To achieve equality… Proposal for mandatory conscription of women in the German Army

An official proposal has been made by the German Chief of Staff Carsten Breuer to involve women in compulsory military service ‘to achieve equality’.

In 2011, Germany effectively abolished compulsory military service, although the country’s law still allows for conscription in times of war or other crises.

The war in Ukraine has renewed focus on shortcomings in the German army and sparked discussions about reintroducing compulsory military service.

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius presented plans for a new military service model in June aimed at helping to fill the depleted ranks of the army.

In statements to the German media group ‘ARD’ published on Thursday, Carsten Breuer, the army’s top officer, pointed out that current conscription, which is suspended, applies only to men according to the Basic Law, but he said ‘equality must be established’.

However, establishing equal rights in this case requires a similar political and social discussion, according to Breuer.

Defense Minister Pistorius plans to introduce mandatory registration, where young people must express their readiness and ability to perform military service. Young women can do so voluntarily.

The minister described the idea as ‘selective military service’, aimed at enabling the army to call up ‘the most suitable, most appropriate, and most motivated’ for training.

The new model is expected to consist of six months of basic military service with an option for additional voluntary military service of up to 17 months.

Breuer expressed support for Pistorius’s new conscription model, saying that from a military perspective, there is a need to build capabilities, especially in relation to NATO planning.

He pointed out that Germany is central to the Western defense alliance and that the country needs more than 400,000 temporary and professional soldiers and reserves.

To meet this demand, there is a need for approximately 100,000 additional reserve soldiers, which can initially be met through the new model, according to Breuer. However, he emphasized that compulsory elements will remain necessary.”

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