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Germany Military
 
 
 

MILITARY IN GERMANY

General

Germany's military, the Bundeswehr, is a defence force with Heer (Army), Marine (Navy), Luftwaffe (Air Force), Zentraler Sanitätsdienst (Central Medical Services) and Streitkräftebasis (Joint Support Service) branches. In peacetime, the Bundeswehr is commanded by the Minister of Defence. If Germany went to war, which according to the constitution is allowed only for defensive purposes, the Chancellor would become commander in chief of the Bundeswehr.

Military Service is compulsory for men at the age of 18, and conscripts serve nine-month tours of duty. Conscientious objectors may instead opt for an equal length of Zivildienst (roughly translated as civilian service), or a six year commitment to (voluntary) emergency services like a fire department, the Red Cross or the THW.

The Bundeswehr in general is still among the world's most technologically advanced and best-supplied militaries, as befits Germany's overall economic prosperity and infrastructure. Its budget is, however, steadily shrinking and among the lowest military budgets in NATO in terms of share of GDP. In 2003, military spending constituted 1.5% of the country's GDP.

As of October 2006, the German military had almost 9,000 troops stationed in foreign countries as part of various international peacekeeping forces, including 1,180 troops stationed in Bosnia-Herzegovina; 2,844 Bundeswehr soldiers in Kosovo; 750 soldiers stationed as a part of EUFOR in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and 2,800 German troops in the NATO-led ISAF force in Afghanistan. As of February 2007, Germany had about 3,000 ISAF troops in Afghanistan, the third largest contingent after the United States (14,000) and the United Kingdom (5,200).

Overview

Military branches:
Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr): Army (Heer), Navy (Deutsche Marine, includes naval air arm), Air Force (Luftwaffe), Joint Service Support Command (Streitkraeftebasis), Central Medical Service (Zentraler Sanitaetsdienst) (2006)

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age (conscripts serve a 9-month tour of compulsory military service) (2004)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 18,917,537
females age 18-49: 17,913,113 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 15,258,931
females age 18-49: 14,443,412 (2005 est.)

Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 497,048
females age 18-49: 470,537 (2005 est.)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.5% (2005 est.)

 

 
 


 



 

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