The Federal Ministry of Defense presented the 7th Report on Armament Affairs on 19 March 2018. With 34 so-called 25-million euro templates, and a total volume of around 14 billion euros in 2017, such large arms deals have passed Parliament as they have for decades. For the first time in 2017, it is clearly paying off that the agenda for armaments has not only led to a new quality of transparency, but also to sustainable changes in planning and armaments.
In particular, the renewed focus on national and alliance defense proves to be a significant challenge to the troops after the long period of saving and reducing. The fast response capability due to the mission does not allow larger equipment gaps of the associations and units. It is therefore all the more urgent to systematically fill the existing hollow structures again and to equip the Bundeswehr with constant investments in a task-oriented manner.
Bundeswehr is growing again
The fundamental changes in staff, materials and finances have already been initiated in the past legislative period. The Bundeswehr is growing again. The aim is to equip them in depth with modern material. But here, too, we need a long breath. On average, it takes several years until ordered new purchases are "on the barracks parade ground". A noticeable improvement can only be expected in the medium term.
The investment decisions made in 2017 include an increased number of modernized main battle tanks, the conversion of 33 TIGER support helicopters to the ASGARD configuration, and the procurement of additional K130 corvettes.
In the future, the framework conditions for the defense industry as a whole should be further improved and, above all, accelerated. Changes are planned, for example, in public procurement law and in the planning and financing security for armament investments over the years.
By the end of 2019 it will be necessary to examine how the procurement organization should be adapted in its organizational form at its various locations. It should be able to successfully counter the changed security situation with the resulting foreseeable higher investments.
With the use of the agenda, another new focus will be set. A systematic review of all relevant processes, contracts and processes in usage management should uncover and remedy weaknesses. The aim is to improve the supply of the necessary spare parts and thus increase the operational readiness step by step.
Another main topic of the coming years is and remains the consistent digitization of all areas of the Bundeswehr. With the founding of the department CITCyber- and information technology in the ministry, and the establishment of the military organization area CIRCyber- and Informationraum, the first steps have already been taken in previous years.
Since March 2015, the Federal Ministry of Defense reports twice a year - both in spring and autumn - on the progress made, as well as on the significant risks and problems of significant arms projects. The Armaments Report in spring summarizes the previous year.
Click here for the full report (176 PDF pages, in German) on the German MoD website.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Bundeswehr’s annual Armaments Report contains a detailed note on the status of each of its major equipment programs, including the major changes in timing and cost since the previous report.
It is too bad no English-language version is available.)