German military personnel in the 1990s

by Joseph E. Nation

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In recent years, West German leaders have constructed plans known as Bundeswehr 2000 to modernize and restructure military forces. This paper addresses several aspects of West German military personnel policy and objectives for the 1990s in light of emerging political, economic, and demographic factors. It examines active and reserve categories and the implications of a conventional arms reduction agreement on modernization efforts. Persistent problems include the following: Germany is anticipating a decline in the male youth population, an increase in careerist and cohort expenditures, and a probable decrease in budget growth. Despite the difficulty of accomplishing its personnel goals, Germany's ability to do so is important because it remains the most critical player in NATO's defense strategy. The author concludes that the Bundeswehr may have to compromise its policies in order to meet numerical requirements. Arms control agreements or the eventual reunification of the two Germanys may hold the greatest promise of solving Germany's future manpower dilemmas.

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