the German Military only had rabbis during WW1, when numbers of German Jewish soldiers were much higher at around 100,000 total.


                      • Originally posted by kato View Post
                        MBDA is positioning itself for this with JFS-M as a possible product ("Joint Fire Support - Missile").

                        It's not quite an ATACMS counterpart, more an Iskander-M counterpar. Range envelope below marked green by MBDA - that 500 km mark is noted as "a political hurdle, not a technological one" for the project:

                        Basically what they propose is a Taurus KEPD350 cruise missile as in service with the German Air Force, with a booster for surface launch. Possible integration into MARS 2 GMLRS launchers being investigated, launch from sea platforms theoretically possible. Warhead adaptable to customer, although TDW is pushing for a multi-effect warhead (read: same as Taurus). Main difference to Taurus would be in navigation software, mostly for loitering and swarm attack modes.
                        MBDA presentation of JFS-M on MARS II (MLRS) launch vehicle on occasion of MBDA signing a Memorandum of Understanding with KMW to develop the combination.
                        They're explicitly proposing using standard MARS II vehicles with the option of mixed loading of pods (e.g. 3 JFS-M + 6 GMLRS ready-to-fire).

                        Click image for larger version  Name:	MBDA-praesentiert-neue-Details-zum-Enforcer-und-der-Joint-Fire-Support-Missile.jpg Views:	0 Size:	139.0 KB ID:	1573930

                        A bit oddly the concept video released yesterday as well shows JFS-M more in its multipurpose tactical application - as a loitering target acquisition system used to support long-range (semi-indirect) fire from a Leopard 2A7, followed by a relatively close-range attack by the other two JFS-M from the same pod using their AI-based target recognition systems to take out specific targets within a group, UCAV-style.

                        Last edited by kato; 09 Jun 21,, 15:59.


                        • Originally posted by kato View Post
                          • You may note the name - the Air Force will get a Space Command later this year. Will be co-stationed with the "Air Operations Center" in Kalkar.
                          Space Command is operational now, established on July 13th, even if it was initially apparently housed in containers at Kalkar while the building for them finished construction. USSpaceCom congratulated them via Facebook (...).

                          They've been going shopping for some ideas to spend money on in their new field. Couple projects that fall under their purview:

                          a) New Cooperation with DLR
                          • The University of the Bundeswehr at Munich and the civilian German Aerospace Agency DLR signed a cooperation treaty on July 21st.
                            • Focus of the cooperation is mostly:
                              • platform standardization.
                              • space-based services.
                              • ground segments
                            • However DLR is also explicitly bringing its new "Responsive Space" research center into the cooperation, which is basically about establishing a rapid-response launch capability to replace or suplant German satellites.
                            • The Bundeswehr university will also establish a new general Space-focused research center.
                            • It is planned that as part of the cooperation several small satellite projects will be initiated, some of them "soon".
                          b) Established Cooperation with DLR
                          • The Air Force operates two joint application projects with civilian research institutes which will fall under the new Space Command. Both projects are about Space Situational Awareness.
                            • GESTRA (German Experimental Space Surveillance and Tracking Radar), a containerized mobile radar solution for surveillance of LEO between 300 and 3000 km altitde. Partner is DLR. It is planned to establish a national orbit data catalogue for this altitude section altitude. It began operations in January this year. Currently the system is installed at the Schmidtenhöhe base training area on a hill above Koblenz, Germany's largest military base. GESTRA though is also capable of active tracking. It is operated by the Space Situation Center, a joint organization of the Bundeswehr (assigned to the Space Command and renamed Space Operations Center by them) and the Federal Ministy of the Interior, with the Bundeswehr financing it.
                            • TIRA (Tracking and Imaging Radar) is the largest radome worldwide containing a 34m-diameter 240-ton radar antenna, also being the only space radar of its kind in Europe. It is used to analyze in particular small trash pieces in orbit, both regarding exact details and exact path. It is also used with the same capabilities for tracking and analyzing failed satellites reentering the atmosphere, and was used e.g. during the reentry of German satellite ROSAT and Russian Mars probe Phobos-Grunt. Partner for TIRA is the Fraunhofer Institute for Radar Technology, which also operates it.
                          • Both projects are by statement of the Space Command explicitly intended to reduce dependence on US space situational awareness assets.
                          c) International Cooperation
                          • German MoD Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and her Luxembourgian counterpart Francois Bausch signed a declaration of intent for bilateral cooperation in space and cyber domains.
                          • Germany seems to primarily be looking at LUXEOSys NAOS in that regard, a luxembourgian optical reconnaissance satellite being built by an Italian subsidiary of German satellite producer OHB that is planned to be launched around 2023.
                          • There are also plans for a PESCO (EU-level multinational) R&D project called "Common Hub for Governmental Imagery" for which Germany has ensured Luxembourgian cooperation.

                          d) Military derivatives of space technology
                          • So far only one such project has been announced, and it's a rather small research grant.
                          • Company Polaris Raumflugzeuge in Bremen, a commercial spinoff of DLR, has a project for a SSTO spaceplane called Aurora. It's a pretty long-term project with low TRL, they're mostly waiting on engine technology to be developed; however it is sufficiently advanced for DLR to actually transfer it into commercial exploitation.
                            • There is a concept for a technology-proof version of Aurora that would essentially be a hypersonic unmanned aircraft, using Eurofighter EJ-200 engines for takeoff and landing and propelling itself to Mach 8-10 using a rocket engine in the air.
                            • The research grant is basically for taking that technology-proof design and evaluating whether it would be usable for military application in theory. The contract is for an evaluation whether this version of Aurora would be able to operationally carry and use a 1-ton sensor payload as a hypersonic reconnaissance drone.
                            • No prototyping is planned as part of the research grant, it is supposed to be a paper study. At Polaris they seem to be hoping to possibly realize a prototype in the medium term (follow-on grants) through military financing.


                          • GESTRA advertising video from DLR (in English):


                            • Originally posted by kato View Post
                              There are currently plans underway in the Bundeswehr to:
                              • dissolve the Central Medical Service
                              • dissolve the Joint Support Force
                              and reassign their units to the other Forces, mostly to the Army. Some other stuff would also get reassigned
                              It is considered extremely doubtful that these plans will come to pass - in particular since there's a federal election in September and we'll definitely have a different government with other priorities.
                              As expected the new Minister of Defense summarily cancelled those plans stemming from her predecessor - along with all other structural reform plans for the Bundeswehr from last year.

                              There will be a new audit of Bundeswehr structures for the purpose of restructuring during which all changes to structure will be frozen. Inspector General Zorn, the supreme commander who designed the above structural chances with the last MoD, is not involved in this new audit.


                              • Originally posted by kato View Post
                                As expected the new Minister of Defense summarily cancelled those plans stemming from her predecessor - along with all other structural reform plans for the Bundeswehr from last year.

                                There will be a new audit of Bundeswehr structures for the purpose of restructuring during which all changes to structure will be frozen. Inspector General Zorn, the supreme commander who designed the above structural chances with the last MoD, is not involved in this new audit.

                                Do expect net growth, net loss or net zero from this new revue?

                                I know I am asking you to read some tea leaves but...
                                “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                                Mark Twain