German Committee Recommends Cutbacks in Defense Spending

A Eurocopter Tiger UHT attack helicopter, June 9, 2010.

From Judy Dempsey, the New York Times:  As major European countries seek to cut military forces in response to the economic slowdown and pressure from finance officials to rein in spending, the Defense Ministry of Germany has been advised to cut its staff by half , close several army bases and slim the armed forces from 250,000 to 180,000.

The recommendations were announced Sunday by Frank-Jürgen Weise, the head of a special cross-party commission charged with restructuring Germany’s military. …

The government of Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that it intended to save as much as €80 billion, or $111 billion, by 2013. The Defense Ministry, which currently spends about €30 billion a year, is supposed to contribute €9.3 billion over the next three years toward that goal. …

To achieve savings on military equipment, [Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zuGuttenberg has been looking at procurement projects like the Tiger helicopter manufactured by EADS and the NH90 transport helicopter. Germany has complained about delays and quality on both of those.

Germany is also considering whether it will reduce the number of A400M military transport aircraft, a joint enterprise with other European countries.  (photo: Getty)

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