“Gewisse Leichen ausm Keller des BMVg nachholen”

“She has to haul certain corpses out of the defense ministry’s cellar” at this stage, said a Leftists party spokesman about Germany’s new defense minister Ursula von der Leyen (C.D.U.). “Including these weapons projects.”

There was an uproar in the Bundestag after the Greens discovered the defense ministry made a 55-million euro payment to MTU in December 2013 without obtaining Bundestag approval or informing defense ministry management. The payment was compensation for a 2011 decision to reduce the German military’s Eurofighter order from 180 to 140 fighter jets. But budget rules require Bundestag approval for every single expenditure >25 million euros. Germany’s new defense minister said she was shocked and, said Spiegel.de, invited all responsible persons in her ministry to a meeting of her predecessor’s so-called Arms Board [Rüstungsboard] on 19 Feb 2014 to discuss the defense department’s biggest procurement projects.

Update on 20 Feb 2014: New defense minister Ursula von der Leyen (C.D.U.) fired Thomas de Maizière’s state secretary Stéphane Beemelmans and her Weapons department head Detlef Selhausen, “both considered key figures in the Euro Hawk drone controversy” said ARD tagesschau.de. She announced plans to fundamentally reform the German military’s entire planning and procurement because costs and schedules for billion-euro projects are not transparent, she said. ARD tagesschau.de said at this stage corruption cannot be ruled out in the defense ministry and in its complex interrelationships with German industry.

Over the next three months, the German military is going to “transilluminate” [durchleuchten] its ~1200 procurement projects, including gathering suggestions for how they can be better accompanied/managed/monitored and controlled/inspected/checked [begleitet und kontrolliert].

Update on 04 Apr 2014: The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that some major defense procurement projects continue despite the new minister’s freeze.

“Although important decisions have been postponed or cast into question for some large arms orders, other major projects are ongoing, such as delivery of the new A400M transport plane (which has a long history of delays and cost overruns) and the new Puma armored tank (in which many initial deficiencies were found).” And, especially, the defense ministry is quietly preparing for a project that will cost billions, called the TLVS, taktisches Luftverteidigungssystem, a new generation of missile defense that will include new missiles, radar equipment, command centers and networking capabilities.

Ten years ago Germany began working with the U.S. and Italy on the new missile defense, called Meads, and has spent about a billion euros on prototypes since then. TLVS project requirements include “360-degree radar and a modular system in which any new components, such as launching platforms or other defense missiles, can be added. The defense batteries should be rapidly transportable by plane to distant theaters.” The defense department is looking at five options for this project, including using Lockheed’s Meads, Raytheon’s Patriots, or combinations of the two. German defense hawks will try to persuade other countries to join in development and deployment, lowering Germany’s costs for both. Vladimir Putin is helping with this by creating interest in missile defense in e.g. Poland and the Netherlands.

(G’VISS ah   LIE chh en   ow! sem   KELLAH   dess   BOON dess min iss TARE ee oom   fir   fair TIED ee goong   NAW chh hole en.)

Die Munitionen sind daran schuld.

Blame the bullets.

Problems with the Bundeswehr’s standard assault rifle, the Heckler & Koch G36, occurred during fighting in Afghanistan. Its accuracy could deviate by up to half a meter during sustained firing because the plastic-seated barrel heated up; this was confirmed by testing at the military’s Wehrtechnische Dienststelle [“military technology service center”] not long after troops reported the first problems in 2011. Germany’s defense minister at the time, Thomas de Maizière (C.D.U.), was criticized for not putting a moratorium on new orders for the G36 despite these unresolved problems. Instead of replacing the G36, they decided to tell German soldiers in Afghanistan to avoid sustained fire and to allow hot barrels to cool to “hand warmth” for more accurate shooting.

Now Metallwerk Elisenhütte in Nassau, a Rhineland-Palatinate firm that has “traditionally” supplied bullets to German military and police forces, meaning for a long time, has accepted blame for Heckler & Koch’s overheating gun barrels. Two palettes of bullets from a different manufacturer were shipped to Afghanistan, the defense department announced. More G36 rifles have been ordered from Heckler & Koch.

Many people would assume the Wehrtechnische Dienststelle’s tests in 2012 would have used bullets from multiple manufacturers. Yet the bullets were not identified as the source of the G36’s overheating until December 2013, a time between German governments when e.g. state secretaries seem to have been running the show at the defense department.

Update on 22 Jun 2014: Germany’s defense ministry will not be buying more of its G36 standard assault rifles from Heckler & Koch, for the time being, in response to a report by the German Federal Court of Auditors [Bundesrechnungshof] doubting the gun’s accuracy. The defense ministry said they will be retesting the gun, and that they disagree with the doubts of the auditors.

Update on 28 Jun 2014: The 23 Jun 2014 report from Federal Court of Auditors is highly classified and very critical. Since 2012, the Bundeswehr has “only unassertively accepted” the findings from G36 testing, has “not responded to the ongoing criticism to the appropriate degree” to the present day and “reacted too late in any case.” Even under the new defense minister von der Leyen, the problems with the G36 “have been neither consequently processed nor clarified doubt-free.” The defense ministry “has not ordered an investigation suitable for clearing up the existing doubts about the weapon.” The experts do not believe the bullets are to blame for the gun’s problems according to the report—it’s unclear from the Spiegel article whether these are experts consulted by the auditors, auditors evaluating all the data available to them, experts outside the government, etc.

A Green party politician said now the defense ministry must not only illuminate, fix and explain the G36 problems but also how it could make such an error in judgment for so many years, “deviating so dramatically from the opinions of its own experts.”

(Dee   moon eats YO! nen   zinned   dah ron   SHOOLED.)

Ingenieurentruppe privatisieren

“Privatizing a troop of engineers,” the ~2800 elite engineers in Britain’s Defence Support Group which is responsible for maintaining and purchasing high-tech weapons systems such as fighter jets, tanks and troop transporters, said Spiegel.de.

Spiegel said London is ignoring the U.S.A.’s request not to sell off the unit. The U.K. military fears the sale would result in loss of institutional knowledge, loss of control over military secrets, exposure to boycott risk and other problems. Spiegel said the Observer said the official call for bids to buy D.S.G. will go out in a few days despite lots of domestic opposition to the plan, which didn’t stop Mr. Cameron’s government from e.g. privatizing the Royal Mail.

The Spiegel.de article said the U.S.A.’s notoriously tight control over military technology it shares with allies was circumvented by Tony Blair in 2007 when he worked out a simplified sharing agreement in the throes of the wars. George W. Bush agreed to share important anti-terrorism military technology using streamlined processes and without requiring export licenses.

(Inn jen YOO er en troop ah   pree vot eez EAR en.)

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