Zu Guttenberg sets up structural commission
On 12 April 2010, Federal Minister of Defence Dr. Karl-Theodor Freiherr zu Guttenberg set up the structural commission agreed on by Germany’s coalition government. By the end of this year the commission is to submit proposals for streamlining the Bundeswehr’s command structures and administrative structures.
Frank-Jürgen Weise, Chairman of the Federal Employment Agency, will head the commission. In January, the Federal Minister of Defence had already announced an
“unsparing analysis, no areas are to be taboo”.
Members of the commission
The Minister said that party politics had not played a role in selecting the members of the commission. Expertise covering a broad spectrum of business, administration but also political experience is of vital importance for the commission’s work, zu Guttenberg emphasised.
The structural commission is composed of six members:
- Frank-Jürgen Weise, Chairman of the Federal Employment Agency and head of the structural commission on Bundeswehr reform,
- Hans-Heinrich Driftmann, president of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce,
- Jürgen Kluge, former managing director of the German office of McKinsey & Company and present chairman of the managing board of the Duisburg-based family owned Haniel group,
- Hedda von Wedel, former president of the Federal Audit Office and present Vice Chair of Transparency International Deutschland,
- Hans-Ulrich Klose (Social Democratic Party), coordinator of German-American cooperation for the Federal Government and
- General Karl-Heinz Lather, Chief of Staff SHAPE.
The way has been paved
Zu Guttenberg said that early this year he had commissioned an analysis of deficits so that the structural commission could set to work as soon as possible. The analysis of strong and weak points has already laid the foundations for the commission’s work.
According to the Minister, operations aimed at conflict prevention and crisis management in particular have shown that there is a need for structural optimisation. “Even though the Bundeswehr has gone through major transformation processes, parts of which have already proved successful, I believe that the current structures are not sufficient to cope with the challenges that lie ahead,” zu Guttenberg said.
The commission will focus on fundamental issues such as lessons learned in recent years as well as the tasks, challenges and threat scenarios the Bundeswehr will have to deal with in the future.
The commission’s task is thus to consistently align the structures with the processes required for the Bundeswehr to accomplish its mission. The aim is not to reinvent the Bundeswehr but rather to make the existing structures more efficient. Zu Guttenberg illustrated the need for action with the example of cooperation between users and providers which is, in his point of view, not satisfactory.
The commission is also tasked with identifying redundant interfaces, overlaps in responsibilities, duplications and split competences. “The aim is to implement optimised processes so as to achieve more efficient organisational structures and procedures,” zu Guttenberg said. Personnel and financial resources must be put to the best possible use.
All proposals and concepts for the different areas of concern are to be submitted by the end of the year. “We must then decide how to implement these proposals and subsequently, on the basis of a plan for their realisation, put them into practice," the Minister added.
Commission head has plenty of experience
Frank-Jürgen Weise said the task facing the commission is urgently necessary but promises success. In his opinion, the framework conditions for the work of the commission are good. He counts his personal experience with the Minister among these favourable conditions. Furthermore, all members of the commission are high-ranking, experienced and impartial figures. Weise said he had been assured that critical issues can be brought up and independent standpoints taken. He considers the task feasible as the commission is to concentrate its investigations on the mission of the Armed Forces rather than pursuing an all-embracing approach.
Since 2004, Weise has been Chairman of the Federal Employment Agency and can draw on considerable military experience. After 12 years in the Bundeswehr, Weise still performs reserve service every year in the rank of colonel, mainly at NATO Headquarters in Brussels but also in Afghanistan.