Deutsche Marine - German Navy
Germany faces the challenge of being able to counter both conventional and asymmetric threats to security from the sea. The maritime capabilities of the Bundeswehr necessary to meet this challenge are provided by the Navy. But as of 2013 the number of professional and regular soldiers was planned to shrink by the reform forces by 14 percent to 12,500, 700 posts were vacant. In some areas up to 80 percent of the necessary troops were lacking.
While previously, reliable conscripts were delegated to the Navy, in the new centers for recruitment there is not a "sufficiently strong sense of Marine consciousness". Most would rather be recruited for service for other armed forces. It remains to be seen also if the current strategy of Von der Leyen’s for boosting enrolment into the military services will work: the navy, Der Spiegel reported in August 2014, was 1,400 short of personnel.
In the course of transformation of the Bundeswehr, the Navy is also evolving into an expeditionary force. The Navy is thus becoming positioned to conduct sustained operations also on a multinational scale and under threat off foreign shores. This is the Navy’s contribution to the containment of crises and conflicts where they arise and, if called for politically, their management. The special legal status of the high seas stands the Navy in good stead in that the sea can be used as a base for operations, with all forces interacting to deliver a desired effect in countries of deployment.
German maritime forces can pre-station unhindered in distant regions at an early stage, thus flanking diplomatic efforts. Besides their ability to conduct military operations at sea, they can make an effective contribution to operations ashore. They can also enforce embargo measures from the sea and support humanitarian relief and evacuation operations. Their considerable endurance in the mission area, their robustness and their operational versatility make the German Navy a vital component of multinational operations. Joint operations ashore can also be commanded from the sea.
About 90 percent of total world trade, almost 95 percent of the trade of the European Union and almost 70 percent of Germany's imports and exports are carried by sea. The German maritime industry employs around 400,000 people, the value added in this sector amounts to about 80 billion euros. After Greece and Japan, the Federal Republic is the third largest shipping nation in the world.
Given Germany’s maritime dependency, it is additionally vital to make adequate provisions for Germany’s security. A special responsibility falls to the Navy to protect the coastal waters and sea lines of communication of Germany and its allies. This means having capabilities for sea surveillance as well as for countering sea mines, submarines and terrorist threats to the maritime space, including support of Federal and Land police forces.
One of the German Navy’s main attributes is its ability to integrate rapidly into multinational task forces. Almost all of its forces are assigned to NATO. The Navy continued to contribute on a regular basis to all four NATO Standing Maritime Groups, thus ensuring that Germany is generally represented in the NATO Response Force at all times. The German Navy pledged naval forces of task force strength to the European Union, plus the Glücksburg Maritime Headquarters as the Maritime Component Command for given joint operations. This also includes setting up a maritime contribution to the EU battlegroups.
Deutsche Marine - Organization
The Fleet Command, in its function as a higher command authority, is a force provider as well as a headquarters and lead command. As a force provider it is responsible for ensuring that operational forces are available. As a competent headquarters it has an important function in the further evolution of naval and naval air forces, this also in cooperation with external partners.
The fleet is divided into two flotillas and two naval air wings. The forces of the boat flotillas have been combined as Flotilla 1 in Kiel. This step has been taken not just to streamline command structures but first and foremost to bring expertise in conducting operations in coastal waters together under one roof. ACentre of Excellence for Operations in Confined and Shallow Waters (COE CSW) has, moreover, been established with Flotilla 1. Here, new concepts and procedures are to be developed and tested together with the other services and international participants. NATO allies will also be invited to contribute to the Centre of Excellence, thus strengthening Germany’s role in the Alliance. With the reduction of the number of frigate squadrons from four to two in January 2006 and the establishment of a permanently available operational headquarters, the Destroyer Flotilla has been reorganised to form Flotilla 2.
The German Navy has set up a battalion of naval protection forces to protect own units in confined waters and in port. It is streamlining its structures and improving its operational and command and control capabilities by establishing rapidly available, embarkable operational headquarters. The Naval Office is responsible for course-based training, armaments, equipment and naval logistics. Subordinate to the Naval Office are the Navy schools, the five base commands, the Naval Command and Control Systems Command, and the Naval Service Test Command.
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