German military is plagued by various blunders these days, and there is one more – it emerged that only half of potential recruits are suitable for service, Bild revealed. Others are reportedly unfit or have no German passport.
Bad news about the imperfect state of the Bundeswehr are coming regularly, but this one seems to be even worse, according to Bild am Sonntag tabloid. Citing internal army papers, outlet writes that only half of the 760,000-strong pool of potential recruits is eligible to serve.
The rest of young candidates have no German citizenship, fail to meet minimum fitness standards or reject the idea of military service at all. Meanwhile, the army themselves refused to acknowledge the problem, telling Bild: “We are on the right path.”
The reality, however, looks murky as around 25,000 army jobs are up for grabs due to the lack of available personnel. In addition, every fifth civilian position in the Bundeswehr remains vacant.
IT professionals or doctors are most wanted in the Bundeswehr, but there is a shortage of other specialists such as combat swimmers. That said, shortage of personnel is so dire that the military are recruiting almost everyone who meets their minimum criteria.
Bild cited a strategy paper by Boston Consulting Group compiled for Defense Ministry, which said that only one in four applicants was hired in 2015. Two years later, every second applicant was deemed robust enough to serve.
The Bundeswehr has significantly reduced its manpower since the Cold War, especially after conscription was abolished in 2011. Since that time, the Defense Ministry has been struggling to fill the army as German citizens were reluctant to join the army of their own free will.
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Shortage of available Germans prompted Berlin’s military strategists to look at foreigners. The Bundeswehr is now considering recruitment of EU nationals for certain posts as an option – and the unconventional idea seems workable for some German politicians.
An estimated 530,000 EU citizens currently live in Germany, and they could make up a sizeable recruitment pool for the German Army. However, the plan was met with little praise by other EU nations, particularly in Eastern Europe.
Bulgaria said it was concerned with the prospect of its educated youth being lured into joining the Bundeswehr, while Poland’s Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz also criticized Berlin’s plans by saying that any military service is traditionally “closely related to nationality.”
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That aside, Bundeswehr is also struggling with major problems regarding its weaponry. In November of 2018, the military admitted that out of nearly 100 pieces of equipment delivered to it that year, only 38 were fully operational.
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