Is conscription obsolete

Voluntary in the armed forces - almost like in the fire brigade

Especially in times of the corona pandemic, hospital personnel managers or managers of nursing homes, who are worried about them, may longingly remember times when they had to rule over an army of community service providers. But these often highly committed »civilians« have not existed for ten years. This is due to a vote in the Bundestag on March 24, 2011. At that time, the majority of parliamentarians approved the suspension of compulsory military service and thus a temporary end to community service.

Ultimately, the process was part of an armed forces reform that was mainly forced from outside. In accordance with the so-called 2 + 4 treaty concluded by the two German states and the four victorious allied powers of the Second World War, the Bundeswehr was given an upper limit of 370,000 soldiers. German unity was only possible through the "melting down" of 140,000 military personnel. However, no hand was given to Article 12a of the Basic Law. It still says: "From the age of eighteen men can be obliged to serve in the armed forces, in the Federal Border Guard or in a civil defense association." The then Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (CSU) found "a correct and correct way of maintaining this principle." a wise decision with a view to scenarios that we certainly cannot quite foresee today «.

Unlike ten years ago, when the Eastern military alliance had disintegrated, Russia was considered a partner in matters of European security and the Bundeswehr pushed mandate after mandate into more and more foreign missions, these home and alliance protection scenarios are recognizable today. Compulsory military service and community service can therefore be put back into force immediately if the current divergences with Moscow develop into a so-called case of tension or defense.

In 2012, efforts were made to downsize the Bundeswehr - which, with its compulsory system, was considered exotic within NATO - from around 250,000 to 185,000 men and women at the time. A Bundeswehr structure commission appointed by Gutenberg examined and came to the conclusion that professional fighters and not listless conscripts were needed for Germany's new status in the world, and up to 30,000 trainers had to take care of them. In the end, only 13 percent of a year was drafted into the Bundeswehr. Almost every second young man did neither civil nor military service.

Peace groups, leftists and trade unionists also supported the apparently fundamental demilitarization of society. The PDS at that time had already developed concepts for a 100,000-man army in 2000, which they wanted to inoculate a structural non-attack capability.

Anyone who expected the debates about forced labor to slowly ebb away is mistaken. And not just because the 78,000 or so people doing community service would be immense and, above all, cheap help for numerous areas of society. Their performance would be much higher than that of the almost 40,000 »Bufdis« today or the 50,000 or more FSJ people.

Even if the extremist incidents, especially in the Special Forces Command, give rise to outdated ideas about democratic control of the armed forces through general conscription - serious proponents of a conscription reorganization are primarily driven by the possibility of new streams in the dried up, but for the military Bring the entire system to important reservist units. Professional, temporary and military personnel who have entered as voluntary military service are not sufficient for the tasks of a NATO deployment area.

Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) has dared to come up with a “facet of the Bundeswehr”. It's about "Your year for Germany". Applicants initially receive seven months of military training as part of voluntary military service. The baited people are then available for reservist training for a period of six years. According to an advertising text, we are looking for committed young people for the Territorial Reserve, in order to protect our homeland together with the many volunteers from the fire brigade, the THW and the other emergency and rescue services. With your commitment you make an important contribution, very close to the population, for the people in your regional living area. «The government therefore appeals to almost civil, neighborly solidarity and to patriotism that is sometimes recognizable. In addition, a starting salary of around 1400 euros net attracts. It should start in April.

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