Minister Approves Project Status Reports
(Source: German Ministry of Defence; issued March 12, 2015)
(Issued in German; unofficial translation by
KOBLENZ, Germany --- Chaired by Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, the ministry’s Armaments Board met at the Federal Office for equipment, information technology and use of the Bundeswehr in Koblenz on 12 March. At the meeting, the ministry’s executive leadership reviewed and discussed the status reports of the 15 major defense projects.

Each project manager informed the Minister on the status, progress, risks and problems of the 15 main armament programs.

The six-hour working session of the Armament Board was preceded by four months of intensive preparation. Since the introduction of the new arms management procedures, each major program prepared detailed status reports listing their risks and problems.

Project status reports will be forwarded to Parliament

The 15 major projects that were discussed in Koblenz have a total cost of about 58 billion euros, or about 70% of all current defense procurement projects. Their average maturity is 13 years.

On average, the completion of the projects takes 4 years longer than planned. In contrast to the partially decades old, original calculations, the average budget of the 15 projects have been exceeded by 29% - equivalent to a total of 12.9 billion euros. The main reason for the price increases are the numerous delays in the status of the projects. and the corresponding price adjustments.

The evaluation of major projects under the newly-introduced risk management approach encompasses more than 500 individual risks, of which more than 100 are classified as serious. All risk-mitigation measures have been initiated in the meantime.

The project status reports form the basis for a comprehensive and transparent report on arms acquisition of the Bundeswehr, and will be submitted to the Bundestag by the middle of next week for its information.

Third Armaments Board

The Armaments Board was originally established by former Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere to regularly inform the management level of the Defence Ministry on the status of military equipment projects. The subsequent report also seeks to increase their transparency towards Parliament.

At present, the third meeting of the Armaments Board was attended by the Minister and by the responsible project managers, Secretaries of State, the Head of the concerned departments and agencies, and the representative for the strategic management of national and international defense activities.

First Meeting after Armaments Agenda

The Armaments Board met for the first time under the chairmanship of the current Minister in October 2014. The Armaments Board evaluates and implements the results of external opinions on the defense and procurement of the Bundeswehr.

At the first Armaments Board in February 2014, von der Leyen did not approve any project reports, and ordered a comprehensive review and inventory of all major armaments programs.


Bundeswehr Armament Programs: €13 billion Over Budget, Four Years Late
(Source: dpa German News Agency; published Mar 12, 2015)
(Unofficial translation by
Problems with the Bundeswehr’s armaments projects never end, as it has now been established that the 15 largest weapons projects are running four years late on average, and are a total of 12.9 billion euros over budget.

The 15 largest weapons projects of the Bundeswehr are on average four years late and are together 12.9 billion euros more expensive than originally planned, which corresponds to a cost increase of 29 percent.

These figures were obtained by the dpa news agency after a meeting of the so-called Armaments Board, during which Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) was briefed about the mega-projects.

Long Checklist

On the checklist are among other the Eurofighter combat aircraft, the Puma combat vehicle, the A400M transport aircraft and the NH90 and Tiger helicopters. In total, more than 500 individual risks were identified, of which more than 100 are considered serious. To fix them, corrective measures have already been initiated, but details were not immediately available.

Next week, the Bundestag should be briefed in detail. The Armament Board includes, in addition to von der Leyen, all four Secretaries of State of the defense ministry and the relevant Heads of Department. In the lead(up to the meeting, major projects with a total investment of 58 billion euros were examined intensively over four months. Reportedly, 70 percent of the price increases are due to delays. The original budget plans are mostly many years late. The average duration of major projects is 13 years.

Delay and cost increase - for years

Over the past decades, delays and significant cost increases have become normal among the large defense projects. Von der Leyen has declared the restructuring of the defense sector one of the main themes of her tenure. For this purpose, former management consultant Katrin Suder was brought in last year as Secretary to the Ministry.

Left Party leader Gregor Gysi is outraged about the cost increases. "Spending an additional 12.9 billion euros for a pointless armor programs is extremely irresponsible," said the chairman of the largest opposition party. “Others would be held legally responsible for much smaller amounts. In politics, there must be limits,” Gysi said.


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