The German Army will have a new military service, in a reduced and voluntary format called “Defense of the Fatherland” and with the objective of reinforcing the Armed Forces in the face of specific crises, natural and environmental catastrophes.
The service provides for a seven-month military training period after which members spend six years as reservists, Defense Minister Annegret Kram-Karrenbauer announced today.
“The term ‘defense of the homeland’ should be understood in the broad sense, like the word ‘homeland’,” said the minister, stressing that the terms do not have “nationalist connotations”.
“(The designations) are expressed in an integrated army, in a democratic society like the German one,” he added.
The objective of this voluntary service, which provides for the “incorporation of a thousand young people” in the first phase, is “complementary” to the Armed Forces and applies to predefined situations and always in the interior of the country, excluding participation in international missions.
The service also has the motto “One year for Germany” and the instruction will be divided into two parts: one in person and the other at a distance so that it is compatible with studies or work activities.
For the government, the “idea” is that interested parties join “in a year that works as a bridge” between the end of academic training and working life.
In Germany, compulsory military service was suspended on July 1, 2011, following a decision by the second government led by Angela Merkel and after a wide-ranging internal debate among conservatives.
The change to the constitution of a professional army was controversial because until 2011 the German Armed Forces were considered to have to be integrated into society and represent all social classes.
Those who opposed the suspension argued that the professional army was at risk because it could attract extreme right-wing radicals or firearms fanatics.
The reform led to a gradual reduction of the contingent, at the time with 240 thousand staff, to 170 thousand today, a number that has been gradually decreasing over the last few years.
Source: with Agencies