German army chief: Bundeswehr won’t meet NATO obligations

In this file photo dated March 30, 2022, German soldiers stand in line during a visit of Governor Hendrick Wuest at the army base Field Marshal Rommel Barracks in Augustdorf, Germany. (PHOTO / AP)

BERLIN – The German Army (Bundeswehr) cannot meet its obligations to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and other alliances, Bundeswehr Chief Lieutenant General Alfons Mais said in a letter addressed to Chief of Defense Carsten Breuer and carried by the newspaper Bild on Tuesday.

The operational readiness of the division that the German federal government has undertaken to establish by 2025 can only be achieved "to a limited extent," Mais wrote. Even activating the country's entire military equipment inventory would not be sufficient to meet said obligations.

The operational readiness of the second division, which the Bundeswehr plans to make available to NATO by 2027, is also "unrealistic," Mais warned. The division would "not be sufficiently equipped with large-scale equipment in 2027."

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The operational readiness of the Bundeswehr is also at risk of declining further. Without countermeasures, Germany's army "will not be able to sustain high-intensity combat and will be able to fulfill its obligations towards NATO only to a limited extent," according to the letter.

In-mid March, the Armed Forces Commissioner of the Bundestag, Eva Hoegl, called for significantly more speed in investments when presenting her 2022 annual report.

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Although Chancellor Olaf Scholz approved a special defense fund worth 100 billion euros ($109 billion) in February 2022, modernizing the country's aging military would require as much as 300 billion euros, the report found.