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Bundeswehr blunders listed

October 6, 2014

A consultants' report commissioned by Germany's defense ministry has confirmed a series of delays and deficiencies in equipping German armed forces. The experts blame the problem on faulty project management.

Von der Leyen zu Truppenbesuch Archiv 14.05.2014 Prizren
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Maurizio Gambarini

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen received confirmation from outside experts on Monday that Germany's Bundeswehr has major problems with procurement of equipment and spare parts.

On Sunday, she had insisted that Germany could still play a part in foreign military missions. Currently, 3,617 soldiers are deployed on 18 missions in 14 countries.

Yasmin Fahimi, the secretary general of the Social Democrats who are partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition, responded to the report on Monday by urging von der Leyen to get a grip on what she called the "chaos in the Bundeswehr."

'Years of delay'

Concluding the three-month-long study, the consultants - auditors KPMG, the engineering group P3 and the legal firm Taylor Wessling - list 140 problems and risks in projects aimed at better equipping the Bundeswehr.

Nine major projects worth 57 billion euros ($72 billion) were running between two-and-a-half and 10 years behind, often resulting in cost overruns amounting to billions of euros.

The projects examined included the military Airbus A400M transporter, the helicopters Tiger and NH90 and the modern Eurofighter jet.

Corporate culture faulted

The consultants conclude that the fault lies in the ministry's leadership culture.

"The management of defense projects requires a corporate culture in which transparency and integrity is lived out," their report said.

In addition, ministerial procurement staff had to set incentives and sanctions when calling for tenders and deal with vendors as legal equals.

The 57-page report calls for reactivation of the Euro Hawk drone to further test its integrated intelligence-gathering system ISIS.

Germany's previous defense minister, Thomas de Maiziere, stopped development of the unmanned aircraft last year because of cost overruns and failure to obtain a license to operate alongside civilian traffic.

ipj/rc (dpa, Reuters, AFP)