The basis of the armed forces of the Bundeswehr

Creative - effective - progressive

Successful in action

Wolfram Kühn


In the figurative sense the armed forces of NATO and the Warsaw Treaty were opponents and faced each other physically at the German interior border within weapons’ range for 45 years during the Cold War. Cold War meant the linear confrontation of armoured troops in a geographically definitely identifiable area. The end of the Cold War in 1990, the re-unification and the sovereignty of Germany as well as the first missions abroad of the Bundeswehr intruded into this well-ordered world. The slogan of that time was „peace dividend“. On top of the political agenda of the Bundeswehr of re-united Germany- the „Army of Unity“ - was personnel and material disarmament and reduction of defence expenditures. The motto of the Cold War until 1990 had been „be able to fight in order not to have to fight“. More than 11 years later the attack on the World Trade Centre of 11th September 2001 caused the final change in the security-political environment. Today real missions and real fighting determine everyday life of the Bundeswehr. The guidelines of today and of the near future are „think in missions“ and „what does not serve the mission is secondary“. For the „Army in Action“ combined action within the entire range of capabilities - including the fight against international terrorism - is in the focus of attention. The transformation of the Bundeswehr puts this focus into action resolutely, thus making a permanent, rapid and floating adaptation to mission facts possible, and preventing the Bundeswehr - like a dinosaur, as it were - from preparing for wars and missions of the past. Here creativity and power of innovation is required, as well as the renunciation of structural features which had been self-evident, such as the extensive independence of army, navy and air force. Apart from the purely economic pressure which does not allow any expensive redundancies any longer, it is the mission reality of the Bundeswehr which at all levels determines the understanding that only combined missions can take place. The question which force places a capability for a mission at disposal is irrelevant. The only relevant matter is whether it is available professionally and sustainably. The basis of the armed forces is both product and engine of the transformation of the Bundeswehr, enabling army, navy and air force to apply their capabilities in a selective and flexible way in modern, complex and hardly foreseeable missions. Thus, the basis of the armed forces is quasi a joint venture of army, navy and air force. The forces have outsourced tasks to the basis of the armed forces, which are performed by the basis of the armed forces for all forces in the same way. Thus we have chosen an approach which has been chosen by many other civilian big enterprises, and which will be chosen by other nations as well. For the time being, however, the basis of the armed forces represents a unique model worldwide, without any predecessors or competitors. Since its establishment in 2000 the basis of the armed forces has been able to complete its missions and tasks without frictions and with high quality, and its potential has not been exhausted so far. By choosing the approach „The best from two worlds“, combining the military and the economic world, a new quality of military capabilities can be achieved, which will render the contributions to the missions more effective, efficient and professional. Thus, with a higher degree of professionalism we can achieve a more economic employment of all available resources.

Translated by COL Mag. G. Gnaser (KdoFüU/IMG)