Cablegate: German Out-of-Area Deployment Update

DE RUEHRL #2172/01 3391723
R 051723Z DEC 07




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

REF: Berlin 1822

1. (SBU) As of December 2, Germany had 7,173 military personnel in
out-of-area deployments (compared to 6,737 in late October), plus
3,100 on stand-by for the NATO Response Force (NRF). All military
out-of-area (OOA) deployments, with the exception of those in
support of UN observer missions, require parliamentary approval. A
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.)

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

2. (SBU) The Bundeswehr currently has 3,176 military personnel
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 first approved in
March 2007. The troop ceiling for the mandate is 3,500, which
combines the previously separate troop ceilings for ISAF (3,000) and
the Tornados (500). Because the Tornados only require about 200
troops, the merger automatically created additional headroom for
Germany to take on additional tasks.

3. (SBU) The German government has announced its intention to use
this additional troop capacity to boost the Bundeswehr's involvement
in the training of the Afghan National Army (ANA). Some ideas under
consideration include expanding a drivers and mechanics school in
Kabul into a logisticians' training center, setting up a combat
engineer school in Kabul and establishing an infantry training
center in Mazar-e-Sharif.

4. (SBU) Germany currently provides an Operational Mentoring and
Liaison Team (OMLT) for a maneuver battalion based in Kunduz. 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
provide an additional OMLT temporarily for a second maneuver
battalion based in Mazar-E-Sharif, beginning in early 2008. This
German OMLT will remain in place until Latvia is ready to take
responsibility for it in fall 2008. A new ANA brigade -- 2nd
Brigade, 209th Corps -- is scheduled to be stood up in Kunduz in the
fall of 2008. Germany plans to contribute four of the seven OMLTs
required for this brigade. Germany also plans to build garrisons
for the new brigade in the north.

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 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. Norway has announced that
it will cease providing the company-sized Quick Reaction Force (QRF)
for RC-North in June 2008. In the absence of any other capable or
willing countries, Germany appears likely to take on this role.

6. (SBU) The ISAF mandate limits normal Bundeswehr operations to
Kabul and RC-North, but allows temporary, limited deployments to
other parts of the country on a case-by-case basis. In early May,
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 also been deployed temporarily to provide communication support
to Regional Command South in Kandahar. However, MOD has thus far
not allowed German OMLTs to accompany their ANA units on deployments
outside the north. Meanwhile, the ISAF mandate allows the
reconnaissance aircraft to operate throughout Afghanistan, but
restricts the distribution of the resulting information outside of
ISAF channels. The information can only be passed to OEF in
instances where doing so directly supports ISAF operations.

Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)

7. (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 246 German sailors and one frigate
under OEF, operating around the Horn of Africa. The mandate
authorizes the deployment of up to 100 German Special Forces (KSK)
in Afghanistan. Reportedly, no KSK have been deployed to
Afghanistan under OEF in more than two years, which led some
politicians to question the utility of maintaining this part of the
mandate during the recent debate over its renewal.

BERLIN 00002172 002 OF 003

8. (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 year. While significantly higher
than last year, when only 13 opposed OEF, the number of defections
is significantly below what the SPD suffered in March, when 69 voted
against the original deployment of Tornado reconnaissance aircraft
to Afghanistan.

9. (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.

10. (SBU) Renewal of the OEF mandate could be even more challenging
next year, in the run-up to the 2009 national parliamentary
election, given that popular support for the mission remains low.

Kosovo Force (KFOR)

11. (SBU) Germany currently has 2,792 military personnel (compared
to 2,218 in October) in KFOR, far below that allowed under the
parliamentary mandate (8,500). The increase compared to October
reflects the deployment of the German Operational Reserve Force
(ORF) battalion to Kosovo on November 16. The battalion is expected
to re-deploy back to Germany on December 16. The mandate is
extended automatically each year unless there is a change to the
UNSC Resolution framework for the Kosovo Force. While it remains
unclear whether a new parliamentary mandate will be required in the
event of a unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo, all
political parties agree that the international military presence,
including German forces, must remain in place.

European Union Force (EUFOR) Bosnia

12. (SBU) Germany currently has 269 soldiers (compared to 316 in
October) 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. Over the last
several months, the German government has been slowly reducing its
military presence in coordination with other allies, but that
process has been suspended recently in light of current problems in
implementing reform measures mandated by the Dayton Peace

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

13. (SBU) Germany leads UNIFIL's naval component and has 631
military personnel deployed (compared to 805 in October). The
current mandate, authorizing up to 1,400 military personnel, expires
on September 12, 2008. The German MOD has announced its intention
to hand over leadership of UNIFIL's naval component in February


14. (SBU) Germany currently has 42 military observers (compared to
37 in September) 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.

15. (SBU) While there is parliamentary mandate for the Bundeswehr to
deploy transport aircraft and up to 200 troops in support of the
African (Union) Mission in Sudan (AMIS), this mandate has gone
practically unused in the last year, with the AU requesting only

BERLIN 00002172 003 OF 003

sporadic assistance from Germany. The current six-month AMIS
mandate expires December 14.

16. (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 authorizes the
Bundeswehr to draw on the same assets provided for in the AMIS

Georgia (UNOMIG)

17. (SBU) Germany has been part of the UN Observer Mission in
Georgia (UNOMIG) since 1998 and currently has 12 personnel (no
change since October) stationed there, most of whom are medical
personnel and military observers. To meet a UN request for
additional medical personnel, the German cabinet decided August 8 to
raise the personnel ceiling for this mission from 13 to 20.

Other minor deployments

18. (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

19. (SBU) The Bundeswehr currently has 3,100 soldiers committed for
the ninth rotation of the NATO Response Force (NRF).

Bundeswehr transformation

20. (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 stabilization
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 1.2 percent
of its GDP on defense, with few prospects of significant increases
in the future), the equipping side of transformation is behind


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