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Defense Commissioner Högl calls for quick removal of flaws: a healthy shock in Ukraine – politics

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The date is annual, and yet it couldn’t fit better. Ukraine’s war shows how threatened peace is, says Eva Högl as she presents her annual report as Bundestag defense commissioner on Tuesday.

Everything she and her predecessors have been demanding for years — better equipment for the Bundeswehr, faster procurement, efficiency instead of bureaucracy — has been made a priority thanks to Vladimir Putin’s war. In the past, reporting her often only elicited routine regret, but now shortcomings and problems suddenly seem very concrete and threatening.

“Some call it the Ukraine shock,” says Högl. For them, it creates a paradoxical situation. On the one hand, it is “brutal” that bombs fall on Europe and thousands die.

On the other hand: “Of course, this raises awareness of how important deterrence is.” He can only salute the fact that this has led to a rethink in his own party, the SPD: “Our soldiers guarantee peace, freedom and security. “

“The Bundeswehr is still ready for action.”

The planned special fund of 100 billion euros for the Bundeswehr must now be used “quickly” and “sensiblely”. Högl does not want to subscribe to the diagnosis made by army inspector Alfons Mais that the Bundeswehr is “blank”: the general made a “very emotional contribution”, he says, emphasizing: “The Bundeswehr is still ready for action”.

Just not as ready as it should be. The fact that she encountered icy soldiers in Lithuania in the 2021 reporting year and that only half of the armored personnel carriers could be used in Mali during her visit, she was “appalled,” Högl says. Not everything being ready, not even in missions and not even in everyday gear, is unacceptable.

[Alle aktuellen Nachrichten zum russischen Angriff auf die Ukraine bekommen Sie mit der Tagesspiegel-App live auf ihr Handy. Hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen.]

The trillion now offers the “great opportunity” to quickly eliminate known deficiencies. The first thing you should do is acquire everything soldiers wear on their bodies, from warm underwear to bulletproof vests and radios. Then it is the turn of the large-scale planned device.

On the other hand, it would not make sense, warns the parliamentary commissioner, to invent completely new and long-term projects or perfectionist “cutting-edge solutions”. And it wouldn’t make any sense if the procurement system remained as it is: slow, persistent, excessively bureaucratic.

Red tape marathon for a piece of cloth

The report contains satirical examples. To provide military intelligence with its own uniform insignia, it first needed an item number and then approval from the Koblenz Equipment Office. The procedure for the small piece of cloth took two years.

It’s no wonder that the combat swimmers in Eckernförde are still waiting for an indoor pool, because the state building administration does not get to the well, not to mention the processes involved in large teams.

After all, Högl also sees new opportunities here: exceptions to EU procurement law, which other countries have always used more freely, would be much easier to justify given the serious security threat.

Before the war, other lingering issues in the independent parliamentary commissioners’ report took a backseat. Right-wing extremists in uniform, for example, remain a problem.

Numerically, it is even higher: the military counterintelligence service (MAD) investigated 589 suspected cases in 2021; the previous year there were 477, before 363 cases.

However, Högl attributes the increase to the fact that the troops were sensitized by spectacular events, for example, in the Special Forces Command (KSK). Now it will be reported faster and more if someone behaves in a conspicuous way. The elite troops themselves drew the correct conclusions: “The KSK is on the right track.”

The military commissioner, on the other hand, sees an urgent need to act regarding the reservists: MAD and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution had to investigate 1,337 suspected cases, with neo-Nazis and “citizens of the Reich” increasingly coming into focus. Högl is also dissatisfied with the military service court proceedings: the slow pace is “a real nuisance”. And the dismissal of the enemies of the constitution must be faster.


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