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Germany restructures Bundeswehr

A CIR Fuchs Kampfwert-Steigerung Radio Multiband (KWS RMB) radar reconnaissance vehicle during electronic warfare exercise ‘Vigilant Owl' held in Lithuania at the end of 2023. (Bundeswehr/Stefan Uj)

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius announced in a press conference on 4 April that he had approved the restructuring of the Bundeswehr in response to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022. The restructuring aims to make the Bundeswehr combat ready and optimise it for defending Germany and its NATO allies.

The restructured Bundeswehr will consist of four branches, as well as an operational and a support command.

Pistorius said the new operational command would provide “planning and operational management of the Bundeswehr from a single source, [resulting in] quicker decision making based on a common 360° situational picture”. He noted that the command would provide a single contact for NATO as well as for Germany's federal government and state authorities.

The Cyber and Information Domain Service (Cyber- und Informationsraum: CIR) will join the army, Luftwaffe, and navy as the Bundeswehr's fourth branch. In addition to analysing hybrid threats, CIR provides tactical electronic warfare capabilities on the battlefield, the German Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg) noted. Pistorius cited protection against cyber attacks and explosive devices as examples.

Under the new structure, homeland defence forces will be subordinated to the German Army to prepare for territorial and alliance defence in the land domain.

A Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation will be established in the Luftwaffe to oversee the technical condition of its aircraft, and the Luftfahrtamt der Bundeswehr (Bundeswehr Aviation Office) will be transferred from Germany's BMVg to the air force.

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