Realistically, an active force of 350,000 soldiers and around 1.2 million reservists would be needed for the defense of the Federal Republic, Sensburg explained. At the moment, however, Germany does not even have 200,000 soldiers and 30,000 reservists who practice regularly. "In my opinion, it will not work without conscription," concluded the president of the reservists' association. "That's why we need the reintroduction of conscription in Germany."
The new defense minister, Pistorius, has restarted the discussion about general compulsory military service. Conscription was suspended in 2011 under the then CSU Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, which in practice amounted to the abolition of military and civilian service. The Russian attack on Ukraine has repeatedly sparked debates about reintroduction.
The Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, Eberhard Zorn, rejects the reintroduction of conscription according to the old model, but is open to a new type of compulsory service. "Conscription, as we ended up with it, with six months' service for men only - that's antiquated," Zorn told the "Welt". "Even mass armed forces with conscription for a whole year, we can no longer manage that with our structure and our budget."
From a military point of view, however, one year's service for women and men is possible and sensible from Zorn's point of view. "So if it were politically decided - which I don't see at the moment - that there should be compulsory service again, then this should not only apply to the Bundeswehr, but to all social services in civil society," Zorn told the "Welt". "I could profitably integrate 10,000 young people into our system every year."
At the same time, Zorn criticized the currently heavily individualized voluntary military service in the Bundeswehr. Volunteer service, with commitment periods ranging from a few months to two years, is of limited benefit to the troops, he said.