The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces, Eva Högl (SPD), called for a significantly faster investment when presenting her 2022 annual report. "The Bundeswehr has too little of everything," said Högl on Tuesday in Berlin. Of the 100 billion euros in special funds, "unfortunately not a cent" reached the soldiers last year. Great efforts are also required for the desired increase in the number of soldiers.
Last year, the Bundeswehr was "challenged like never before," emphasized Högl. The Russian war of aggression in Ukraine changed everything. "The troops had to switch from peace mode to standby mode from one day to the next." The soldiers are "aware that things can get serious, that things have to happen quickly and that they always have to be ready for action".
Högl demanded that the material handed over to the Ukraine must be replaced quickly. "It's all taking far too long." It's not just about the money. After the special fund was set up, the first projects were on the way, but "concrete decisions and implementation were still pending at the end of the year," said the military commissioner. The procurement system is too sluggish, writes the SPD politician in her annual report presented in Berlin on Tuesday, and states: "The troops' ledgers have become fuller, but the clothing stores, ammunition depots and spare parts depots have not."
The German pace proclaimed by Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) for infrastructure projects such as LNG terminals must also apply to the Bundeswehr, "there is an immense backlog in terms of infrastructure". Högl criticized: "The barracks are in a pitiful state all over the country." If the pace of renovation were to remain the same, "it would take about half a century for the Bundeswehr's infrastructure to be completely modernized."
With a view to the additional ten billion euros for the Bundeswehr demanded by Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) in the current budget debate, Högl said that the defense budget should be "sufficiently equipped in the long term". Not everything can be financed with the special fund intended for material, stressed the military commissioner and mentioned, for example, the increase in running costs for energy. "The 100 billion euros alone will not be enough to compensate for all the shortfalls. According to estimates by military experts, a total of 300 billion euros would be needed for this," says Eva Högl.
The new tasks for the Bundeswehr required greater efforts than ever before when recruiting personnel. "There is still a long way to go before the goal of increasing the number of soldiers to 203,000 in 2031." The Commissioner for the Armed Forces pointed out that the number of applicants in 2022 had fallen significantly by eleven percent.