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Saturday July 20, 2024

Germany plans revamped military service model

By AFP
June 13, 2024
Soldiers of the German armed forces Bundeswehr attend a swearing-in ceremony for new recruits in front of the Berlin House of Representatives, Abgeordnetenhaus, in Berlin, Germany, May 22, 2024. — Reuters
Soldiers of the German armed forces Bundeswehr attend a swearing-in ceremony for new recruits in front of the Berlin House of Representatives, Abgeordnetenhaus, in Berlin, Germany, May 22, 2024. — Reuters

BERLIN: Germany on Wednesday unveiled plans for a new military service model as the country looks to revamp its depleted armed forces in the wake of Russia´s invasion of Ukraine.

Under the plans, young men will be required to register for potential military service, though it will remain essentially voluntary.

Germany suspended compulsory military service in 2011, but the conflict in Ukraine has reignited the debate around whether young men and women should be required to serve in the army, known as the Bundeswehr.

Presenting the plans on Wednesday, Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said the situation facing the armed forces was “completely different from what it was just a few years ago”. “Russia has now been waging a war against Ukraine for almost two and a half years, in violation of international law,” he said.

“According to all international military experts, it must be assumed that Russia will be in a position to attack a Nato state from 2029.”

Under the plans, all school leavers will be sent a questionnaire asking them about their interest in the army as well as their health and physical abilities, according to a draft document seen by AFP.

All young men will be required to return the questionnaire, while for women it will be voluntary. Based on their answers, a contingent of young men and women will then be invited to a selection process. The strongest candidates will be recruited for an initial six-month stint of military service, with the option of extending for those who are interested.