In 2011, several major structural changes to the German
defense began; inter alia the military service was replaced
by a voluntary basic education. The changes in the German
defense are the largest since 1990, when Germany reunited
and two defense forces became one.
In 1989, the largest concentration of combat forces in
the world was in the two German states. During the period
1955–89, West Germany's (BRD) defense force was integrated
into NATO and East Germany's (GDR) into the Warsaw Pact. The
GDR's defense, the National People's Army (NVA), consisted
of a standing force of 170,000 men, with a total
mobilization of 390,000 men. In addition, there were 40,000
men in border protection troops and a militia of 500,000
The Soviet Army had 400,000 men with its most modern
defense equipment stationed in the GDR. West Germany's
defense consisted of a standing force of 470,000 men,
including 200,000 conscripts, totaling 1,350,000 in
mobilization. The border protection troops included 20,000
men. NATO had 400,000 men (mainly American but also major
British, French, Dutch and Belgian allies) stationed in the
BRD for an advanced defense against the Warsaw Pact.
The defense of the United Germany has been based since
1990 on continued membership in NATO. In the 1990 agreement
between the four victorious forces in World War II and the
two German states, the new joint German defense force was
limited in 1994 to a maximum of 370,000 men standing, of
which 60,000 in the eastern part. The Soviet Union/Russian
Federation pledged to leave Germany by 1994. No NATO allies
would be stationed in eastern Germany. Under the CFE
Agreement 1990 (revised 1996), Germany's military force is
limited to a maximum of 345,000 men.
A discussion was held in 2003 within the EU on a common
European defense and security policy in the formulation of
the new EU constitution. Germany, France and others States
stated in the same year that the transatlantic ties are of
strategic importance to NATO and thus to Europe's defense.
Today (2011), greater coordination of NATO's defense efforts
is partly at the expense of national versatility. Examples
include common procurement of materials, coordinated
training and the distribution of defense tasks between
Member States. The issue of a common European defense is
still open in 2011.
The developments in Afghanistan and the conclusions of
the conflict between the Russian Federation and Georgia
(2008) have raised the question of the balance between
traditional, territorial defense and non-territorial
interventions, e.g. in Afghanistan, at its peak. Germany's
four-year defense plan from 2009 with the priority of
strategic means of transport, strategic intelligence
gathering ability, management system and strategic air
defense will be seen in this context.
As noted by Digopaul, Germany participates in all NATO activities in Germany
and is a member of the European Corps (Strasbourg), the
German-Dutch Corps (Münster) and the North-East Corps
(Szczecin). Management bodies and all-round allied resources
are coordinated. Of the NATO states, the United States has
53,000 men in Germany, of whom the army has 38,000 and the
Air Force 17,000 men. The UK has 18,000 men in Germany,
mainly army, France has 2,800 men and Canada has 270 men.
Germany has staff in France and Poland as well as
educational resources in the USA.
Germany's defense amounted to 251,000 men in 2011 and the
reserves to 40,000 men. In connection with the cessation of
military service on 1 July 2011, an initial reduction of
40,000 men was implemented.
The combat forces are organized in an army of 105,000 men
with 5 division staffs and 12 brigades, one of which is an
airborne and one for air landing, and has 768 tanks and 190
combat helicopters. The navy comprises 19,000 men with 4
submarines, 20 fighters/frigates, 10 patrol boats and a
naval aircraft with sea surveillance tasks.
The Air Force comprises 44,500 men with approximately 310
fighter aircraft and a well-developed air defense with the
Patriot and Roland robots. The equipment is modern by NATO
standard. Defense costs decreased in 1985–2009 from 3.2% to
1.4% of GDP.
Germany participates in a number of UN peacekeeping
efforts. Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR), Serbia and
Montenegro (KFOR), Afghanistan (ISAF), Lebanon (UNIFIL) and
Uzbekistan (ISAF). It also participates with maritime forces
in the international operation in the waters outside the
Horn of Africa (EUNAVFOR).
Germany's defense overview
Germany is a member of NATO. General military duty was
abolished with effect from 1 July 2011. The total force for
Germany's armed forces is 179,400 active personnel, with a
reserve of 28,250 personnel (2018, IISS).
Of foreign forces stationed in Germany, France had 2,000
personnel, the United Kingdom 3750 personnel and the United
States 37,950 personnel.
The army has a personnel force of 61,700 active
personnel, and a reserve of 6500 personnel. Heavier
materials include 236 tanks of a Leopard 2, 578 armored
vehicles, and 1,246 armored personnel. In addition, 185
helicopters, including 67 combat helicopters of the EC665
Tiger type, and 128 light and medium- heavy drones.
The Air Force has a workforce of 27,600 active personnel,
and a reserve of 1,200 personnel. Materials include 129
fighters central Eurofighter Typhoon, 68 fighter of a
Tornado IDS, 20 match and EK aircraft (Tornado ECR), four
tanker category A310 met, 53 transport aircraft, 109
trainers, 88 helicopters and eight heavy drones.
The Navy has a workforce of 15,900 active personnel, and
a reserve of 3300 personnel. The fleet includes six tactical
submarines, seven fighters, seven frigates, eight patrol
vessels, 24 minesweepers, one landings vessel and 22
logistics and auxiliary vessels. In addition, eight Orion
patrol and anti-submarine aircraft, two light transport
aircraft, 22 Lynx anti-submarine helicopters and 21 Sea King
In 2018, Germany participated in NATO operations in
Afghanistan (Operation Resolute Support) with 130
personnel, in Estonia (Baltic Air Policing) with
six fighter jets, in the Mediterranean (SNMG2) with a
frigate and in Serbia (KFOR) with a personnel force of 440.
In addition, Germany participated in UN operations in
Libya (UNISMIL) with two observers, Lebanon (UNIFIL) with
144 personnel and a frigate, in Mali (MINUSMA) with 430
personnel, in Sudan (UNAMID) with seven personnel, in South
Sudan (UNMISS) with three personnel and 11 observers, and in
Western Sahara (MINURSO) with three observers.
In addition, Germany had 300 personnel and four fighter
jets in Jordan (Operation Inherent Resolve), and
two transport aircraft in Niger (Barkhane).