Forces: October 15, 2003


Germany continues to reduce it's armed forces. Current troop strength of 285,000 is going down to 250,000 over the next few years. This is after three years of cuts that are reducing the force from 340,000 to 285,000, a process not scheduled to finish until 2006. The new cuts are to be made by 2007. Even larger cuts are planned for the armed forces civilian work force, eliminating 53,000 jobs, and leaving only 75,000 workers. This means that the number of bases will come down, the goal being a reduction to 400. Only a few years there were 600 German military installations in the country. Germany still uses conscription for 30 percent of its troops, and a falling birth rate means that either troops strength has to come down or more money spent on defense. But Germany only spends about $28 billion a year. Most of that goes to personnel expenses, so it is necessary to reduce the number of career troops if there is to be any money for new equipment and peacekeeping missions. Because Germany itself is not faced with any immediate military threat, it is also cutting back on some unneeded, but expensive weapons systems. Some 120 Tornado warplanes will be retired, leaving only 80. 


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