Right-wing extremist activities in the Bundeswehr trigger fear and terror. The Ministry of Defense promises committed and decisive action – also through political education. However, the Ministry hardly spends any money on this.
Von Said Rezek Tuesday, 06/28/2022, 3:00 p.m|last updated: Tuesday, 06/28/2022, 9:05 am Reading time: 3 minutes |
Since right-wing extremist activities in the Bundeswehr became known, the Ministry of Defense has promised more commitment and determination. “The Bundeswehr does not want any extremists in its ranks,” says the Bundeswehr website. And that is why she is also active in preventive measures: “With political education, for example,” she opposes extremist ideas. Because every soldier commits himself to the Basic Law by oath, “should not just be a uniform wearer, but a responsible, well-informed citizen”. So much for the announcement.
If you look for the expenses for appropriate measures, you will not find anything on the net. Due to the low total, the expenses for political education are summarized under “Other”. Only an inquiry to the ministry brings light into the darkness. As a ministry spokeswoman told MiGAZIN, around 3 million euros were spent on political education in 2021 (2020: 2.7 million).
In view of the total budget of almost 47 billion euros, this corresponds to 0.006383 percent of all expenditure. With 183,427 soldiers, the Bundeswehr is investing a little more than 16 euros per soldier and year. Not a single cent of the approved 100 billion special fund should flow into the political education of German soldiers, but serve “to finance important equipment projects”, as the ministry spokeswoman announced.
Political education causes “very little expenditure”
In the Bundeswehr, political education is “a holistic topic that is anchored in daily service operations” and covers “all areas”. Budget funds are “not required for most of the measures,” the ministry continued. In addition, “numerous measures within the Bundeswehr’s own properties are carried out by their own staff, which also causes no or only very little expenditure.”
However, this counter-extremism strategy is not working. Between 2016 and September 2021, 225 extremist soldiers were released, 60 in the first nine months of last year alone. The vast majority are assigned to right-wing extremism. The cases range from planned terrorist attacks by former Bundeswehr soldiers to theft of weapons and ammunition from the military stock to excesses within the troops with connections to right-wing extremist networks.
Strong increase in suspected right-wing extremist cases
In response, the former Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer presented a catalog of measures with 60 points in 2020, including the dissolution of a KSK unit due to the accumulation of right-wing extremist activity, which has since been taken off the table again, but shows the extent and dimension of the problem.
This is also shown by the increasing number of suspected right-wing extremist cases within the Bundeswehr: in 2018 there were a total of 270, in 2019 already 363, in 2020 already 843 and in 2021 finally 1,242. This corresponds to an increase of 460 percent. Most suspected cases are classified as right-wing extremists. The actual numbers are probably higher because the information is bright field.
concern for democracy
The President of Thuringia’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Stephan Kramer, commented on the situation as follows: “When I look at the developments over the past five years, I have to admit that I have serious concerns about our democracy”.
In the coalition agreement, the SPD, Greens and FDP have agreed on “measures for political education” in the Bundeswehr. They are to be “contemporarily designed and expanded”. This is not yet evident in the 2022 budget. Political education of the troops is further summarized under “Miscellaneous”. (sr / me)