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The Politics of German Defence and Security

The Politics of German Defence and Security: Policy Leadership and Military Reform in the post-Cold War Era

Tom Dyson
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 230
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qd46n
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  • Book Info
    The Politics of German Defence and Security
    Book Description:

    The post-Cold War era has witnessed a dramatic transformation in the German political consensus about the legitimacy of the use of force. However, in comparison with its EU and NATO partners, Germany has been reticent to transform its military to meet the challenges of the contemporary security environment. Until 2003 territorial defence rather than crisis-management remained the armed forces' core role and the Bundeswehr continues to retain conscription. The book argues that 'strategic culture' provides only a partial explanation of German military reform. It demonstrates how domestic material factors were of crucial importance in shaping the pace and outcome of reform, despite the impact of 'international structure' and adaptational pressures from the EU and NATO. The domestic politics of base closures, ramifications for social policy, financial restrictions consequent upon German unification and commitment to EMU's Stability and Growth Pact were critical in determining the outcome of reform. The study also draws out the important role of policy leaders in the political management of reform as entrepreneurs, brokers or veto players, shifting the focus in German leadership studies away from a preoccupation with the Chancellor to the role of ministerial and administrative leadership within the core executive. Finally, the book contributes to our understanding of the Europeanization of the German political system, arguing that policy leaders played a key role in 'uploading' and 'downloading' processes to and from the EU and that Defence Ministers used 'Atlanticization' and 'Europeanization' in the interests of their domestic political agendas.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-023-4
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. viii-ix)
  4. Figures and Tables
    (pp. x-x)
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  6. Chapter 1 Explaining the Paradox of German Defence Policy: 1990–2005
    (pp. 1-17)

    The story ofBundeswehr(German Armed Forces) reform since reunification in 1990 is one of striking paradox. The post–Cold War era has witnessed a dramatic shift in the domestic political consensus about the legitimacy of the use of force. Germany participated in UN, EU, and NATO-led peacekeeping and peace—enforcement operations from Somalia and Bosnia to Kosovo, Macedonia, and Afghanistan. However, while Germany’s European partners, notably France and Great Britain, have responded with far-reaching armed forces reforms, allowing more effective participation in crisismanagement operations, the Bundeswehr has undergone conservative adaptation.¹ Reforms passed by Defence Ministers Volker Rühe (1992–98)...

  7. Chapter 2 The Bundeswehr in its Historical and Structural Context: The Scope for Policy Leadership
    (pp. 18-49)

    This chapter seeks to give more specificity to explanations of policy leadership in military reform by focusing on the domestic parameters of policy leadership in the Bundeswehr, analyzing its distinctive characteristics as a ‘policy subsystem’, and its interactions with related policy subsystems and the wider macropolitical system in which it is nested.¹ The chapter emphasises how the institutional organisation of the military, and defence and security policy, foreign policy, and budgetary policy, the relationship to NATO and to the European Union, determines the scope for, and nature of, policy leadership in Bundeswehr reform.

    The Bundeswehr can be characterised as a...

  8. Chapter 3 Policy Leadership and Bundeswehr Reform during the Kohl Chancellorships: The Art of Varying and Sequencing Roles
    (pp. 50-86)

    During the first Cold-War phase of the Kohl Chancellorship (1982–90) Bundeswehr reform was a case of ‘first-order’ change.¹ It focused on the adaptation of existing policy instruments (for instance, the length of conscription) rather than the creation of new instruments or the change of policy objectives (‘second-order’ and ‘third-order’ change respectively). The initial post–Cold War phase (1990–98) was characterised by the elevation of the Bundeswehr to an issue of ‘second-order’ change (the replacement of conscription by a volunteer army) and even of ‘third-order’ change to its basic role (from territorial and collective defence to crisis management).This shift...

  9. Chapter 4 Policy Leadership on Bundeswehr Reform during the First Schröder Chancellorship 1998–2002: Managing ‘Government by Commission’
    (pp. 87-118)

    The paradox of policy leadership on Bundeswehr reform during the first Schröder chancellorship derived from the combination of new opportunities for reform with the lack of a powerful political sponsor. This chapter focuses on the questions of why a powerful sponsor did not emerge and the nature of the leadership provided by Rudolf Scharping as Federal Defence Minister. As in the case of Rühe, it illustrates the triumph of domestic politics over international opportunities.

    The international opportunities took the form of the Anglo-French Saint Malo initiative to push for ESDP, the Kosovo War of 1999, and new EU and NATO...

  10. Chapter 5 Bundeswehr Reform during the Second Schröder Chancellorship 2002–05: The Art of Combining Leadership Roles
    (pp. 119-147)

    Following Scharping’s resignation in July 2002, Peter Struck was appointed defence minister to bring stability to a policy sector and ministry perceived to be in disarray. He was viewed by Schröder and the SPD as a ‘loyal, hard, disciplined heavyweight’ who would not challenge Schröder’s position as chancellor.¹ Having previously acted as chair of the parliamentary party, he had well-developed consensus-building skills, could be trusted to adhere to budget consolidation, and was a long-standing supporter of conscription.² Struck brought a major asset to the ministry: he was close to the chancellor and enjoyed his support. In this respect, like Rühe,...

  11. Chapter 6 Military Reform, NATO, and the European Security and Defence Policy: Between Atlanticisation and Europeanisation
    (pp. 148-182)

    The previous chapter demonstrated how Europeanisation and Atlanticisation were mediated and controlled by Peter Struck, who was able to ‘ring fence’ ESDP within Atlanticisation by carefully controlling the ideational climate within the Defence Ministry and using the VPR as an opportunity for determining the institutional bedrock of German defence and security policy. This involved careful management of policy learning within the Bundeswehr policy subsystem and Defence Ministry, in particular and, at the domestic macropolitical level, brokerage between the ‘freedom’ and ‘peace’ coalitions. Struck’s leadership role of brokerage was facilitated by the ramifications of the pursuit of an independent EU military...

  12. Chapter 7 A Laggard in Military Reform: The Arts of Policy Leadership and the Triumph of Domestic Constraints over International Opportunity
    (pp. 183-196)

    At first glance the Bundeswehr would appear to have undergone significant structural transformation in the period 1990–2005. By the end of the second Red/Green coalition in September 2005, it had been streamlined form a post unification force comprising 370,000 troops and 170,000 conscripts, to 252,500 troops with 50,000 conscripts. However, when German military reform is compared with the record of her closest EU and NATO partners in defence reform, the reality is one of gradual and partial adaptation.

    Both France and Britain recognised the changing nature of the international security environment in the mid-late 1990s—the diminishing threat to...

  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 197-209)
  14. Index
    (pp. 210-216)