Monday, May 08, 2017

Train the Way You Fight Because You'll Fight the Way You Train

Remember that German soldier with so much time on his hands that he could masquerade as a non-Arabic speaking refugee in order to carry out a terror attack? That was just the tip of the Gott im Himmel moment.

Gott im Himmel:

The bizarre case of a racist soldier allegedly plotting an attack while posing as a Syrian refugee and several abuse scandals have sparked a war of words between Germany's defence minister and the military.

It is a dangerous political battle for Ursula von der Leyen, the first woman in charge of the Bundeswehr, who is often mentioned as a potential successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The mother-of-seven has sternly criticised military "attitude and leadership problems", highlighted by the case of the soldier and by recent sexual abuse and hazing scandals.

This in turn has made her a target of chastened rank-and-file soldiers who charge she is tarring them all while dodging personal responsibility after more than three years on the job.

I'm sure that Germans opposed to Germany spending 2% of their GDP on defense to protect the West against Russians and jihadis will use this incident to say the German military can't be trusted with weapons.

And this doesn't help either:

The head of Germany's armed forces has called for an inspection of all army barracks after investigators discovered Nazi-era military memorabilia in a garrison, broadening a scandal about right-wing extremism among soldiers.

By all means root out right-wing extremism there. Looking the other way can have bad consequences as we learned (we did learn, right?) at Fort Hood.

But what this really says is that the German military should have the money to put their army into the field to train up to combat standards until they are too focused on conventional combat against actual enemies and too tired to dabble in terrorism and Nazi fantasies in their free time.

Rather than argue for that, Minister von der Leyen peddles excuses for why criminally inadequate defense spending is okey dokey by her.

Instead of having a military that can fight, von de Leyen has given Germany an army that can't take the field even to train and can't fight a real war, but can plot against civilians in their ample free time.

Heckuva job Ursula!

And then we get to the really horrifying part: van de Leyen is "often mentioned as a potential successor" to Merkel? Really?

Germany just doesn't value defense. America has a secretary of defense who is a former general and combat veteran whose nickname is "Mad Dog." This is an appointment that speaks to taking defense seriously.

Germany's current minister of defense was a medical doctor who previously served as the Minister of Family Affairs and Youth and the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs. Well.

No offense to Minister von der Leyen, but she's a Fluffy Kitten.

This difference in defense leadership demonstrates the contrast between America and Germany about the priority of national defense. We care about it and the Germans don't.

So she's going to bring her skill sets that make the German army the scourge of civilian foes to the highest office of the land?

Good Lord, von der Leyen is seriously being considered for the chancellorship? What has she done to earn that? Have the Germans lost their minds?

I don't mean to pick on von der Leyen in particular, but she seems typical of European defense ministers who don't see their jobs as particularly important, viewing them as speed bumps on the way to a real job like minister of human services.

UPDATE: The German defense minister will work to purge the military of Nazis.  That's good. Sure, I hate Chicago Nazis as much as the next guy. But German Nazis are a bigger problem, all things considered.

But actually equipping and  training the German military to fight the Russians would do a lot of good to fill the void that apparently allows troops to be radicalized that way.

On the surface, this is a good thing:

The German Army is in line for an upgrade of its tanks, based on the expectation that future conflicts will rely heavily on ground warfare with armored vehicles.

All told, the Bundeswehr stands to get 104 used Leopard 2 battle tanks out of storage that manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann will upgrade under a contract with the German Defence Ministry from the A4 configuration to the newest A7V standard.

Germany will field 328 tanks when that is done. Which is a bit more than a single American tank division had in the Cold War.

Although it isn't clear to me if this is to increase the number of tank brigades or is to provide for war loss replacements. Both are necessary these days.

And if Germany's already inadequate funding for equipment, maintenance, and training continues, will more tanks in the force just mean already inadequate support is spread even more thinly?

The Germans need to do a lot of things that cost money to fix what ails their military.