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German Army at risk: major training camp threatens to close over clash between ministers



A high-tech training center in Gardelegen, Germany, is at risk of closure due to a dispute between the Defense Ministry and the Bundestag Budget Committee. Spiegel, a German newspaper, reports the news.

The center, known as GÜZ, is a crucial training ground for German troops, and its closure would be a major blow to the Bundeswehr. The dispute centers on how the center should be operated: the military wants to continue using a private contractor, while the Budget Committee insists that the Bundeswehr should manage it themselves.

The GÜZ, located in Gardelegen, Saxony-Anhalt, is a state-of-the-art facility that plays a crucial role in training German troops for operations and warfare. However, its future is now uncertain due to a disagreement over how the center should be operated.

The Bundeswehr argues that the private contractor model is more efficient and cost-effective. A ministry report that estimated that self-management would cost €351 million over five years compared to maintaining the contractor model’s cost of €248 million supports this. Actually, a private company, Saab, manages this training center.

However, the Budget Committee is not convinced. They argue that the contractor model is more expensive in the long run and that the Bundeswehr should be able to manage the center more efficiently themselves.

The dispute has reached a stalemate, and the future of GÜZ is uncertain. The current contract expires in August 2026, and if a new agreement is not reached, the center will be forced to close.

Bundeswehr training

This would be a disaster for the Bundeswehr, as it would come at a time when the military is already stretched thin due to NATO missions and the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The dispute has also caused a rift within the governing coalition. The SPD, which is the majority party in the Bundestag, is backing the Budget Committee’s position, while the Greens, who are the junior partner in the coalition, are supporting the Defense Ministry.

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius is now under pressure to resolve the dispute. He has said that he will meet with the Budget Committee in an attempt to find a compromise. But what compromise is possible when the positions are so diametrically different? By now, the German Greens are turning out to be a kind of left-liberal party, in increasingly harsh opposition to the SPD.

The outcome of the dispute will have a significant impact on the future of the Bundeswehr. If GÜZ is closed, it will be a major setback for the military’s modernization efforts. The Bundeswehr would lose its most advanced training camp, all when, in other words, the government wants to achieve greater efficiency vis-à-vis Russia

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