Chief of defence Carsten Breuer (GI) calls for more strategic composure: “Not everything that is currently under discussion can be answered directly or implemented in planning. As soon as the intention to station a brigade in Lithuania been announced there was a public debate about who would be on site, when and how. The same happened with the announcement of the rescue of German citizens from Sudan. Answers were immediately demanded as to when and how.
However, it took difficult negotiations with the help of American contacts to prepare and carry out the rescue. The GI is therefore calling for more strategic serenity. This also applies to the implementation of the Zeitenwende. General Breuer sees the war in Ukraine as a conflict of yesterday with the weapons of the day before yesterday. Nevertheless, there are some critical issues that are worthy of attention for the Bundeswehr. The Ukrainian army can change command posts in 30 minutes, while the Bundeswehr plans between three hours and up to three days for this. Speed is today’s premise. In addition, two factors are seen in Ukraine that pose challenges for a traditionally organized army: Low budget – commonly available commodities such as drones find successful military use. Low key – technology is used that is intuitive to operate without requiring long training and familiarization phases.The Military Leadership Council (MFC) has therefore discussed how posts in the Bundeswehr can be better separated between administration and soldiering in order to free up more manpower for deployment. This is necessary as more money will not lead to more personnel in the medium term in view of demographic change and the labor market situation. Automation, autonomous systems and the use of AI are unavoidable in order to counteract the staff shortage. Nevertheless, the mobilization of reservists will be of great importance in the future. However, strategic composure is also required here, as this will take time. A look at Israel shows how effective mobilization can be. Within a few days, 380,000 reservists were at least ready for deployment. Norway is another example. The country has only 5.5 million inhabitants, but after a short alert period has a reservoir of reservists that exceeds the number of the current Bundeswehr strength. In addition, a temporary Tactical Task Force on drones was set up under the leadership of Brigadier General Wolfgang Jordan. It deals with the possible military uses of small and micro drones. The Bundeswehr’s capability profile has changed and everyone is now talking about national and alliance defense. However, according to Breuer, the troops must continue to be able to provide international crisis management missions (ICM).The Bundeswehr must be able to operate on three levels with multiple capabilities. Breuer, who was responsible for territorial defense and thus for civil-military cooperation (ZMZ) before his assignment as GI and coordinator of corona logistics in the Chancellery, also has a message for the civilian side: “Until now, ZMZ has focused on asking what the Bundeswehr can do in disaster control. Now, however, it is important to ask the civilian side what it can actively contribute to national defense.
During the Berlin Security Congress, Inspector General Carsten Breuer will give a keynote speech and a panel discussion on the challenges facing the Bundeswehr and European defense.