2022 was a historic year: on February 27, Federal Chancellor Scholz announced a “turning point” in German security and defense policy. This was three days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. On June 3, German Bundestag approved a €100 billion special fund for the Bundeswehr. On June 29, NATO adopted its new strategic concept in response to Russian aggression. About 20 days later, the Bundeswehr Procurement Acceleration Act (BwBBG) came into effect.
Thirty years of “peace dividend” have left the German armed forces, in the words of Army Inspector General Lieutenant General Alfons Mais, “exposed.” Conscription is suspended. At the same time, NATO members have agreed to significantly strengthen their deterrence and defense capabilities (deterrence and defense). Germany has pledged to make a significant contribution. Time is pressing. To create the material prerequisites for a modern Bundeswehr, the procurement system of the Bundeswehr must become faster, more efficient, and more effective.
Equipping the military and administration in full is also an intellectual challenge. The Bundeswehr will only be able to meet this task if theory and practice, all relevant disciplines, and “players” network and unite. Only in this way can the complexity of targets and constraints, actors and interests, inertia and forces of change be made manageable and resolved in a promising manner. With the “Defence Procurement Day” (DPD), the organizers aim to contribute to this. The DPD focuses on internationality, interdisciplinarity, and innovation. We believe that these three “I” will be essential for a successful “turning point”:
Internationality: National solo efforts belong to the past. Defense can no longer be thought of without NATO, EU, and other allied states. At the same time, Germany can learn from many others in the areas of defense, security, and armaments, and they can also learn from Germany. The DPD takes this knowledge and understanding into account.
Interdisciplinarity: Without networking, there can be no more progress. This also applies to the disciplines involved in public procurement. Those who want to optimize procurement must bring together not least business economists and lawyers, economists, and engineers. The DPD also aims to provide a platform for interdisciplinary exchange.
Innovation: The military has been one of the most important drivers of innovation not only in the US but also in other countries. Innovations are the key to solving problems for which there is no solution yet. Innovations make input factors more productive and thus help to get more out of scarce resources. Finally, only procurement that is open to innovation can provide the armed forces with the equipment that a dynamic security environment requires.
The main objective of the DPD is to accompany and promote the “turning point” in the procurement of the Bundeswehr as a cross-disciplinary, cross-border, and theory-practice forum. Beyond lectures, panels, and discussions, the focus is on the exchange of experiences between the Bundeswehr, politics, the security and defense industry, consulting, and academia from Germany, international organizations such as NATO and the EU, and allied countries.
This event will take place in Bonn, Germany on May 25, 2023. More information on the Defence Procurement Day might be found here: https://www.defence-procurement.de/