Germany’s conscription plans revealed

The Defense Minister is expected to present formal reforms to the draft system in early June

The German Defense Ministry has prepared several proposals to reform conscription to address chronic personnel shortages in the armed forces, Die Welt reported this week. Minister Boris Pistorius is expected to choose one of them and formally present it in early June, the newspaper said.

Pistorius first raised the issue of reintroducing compulsory military service last month, when he unveiled an ambitious military reform plan aimed at making Germany more prepared to face a possible armed conflict.

“We considered reinstating compulsory military service.” The minister said at the time, while sharing few details about the plans. Germany abolished compulsory military service in 2011.

Last week, the Defense Ministry presented three options to Pistorius to consider, the weekly edition of Die Welt newspaper said, citing internal ministry documents. The first and “Most careful” One, according to the newspaper, aims to “Exploiting all possibilities for voluntary military service.”

Under the first plan, all young people who turn 18 must register for the army and receive promotional and information materials about serving in the German armed forces, the Bundeswehr. They can then fill out a voluntary questionnaire about their psychological and physical condition and their motivation for military service. Those wishing to join the army must then undergo consultation and evaluation procedures.

This option is described as requiring only minor legal changes; “Important in terms of time, staff and finances” But it is likely insufficient to meet the Army’s recruiting needs, which range between the two “30,000 and 40,000” employees annually, according to Die Welt.

The second option makes registration and form filling mandatory for all German males aged 18 or over. Women will also be contacted by the military but on a voluntary basis. The German Army then selects the required number of recruits according to their needs and the physical fitness requirements of the recruits.

The model is “It has been assessed by the Ministry as appropriate from a staff planning perspective in order to meet the current shortfall in meeting needs.” Die Welt newspaper said, citing ministry papers.

He added: “The reinstatement of compulsory military service is a strong political signal to our partners in Europe, systemic competitors and in the alliance.” The document also reportedly says. The media added that such changes could be introduced through a simple change in the law, without the need to change the constitution.

The third option would provide a “Gender discrimination” Model conscription and make army registration and potential conscription mandatory for both men and women. Later, “The introduction of compulsory public service can be discussed.” On the basis of this model, military documents indicate. In addition, alternative service will be offered with medical services or fire departments. Ministry officials described this model as: “The most promising option in terms of meeting needs” From the army.

It will still require a “A comprehensive change in the legal basis for establishing compulsory military service and conscription” According to the documents. The reformers are said to acknowledge that introducing such changes would be so “not easy” because of ‘Clear doubts’ Among the younger generation in particular.

Only one party – the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) – currently supports the reform plans, according to Die Welt. The newspaper added that the ruling coalition consisting of three parties and Chancellor Olaf Scholz are not enthusiastic about this idea. Scholz himself said in November 2023 that it was “Not a good idea to reverse all this.”

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