Soldier in camouflage look on during an exercise of the Mountain Brigade 23 in Bischofswiesen, Germany, 03 August 2023. EPA-EFE/ANNA SZILAGYI


Germany needs the draft back, says army boss


Germany should reintroduce conscription to strengthen its military, says the president of the German Armed Forces Association.

It is “necessary to improve personnel recruitment for the Bundeswehr” (German army), says Colonel André Wüstner.

Several German states ban advertising military careers in schools, which should be reversed, he says.

Schools should be allowed to promote joining the Bundeswehr, the police, or disaster relief as future options for students.

“What’s wrong with serving our country and defending our peace and freedom?” he asks.

Germany “will have to revisit concepts of a year of service or conscription” if the government fails to enhance the attractions of service in the Bundeswehr.

His comments echo others last week by Germany’s defence minister Boris Pistorius.

Germany needs to “prepare for war”, while the Bundeswehr suffers the results of decades of neglect and needs a “mentality shift”, said Pistorius.

Germany is “in the most dangerous phase since the end of the Cold War,” Wüstner told Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Europe’s weakness, the Bundeswehr’s overextension, and imbalances in the United States could motivate adversaries to “attack as early as tomorrow”.

Putin “is ramping up his war economy with the support of other autocracies and hesitates at nothing”, said Wüstner.

The ministry of education needs a “paradigm shift”, while both Germany’s federal and state governments need to prepare better for threat scenarios like attacks on critical infrastructure, water and power supply, and terrorist attacks, he says.