Cablegate: German Out-of-Area Deployment Update

DE RUEHRL #0669/01 1420632
P 210632Z MAY 08



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: German Out-Of-Area Deployment Update

REF: A) Berlin 250
B) Berlin 620

1. (SBU) As of early May, Germany had just over 7,000 military
personnel in out-of-area deployments (compared to 6,657 in
mid-February), plus 5,700 on stand-by for the NATO Response Force
(NRF). All armed military out-of-area (OOA) deployments, with the
exception of those in support of UN observer missions, require
parliamentary approval. A 2005 Deployment Law regulates the
parliamentary process, allowing expedited procedures only for
non-controversial deployments. What follows is a brief run-down on
Germany's current OOA deployments. (Note: OOA deployments are
defined as deployments outside the territory of the NATO member
states. End Note.)

The Deployment Law

2. (SBU) According to a landmark 1994 Constitutional Court decision
and a subsequent 2005 Deployment Law, the Bundestag must approve in
advance the deployment of any Germany armed forces outside of
Germany. The Deployment Law provides for urgent armed deployments
to go forward without the prior approval of the Bundestag, but most
German officials view this as applying in only the most exigent of
circumstances, when there is literally no time to obtain Bundestag
approval between the outbreak of a crisis and the need to respond
militarily. Even in these circumstances, the Deployment Law
requires the government to seek Bundestag approval as soon as
possible and if it is not forthcoming, the deployment must be

3. (SBU) In a decision that is likely to make it even more
cumbersome for the government to deploy German armed forces
overseas, the German Constitutional Court ruled May 7 that the
government's decision to allow German air crews to participate in
the NATO AWACS mission in Turkey in 2003, on the eve of the war in
Iraq, without first seeking approval of the Bundestag, was
unconstitutional. The Court dismissed the assertion of the
then-Social Democratic/Greens coalition government that the AWACS
deployment was just a "routine," unarmed reconnaissance mission,
arguing that there were "tangible, factual indicators" that the
German AWACS air crews could have been drawn into armed conflict.
The Court reaffirmed the Bundeswehr as a "parliamentary army,"
underscoring that the German Basic Law (Constitution) "entrusted the
decision about peace and war to the German Bundestag as the
representative body of the people." The Court emphasized that when
in doubt about whether it is necessary to obtain Bundestag approval,
the government should err on the side of seeking parliamentary
permission. (See Ref B for further reporting and analysis on this
Constitutional Court decision.)

--------------------------------------------- -
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
--------------------------------------------- -

4. (SBU) The Bundeswehr currently has 3,446 military personnel
(3,445 in February) operating under ISAF in Afghanistan based on a
one-year combined mandate approved by the Bundestag October 12.
This combined mandate includes deployment of six Tornado
reconnaissance aircraft, which were previously covered by a separate
mandate. The troop ceiling for the mandate is 3,500.

5. (SBU) Germany has been active in ISAF since the operation's
creation in January 2002, and was the first country to volunteer to
lead an ISAF Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) outside of Kabul.
Germany currently commands ISAF's northern region (RC-North), where
it leads two of the five PRTs (Kunduz and Feyzabad) as well as the
Forward Support Base in Mazar-E-Sharif. On February 23, Germany
inaugurated a Provincial Advisory Team (PAT), a mini-PRT in Takhar
province with around 50 civilian and military personnel total.

6. (SBU) The Bundeswehr has taken on, or has committed to take on, a
number of additional tasks in recent months, which will soon bring
it right up against the current troop ceiling of 3,500:

-- Germany will take over the Regional Command-North Quick Reaction
Force (QRF) company in June. This will be the first time Germany
will have a force (consisting of about 200 troops) that can be
quickly deployed around the country on short notice and which can
conduct combat missions. This will constitute a significant change
in the character of the Bundeswehr deployment in Afghanistan, whose
forces up to now have been focused almost solely on stabilization

BERLIN 00000669 002 OF 005

and force protection missions. German officials point out that the
primary mission of the QRF is to respond to emergencies in RC-North,
but they also have said that Germany will come to the aid of Allies
(i.e., outside RC-North) when required. Such exceptions are
explicitly allowed by the ISAF mandate (see para 10 below).

-- Germany is tripling the number of troops (from 100 to 300)
devoted to training of the Afghan National Army (ANA). Besides
fielding additional Operational Mentoring and Liaison Teams (OMLTs),
up to a total of seven, Germany also plans to expand a drivers and
mechanics school in Kabul into a logisticians' training center, set
up a combat engineer school in Kabul and establish an infantry
training center in Mazar-e-Sharif.

-- Germany has increased the number of military policemen devoted to
training of the Afghan National Police (ANP) in Mazar-e Sharif from
30 to 45.

-- In the wake of a numerous rocket attacks against PRT Kunduz,
Germany has deployed a company of 200 airborne infantry soldiers in
February to do regular patrolling in the immediate area around the

7. (SBU) German Chief of Defense Gen. Schneiderhan has raised
concerns publicly that the lack of headroom under the troop ceiling
could hinder the Bundeswehr in responding to an unexpected crisis.
While some parliamentarians have expressed a willingness to consider
an earlier renewal of the ISAF mandate, which would allow an
increase in the troop ceiling, the Grand Coalition government
(Christian Democratic Union and Social Democratic Party) has
reportedly decided against seeking any changes to the mandate before
it expires in October. One consideration against an early increase
in the troop ceiling is the September 28 Bavarian State election.
The Christian Social Union (CSU), a sister party of the CDU that has
controlled the Bavarian state government since 1957, is concerned
that any parliamentary debate or decision on Afghanistan could
undermine its ability to win the election and maintain its majority.

8. (SBU) When the ISAF mandate comes up for renewal in October, the
current expectation is that the government will not seek approval
for any additional tasks or missions for the Bundeswehr, especially
concerning the deployment of combat troops outside the north. With
parliamentary elections expected in the fall of 2009, and public
support for the mission continuing to lag, the government parties
are likely to seek a simple roll-over of the mndate that minimizes
controversy and debate. Hoever, the overall troop ceiling will
probably b increased by 500 or 1,000 to give the Bundeswehr more
cushion in carrying out already approved tasks. The renewed
mandate, which is normally valid for one year, is expected to run an
extra two months or so, to December 2009, so that it does not expire
until after the 2009 parliamentary elections are held and the new
government is formed.

9. (SBU) Germany currently provides OMLTs for ANA maneuver
battalions based in Kunduz and Feyzabad. It also contributes to two
multinational OMLTs -- one for the HQ of the 209th Corps and the
other for the HQ of the 1st Brigade of the 209th Corps. Both HQs
are located in Mazar-E-Sharif. Germany plans to contribute three
additional OMLTs as a new ANA brigade (2nd Brigade, 209th Corps) and
its subordinate battalions are fielded in the north over the next
year. Germany also plans to build garrisons for the new brigade in
the north.

10. (SBU) The ISAF mandate defines the German area of operations as
the northern region and Kabul. However, an exception in the mandate
allows for temporary, limited deployments to other parts of the
country on a case-by-case basis if deemed "absolutely necessary" to
the overall ISAF mission. Any proposed deployments outside the
north and Kabul are subject to approval by the Minister of Defense.
In May 2007, at the request of ISAF, Defense Minister Jung approved
the temporary deployment (three to four weeks) of a three-man
psychological operations team to southern Afghanistan. German radio
operators have been deployed for several months to provide
communication support to Regional Command South in Kandahar.

11. (SBU) In the fall of 2007 and again in May 2008, Jung approved
the temporary deployment of a small number of Bundeswehr soldiers
outside the north to provide medical and intelligence support to
combat operations against insurgents in Region West. None of the
German soldiers, however, was directly involved in combat
operations. For the May 2008 operation, German members of the
multinational OMLT for the 209th Corps HQ were part of the group

BERLIN 00000669 003 OF 005

authorized to deploy, the first time that German OMLT members were
allowed to deploy outside the north (albeit for a Corps HQ and not a
fighting unit). MOD has thus far not allowed German OMLTs assigned
to infantry ANA battalions to deploy outside the north.

12. (SBU) Meanwhile, the ISAF mandate allows the Tornado
reconnaissance aircraft to operate throughout Afghanistan, but
restricts the resulting information from being distributed outside
of ISAF channels. The information can only be passed to OEF in
instances where doing so directly supports ISAF operations. Since
the end of January 2008, Germany has provided an additional two
C-160 Transall aircraft Afghanistan to ISAF, for a total of eight.

Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)

13. (SBU) The parliamentary mandate for OEF was extended for one
year on November 15. It allows for the deployment of up to 1,400
personnel. Currently, there are 263 German sailors (226 in
February) and one frigate under OEF, operating around the Horn of
Africa. The German frigate "Bremen" recently came to the rescue of
two commercial Japanese ships, which were being attacked by pirates.

14. (SBU) The mandate includes an authorization for the deployment
of up to 100 German Special Forces (KSK) to Afghanistan.
Reportedly, no KSK have been deployed to Afghanistan under OEF in
three years, which led some politicians to question the utility of
maintaining this part of the mandate during last fall's debate over
its renewal. The Afghanistan portion of the OEF has become a
"virtual mandate," the main purpose of which is to demonstrate
solidarity with the United States. There is little parliamentary
support for actually deploying the KSK to Afghanistan under OEF.

15. (SBU) Despite parliamentary approval, OEF remains unpopular in
Germany due to misperceptions of the mission as a strictly combat
operation and its association with civilian casualties. OEF is an
especially divisive issue within the Social Democratic Party (SDP),
the junior party in the Grand Coalition government. Some 42 SPD
parliamentarians -- about 20% of the caucus -- voted against
extending the OEF mandate this past year. While significantly
higher than in 2006, when only 13 opposed OEF, the number of
defections is significantly below what the SPD suffered in March
2007, when 69 voted against the original deployment of Tornado
reconnaissance aircraft to Afghanistan.

16. (SBU) During the parliamentary debate on OEF, FM Steinmeier
called for evaluating whether OEF could be mandated in the future
through a UNSCR, rather than continuing to rely on the self-defense
provisions of Article 51 of the UN Charter. He also called for
examining the possibility of transferring the ANA training mission
from OEF to ISAF, thereby continuing the trend toward an ever larger
ISAF and smaller OEF. Finally, he proposed holding an international
conference in the coming months to take stock of progress in
achieving the goals of the Afghanistan Compact. While there has
been no concrete follow-up on the first two proposals, Germany is
supporting France in hosting the June 12 Paris Conference.

17. (SBU) Renewal of the OEF mandate could be difficult this coming
fall, given the upcoming 2009 national parliamentary election and
the fact that public support for the operation remains very low.
However, the government is likely to seek renewal of the mandate in
any event, believing that failing to do so could send a bad signal
about Germany's commitment to the war on terror.

Kosovo Force (KFOR)

18. (SBU) Germany currently has 2,645 military personnel (compared
to 2,182 in February) in KFOR, far below that allowed under the
parliamentary mandate (8,500). There is a German Operational
Reserve Force (ORF) battalion on stand-by in Germany to reinforce
KFOR as necessary. The ORF battalion, temporary deployed to Kosovo
from mid-November to mid-December, returned as scheduled. The
mandate is extended automatically each year unless there is a change
to the UNSC Resolution framework for the Kosovo Force. Germany
formally recognized Kosovo's independence on February 20 in a letter
from President Koehler. The government made clear that it still
considers UNSCR 1244 as the legal basis for KFOR, a position that

BERLIN 00000669 004 OF 005

all parties in the Bundestag, except the small Left Party (roughly
12% support nationally), support.

European Union Force (EUFOR) Bosnia

19. (SBU) Germany currently has approximately 130 soldiers (compared
to 127 in February) in Bosnia as part of the EU's Operation ALTHEA.
Most of the German soldiers are deployed as liaison and observer
teams. The mandate, amended December 1, allows the deployment of up
to 2,400 military personnel. This operation extends automatically
unless there is a change to its underlying UNSC resolution. In
2007, Germany reduced its military presence in Bosnia by more than
700 military personnel in coordination with other allies. Germany
is relying more on home-based reserve forces and less on deployed
troops to provide the necessary security support for the
implementation of reform measures mandated by the Dayton Peace

--------------------------------------------- ---
United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)
--------------------------------------------- ---

20. (SBU) Germany leads UNIFIL's naval component and has 464
military personnel deployed (compared to 619 in January). The
current mandate, authorizing up to 1,400 military personnel, expires
on September 12. On February 29, Germany handed over the command of
UNIFIL's naval component to EUROMARFOR, a joint non-permanent fleet
including Portugal, Spain, France and Italy. An Italian general
assumed command.

Sudan (UNAMID and UNMIS)

21. (SBU) Germany currently has 39 military observers in the UN
Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), monitoring the implementation of the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The parliament imposed a caveat
barring military observers from going to Darfur without prior
consultation with the Bundestag Foreign Relations Committee's
chairman and ranking members. The mandate, which was extended for
an additional year on November 15, allows for the participation of
up to 75 German military observers.

22. (SBU) The Bundestag approved a new mandate in support of the
UN/AU hybrid mission in Darfur (UN Assistance Mission in Darfur,
UNAMID) on November 15. The new UNAMID mandate replaces the
previous African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) mandate. It
authorizes the Bundeswehr to deploy transport aircraft and up to 200
troops in support of the UN/AU hybrid mission.

Georgia (UNOMIG)

23. (SBU) Germany has been part of the UN Observer Mission in the
Abkhazian region of Georgia (UNOMIG) since 1998 and currently has 12
personnel stationed there, most of whom are medical personnel and
military observers. To meet a UN request for additional medical
personnel, the German cabinet decided last August to raise the
personnel ceiling for this mission from 13 to 20.

Other minor deployments

24. (SBU) Two military observers serve in the United Nations Mission
in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE). One German military observer is
seconded to the United Nation Assistance Mission in Afghanistan
(UNAMA). The Bundeswehr has seconded 41 military personnel to
Strategic Medical Evacuation (STRATAIRMEDEVAC), for which no
parliamentary mandate is required, since it is not an armed
deployment and the stand-by aircraft are stationed in Germany.

Other force commitments

25. (SBU) The Bundeswehr currently has 5,700 soldiers committed for
the tenth rotation of the NATO Response Force (NRF). There are no
Bundeswehr soldiers assigned to EU Battle Groups in the first half
of 2008.

BERLIN 00000669 005 OF 005

Bundeswehr transformation

26. (SBU) The Bundeswehr is currently undergoing a transformation
process, the goal of which is to be able to send up to 14,000
soldiers to as many as five different theaters for stabiization
missions by 2010. The Bundeswehr will be reduced from its
pre-transformation level of 270,000 to a final strength of 250,000
(162,300 Army, 62,700 Air Force and 25,000 Navy). The new
Bundeswehr will be composed of three different groups: 35,000 for
intervention forces, 70,000 for stabilization forces and 147,000 for
support forces. Part of the Bundeswehr's transformation is a
comprehensive rebasing program, which is also intended to be
completed by 2010. Moreover, transformation includes the
procurement of new equipment to fill capability gaps, mainly in the
fields of strategic air lift, network centric warfare and armored
vehicles. Due to limited funding (Germany spends just 1.3 percent
of its GDP on defense, with few prospects of significant increases
in the future) and defense industry delays (mainly by EADS), the
equipping side of transformation is behind schedule.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>


Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC