Forces: June 4, 2000

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: Controversy has erupted in Germany over a plan to rebuild the German military into a new smaller form. The plan, created by an independent commission, has several key features:

@ reduce the military from 320,000 personnel to 240,000.

@ reduce the number of conscripts on duty from 130,000 to 30,000. This is controversial as the Germans have always used the draft to cement the military to the civilian population. This will, in theory, be maintained by holding a lottery among the 400,000 draft-age men.

@ The 50,000-man rapid reaction force will be expanded to 140,000, which will be the spearhead of the entire military. The German armed forces will be refocused from national defense to international crisis intervention.

@ Reduce the number of civilian employees of the military from 120,000 to 80,000.

@ Streamline the command structure and expand the role of the Chief of the General Staff.--Stephen V Cole

 


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