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Heer - German Army

The German armed forces started a process of transformation in 2011 in order to better prepare for possible future challenges. This process is known as “Army 2011,” marking the year when it was initiated. It was intended that a reduction in numbers should not lead to a reduction in capabilities and combat power; on the contrary, the new, leaner structure was aimed at improving the combat effectiveness of the brigade level, which was to become the core element in future deployments.

The Army is the core of the land forces and the mainstay of land operations as well as operations conducted by airmobile and air mechanised forces. The Army is geared to meeting future operational challenges, thinks and acts jointly, and, within combined structures with allied nations, is a linchpin in the multinational cooperation of the Armed Forces.

More than before, the Army’s capabilities are being tailored to conflict prevention and crisis management, including the fight against international terrorism, as part of multinational operations. For this the Army provides response forces capable of rapid, robust reaction and network-enabled operations for missions involving high-intensity conflicts, as well as for operations of special and specialised forces.

A modular and highly flexible system of stabilisation forces is available at the same time for deployments on medium- and low-intensity operations. Such operations determine the Army’s capabilities and structures, and they likewise determine equipment planning, leadership, education and training. Their warfighting capability is still the common basis for all the force categories. The Army’s future command and control information system will lay the technological basis for a comprehensive integration of command and control, communications and information in the context of network-enabled operations.

The elements of ground-based and airborne reconnaissance, as well as intelligence collection by field intelligence forces, are to be organically combined in the mixed reconnaissance units of the army reconnaissance branch and will be deployed with the latest scout cars, high-performance radar equipment and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The CH-53 medium transport helicopter and the future NH-90 light transport helicopter will ensure the Army’s tactical and operational air deployability and air manoeuvre capability. With the introduction of the TIGER combat support helicopter into service, the Army will greatly improve its capability to conduct air assault operations. The PUMA infantry fighting vehicle will meet the fundamental requirements for robustness, mobility and protection.

Modular equipment of the Army, based on the concept of families of vehicles, will decisively improve the sustainability and tactical mobility of deployed forces while affording them a greatly enhanced level of protection. Priority will be given to procuring protected command, multi-function and transport vehicles. The range of protected vehicles is being augmented consistently. Altogether, this will give the Army increased flexibility, responsiveness, mobility and robustness.

This realignment of the Army is resulting in new structures:

  • The Response Forces Division, the Specialised Operations Division and the Airmobile Division can perform command and control tasks on operations, including on a multinational scale.
  • The brigades of the stabilisation forces are under the administrative control of two division headquarters that can also provide command personnel for multinational headquarters during stabilisation operations.
  • The tasks of command and control support and logistic support are being reorganised between the Army and the Joint Support Service.
  • The Reserve structures are being aligned to meet the new tasks.

Below ministerial level, the Army has a two-pillar command structure. The Army Forces Command is responsible for the operational readiness of the army corps, divisions, and brigades. It exercises command and control over all Army divisions, as well as over the German elements in multinational corps headquarters and in the Franco-German Brigade.

The Response Forces Division, consisting of two armoured brigades plus operating forces and command and control and support forces, will have the capability to conduct mainly network-enabled, joint and high-intensity multinational composite land force operations.

The Specialised Operations Division exercises command and control over the Army’s special and specialised forces, which have been organised into the Special Forces Command and two airborne brigades. The operational spectrum of the special forces ranges from obtaining key information, providing wide-area proactive protection of own forces, countering terrorist threats and rescuing hostages held by terrorists, through to carrying out combat missions on enemy territory. Specialised forces play a role in the fight against international terrorism and can be employed for armed evacuation and recovery, for initial entry operations, and for rescue and evacuation missions.

Through its Airmobile Division, the Army has the capability to deploy forces rapidly and over long distances, deliver effects, shift points of main effort quickly, and contribute to joint operations conducted in the depth. Its forces can be employed during operations of both the response forces and stabilisation forces. The Airmobile Division is comprised of the Air Manoeuvre Brigade, three Army Aviation Regiments and the Army Troops Command. On operations the Air Manoeuvre Brigade is reinforced with forces from the three Army Aviation Regiments.

The brigades of the stabilisation forces, which are under the administrative control of the two division headquarters, can be deployed independently as part of low- and medium-intensity, multinational joint military operations. The Army Office elaborates the basis for the organisation, further development, equipping and training of the Army. It is responsible for the Army’s schools and central training facilities.

The German Army was transforming into a Neues Heer, or "New Army." Its transformation was a continuous, adjustment of its security, social, technological and, above all, mental dimensions. The conceptual framework for transforming the German armed forces and Bundeswehr was defined in the "Defense Policy Guidelines," dated 21 May 2003; the "Directive for the Further Development of the Bundeswehr," dated 1 October 2003; and the "Overall Bundeswehr Concept," dated 9 August 2004. In the course of preparing these documents, the "Directive for the Further Development of the German Army" was refined and issued on 5 July 2004, defining the model Neues Heer personnel and equipment. By 2010, the German Army personnel strength was to be reduced by some 30,000 billets to the target of about 104,000 soldiers.

As would the other German armed services, the German Army was divided into three categories of forces: reaction, stabilization and support. The core of the Neues Heer organization was five division headquarters with a total of 12 reaction or stabilization brigades.

  1. One division was purely reaction forces. German Army reaction forces contribute to combat and peace enforcement operations with minimum friendly losses. These forces would be capable of fighting in network-centric multinational operations in high-intensity scenarios as well as perform rescue and evacuation operations at the lower end of the spectrum. German Army reaction forces would be mechanized for largescale and mobile combat operations and characterized by high mobility and robustness. These reaction forces would be supported by precision fires and effects from standoff distances.
  2. Two divisions would consist of purely stabilization forces. These forces must operate successfully against both a predominantly military adversary and asymmetrical insurgency forces, ensuring minimum losses in both cases. Stabilization forces must be able to control limited areas of operations in a situation with escalating danger and fight in combined arms operations at the battalion level for a limited time. In addition, stabilization forces must be able to function in stability and support operations (SASO). To achieve these capabilities, stabilization forces would be supported by graduated precision fires and effects from standoff distances.
  3. The other two of the five divisions in the Neues Heer, the Division Spezielle Operationen (DSO), or Special Operations Division, and the Division Luftbewegliche Operationen (DLO), or Air-Mobility Division, would have a mixture of reaction and stabilization forces.

Given the limited number of forces and the increasingly complex and rapidly changing battlefields of today and tomorrow, the Neues Heer requires the alternating capabilities of the reaction and stabilization forces.

Germany's army command consisted in 2008 of a Germany/Netherlands headquarters corps, a Germany/United States headquarters corps, six divisions (two armored infantry, two mechanized infantry, one air-mobile, and one special operations), one support command (forming), one SIGINT/ELINT brigade, and two logistics brigades.

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Page last modified: 30-06-2021 12:05:59 ZULU