Germany - Armed forces



The unification of Germany in 1991 brought the amalgamation of the People's Army of the German Democratic Republic and the Bundeswehr of the Federal Republic—on the Bundeswehr's terms, modified by political guidance. Essentially, West Germany abolished the East German ministry of defense and officer corps, but kept much of the GDR's Russian equipment and a few of its career officers and noncommissioned specialists. The Bundeswehr occupied East German military installations and found many of them beyond repair for training and suitable housing. The Bundeswehr moved eastward with all deliberate speed, especially since six Russian divisions and a tactical air force still remained in German installations. (With dependents these dispossessed Russians numbered almost 500,000.) Meanwhile, Germany's NATO allies still maintained an integrated ground and air field force of almost 250,000 troops in western Germany, although this force shrank with the departure of the Canadian and Belgian forces and the reduction of the American and British contingents in the 1990s.

The German active armed forces in 2002 numbered 332,800, supported by 390,300 reserves. Army personnel number 203,200 including 4,600 women. The German army has large amounts of equipment including 2,490 main battle tanks. The Germans have abundant air defense weapons, helicopters, engineering equipment, and sophisticated antitank weapons.

The navy of 25,500 include 3,700 naval aviators and 1,000 women. It has 14 submarines, 14 major surface combat vessels, 25 patrol and coast combatants, and 23 mine warfare ships.

The German air force numbered 67,300 personnel in 2002, including 1,500 women. It is structured into the Air Force Command and Transport command. Equipment for the air force included 446 combat aircraft.

In 2002 Germany spent $38.8 billion for defense, or 1.4% of GDP. It takes an active role in peacekeeping and UN missions abroad. Germany has troops in France and Poland, and trains with the United States military.

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