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Cablegate: Germany and Bundeswehr Transformation: Committed

VZCZCXRO1667
PP RUEHIK
DE RUEHRL #1471/01 3221544
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181544Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5832
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDRUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BERLIN 001471

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MOPS PREL MARR NATO EUN GM
SUBJECT: GERMANY AND BUNDESWEHR TRANSFORMATION: COMMITTED
TO AN EXPEDITIONARY POSTURE BUT STRUGGLING WITH KEY
DEFICIENCES

BERLIN 00001471 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) SUMMARY. DefMin Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg in his
first speech to the new Bundestag on November 10 emphasized
that the Bundeswehr must be "sleeker, even more efficient,
and even more focused on out-of-area operations," indicating
that the new MOD remains committed to developing a more
mobile and expeditionary force. However, the switch from a
defensive military to an expeditionary force already has been
in planning since 2004 when Bundeswehr Inspector General
Schneiderhan kicked off Bundeswehr transformation. The
specific priorities highlighted in the 2006 White Book
(strategic air-lift, reconnaissance, and attention to front
line equipment and communications) remain unachieved,
indicating that the new defense minister has a long road
ahead of him. END SUMMARY.

CHALLENGES TO A MODERN BUNDESWEHR

2. (SBU) Unnoticed by the German public, Bundeswehr
transformation entered its sixth year in 2009. While DefMin
Jung mainly executed reforms that were initiated by his
predecessors, DefMin zu Guttenberg will have to refine the
course of the Bundeswehr,s transformation. Multiple
contacts identify Germany,s lack of strategic air lift as
the biggest limitation on the Bundeswehr and its increased
participation in deployments. To meet this need in the short
term, the Bundeswehr in 2004 joined the Strategic Air Lift
Interim Solution (SALIS) project. The SALIS project charters
six Russian and Ukrainian Antonov An-124-100 transport
aircraft to transport equipment to out-of-area deployments,
including Afghanistan. Although envisioned as a stop-gap
solution, the SALIS project remains in use due to delays in
delivery of the new A400M strategic transport aircraft.
Without further delays, delivery should occur in 2012.

3. (SBU) The lack of reconnaissance capabilities also
restricts the Bundeswehr,s ability to function during
deployments. This lack is especially apparent in
Afghanistan, according to Colonel Olaf von Roeder, Deputy
Head of the Bundeswehr Transformation Center. However, the
Bundeswehr is addressing the reconnaissance gap through
recent procurements. Since 2000, the Bundeswehr has operated
the LUNA drone, a light weight, medium-range reconnaissance
system, which was brought to Afghanistan in 2005. Earlier
this year, the Bundeswehr also deployed to Afghanistan a new
mini-UAV, the KZO (Kleinfluggert Ziel Ortung), which allows
for precise target acquisition. On October 29, the MOD
announced that the Bundeswehr,s Tornado reconnaissance
aircraft now have the capability to provide live, "real time"
imagery by replacing the old photo film system with an
electronic version.

4. (SBU) The lack of defensive armor on some units and the
inability to operate in severe climates also limits
Bundeswehr effectiveness in deployments such as Afghanistan.
Many German helicopters do not have any defensive armor,
according to Von Roeder, and the helicopters are ill-suited
for the Afghan climate. According to Sascha Lange of the
German Institute for International and Security Affairs
(SWP), German helicopters, engines are not designed to
operate in hot weather, high altitudes, and dusty
environments. Of the 80 CH-53s that Germany has in its
inventory, only 22 have been upgraded to the more advanced GS
version (equipped with armor and electronic warfare) with an
additional six helicopters to be similarly upgraded next
year. Only by 2014 will an additional 40 CH-53s be upgraded
to the GA version, with improved avionics but no additional
armor. The Bundeswehr has ordered 80 armored Tiger
helicopters from EADS Eurokopter, but they will be equipped
with the PARS-3 anti-tank missile system, which makes them
less than ideal for the counterinsurgency mission in
Afghanistan. Moreover, the Tiger's delivery has been delayed
an indeterminate amount of time due to problems with the
accompanying radar.

5. (SBU) The Bundeswehr recognizes the problems surrounding
communications, but still lacks a unified system for the
various services. Currently, the Army,s communication
system cannot be integrated with the communication systems of
other military branches. Additionally, conscription may
serve as an growing obstacle to Bundeswehr transformation,
given that conscripted soldiers are not allowed to be
deployed for missions abroad, unless they volunteer to do so.
Although the MOD's official line is that there is "no
problem" squaring the older system of conscription with
Bundeswehr transformation, some Bundeswehr officers openly
argue that moving to an all-volunteer force would give
Germany a much more efficient and effective military

BERLIN 00001471 002.2 OF 002


structure and enable it to deploy units abroad much more
easily, in contrast to the current system of putting together
ad hoc forces to serve on international missions. Moreover,
the new coalition government's pledge to decrease mandatory
service from nine months to just six calls into question
whether a conscripted soldier will be able to perform any
meaningful military tasks during the mandatory service
period.

LOOKING AHEAD

6. (SBU) The financial crisis likely will impact the MOD
budget in the near future. Many experts expect the overall
federal budget, and the defense budget in particular, to be
affected by the current budget deficit of 86 billion euros.
While it remains unclear whether this would be all covered by
spending cuts, the MOD's 31 billion Euro budget -- Germany's
third largest budget item -- is a likely to be trimmed or at
least face a stagnant future. Germany already spends just
1.3 percent of its GDP on defense, far below the NATO goal of
2 percent. The unlikelihood of budget increases may cause
the new defense minister to view the Bundeswehr,s current
configuration of manpower and equipment as unsustainable,
forcing a significant trimming of the military,s structure,
according to SWP analyst Lange. Moreover, the MOD already
has allocated the procurement budget until 2015 on large
ticket items like the Puma infantry fighting vehicle, the
Boxer armored transport vehicle, and the A400M, limiting
future discretion in procurement. On top of that, Lange
reports that the Bundeswehr remains behind schedule in its
attempt to reduce its civilian work force to 75,000 employees
by 2010.

7. (SBU) The Bundeswehr still faces bureaucratic
inefficiencies, which have become more apparent following the
Balkan and Afghan deployments. The Afghanistan experience
especially, according to Von Roeder, has shown that the
Bundeswehr,s distinction among stabilization forces
(70,000), support (147,500) and combat forces (35,000) is no
longer applicable. This argument likely will continue to
have traction with the new government as the CDU/CSU already
identifies the combat-support distinction as a potentially
outdated concept. Former CDU/CSU Defense Policy Spokesman
Bernd Siebert expects the new government to reassess which
capabilities/services the Bundeswehr actually needs and
whether some services could be provided in a better way by
other government agencies or "non-state partners."
MURPHY

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