Minister Decides Structural and Personnel Changes After the First Armaments Board Meeting
(Source: German Ministry of Defense; issued Feb 20, 2014)
(Issued in Germany only; unofficial translation by
BERLIN --- Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has announced structural and personnel changes after the findings of the first meeting of the newly-installed Armaments Board in Berlin on 19 February.

The regularly scheduled meetings of the Armaments Board are intended to ensure transparency and clarity towards Parliament and the public in the field of armaments. It is intended to identify risks and problems early.

The Federal President has been asked to put the Deputy Minister in charge of Armaments, Stéphane Beemelmans; into early retirement. The senior defense ministry official responsible for equipment, information technology and operations, Detlef Selhausen, has been transferred to other duties. (ends)

The Armaments Board - An Instrument of Transparency
(Source: German Ministry of Defense; issued Feb 20, 2014)
(Issued in Germany only; unofficial translation by
BERLIN --- In order to create transparency, clarity and visibility in the field of armaments for Parliament and the public, the predecessor of Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen had established the principle of regular meetings of the Armaments Board. It will hold meetings every six months, and the first meeting of this body took place in Berlin on February 19.

The aim of this Armaments Board, which comprises the Minister of Defense, four secretaries of state and the relevant department heads, is to provide clear information in the field of armaments, so as to inform the Bundestag about the status of the main 15 armament projects.

This is to be done in such a way that a detailed status report can be made on each major project, setting out clearly the main problems and risks. These programs include the A400M, Eurofighter, Puma armored vehicle and the Tiger helicopter. There are approximately 1,200 defense projects in total, of which around 100 have a cost volume of over 25 million euros.

"But I note that this process of clarity and transparency has not been implemented in armament programs within the ministry, and so I have to make both structural and personnel changes," Defense Minister von der Leyen told media representatives in Berlin, the day after the first meeting of the Armament Board.

The consequence: The President is requested to move immediately the senior executive responsible for defense, Stéphane Beemelmans, into temporary retirement.

The Inspector General of the Bundeswehr General Volker Wieker accepts to extend his professional duties to the field of equipment, information technology and operations (AIN). The areas of organization, revision and realignment, as well as the functional tasks of the ministry as a whole, will be taken over by State Secretary Gerd Hoofe.

The person formerly responsible for the AIN sector, department manager Detlef Selhausen, has been relieved from his previous duties. He has been offered to perform other other tasks. The ministry’s Head of Planning, Vice Admiral Joachim Rühle, will take over as acting head of the AIN department.

The main objective, for von der Leyen is to continue to equip the troops in the best way possible. In addition, the acquisition process should be handled more transparently, and should make more efficient use of taxpayers' money.

Last but not least, we also demand that the defense industry deliver products in the agreed time and quality – and, conversely, it can expect planning security in our policies, von der Leyen said. A further consequence will be that external specialists from consulting companies that are familiar with risk analysis and large-scale project management, will begin a multi-phase audit of the process, first for the main armament projects and then the structures and processes, the Minister announced.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The latent conflict between the new minister and her deputy Stéphane Beemelmans, a close associate of her predecessor Thomas de Maizière, reportedly came to a head during the Armament Board’s Feb 19 meeting.
The minister then discovered that Beemelmans had unilaterally authorized a payment of 55 million euros to MTU Aero for unspecified reasons on the very day de Maizière was replaced – which itself is contrary to accepted practice.
Payments over 25 million euros must be approved by the Bundestag’s budget committee, which Beemelmans had not requested, and it was reportedly not approved by .)


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