The new scheme presented by Defense Minister Boris Pistorius does not even mention the word “conscription,” according to Der Spiegel FILE PHOTO: German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius © Global Look Press / Lorenz Huter

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has dropped plans to reintroduce conscription, and indicated that the country was moving towards an entirely voluntary service scheme, Der Spiegel reported on Monday.

The minister outlined the key points of his military service reform on Monday during a 45-minute-long presentation to the Social Democratic Party (SPD) leadership behind closed doors, the weekly said, citing sources. The scheme does not mention the word “conscription” even once, and is focused entirely on providing new incentives for young people to join the nation’s Armed Forces – the Bundeswehr, it added.

Pistorius has repeatedly stated that his nation should become “war-capable” and “get used to the thought” of a potential war in Europe over the past month, citing the threat supposedly posed by Russia, among others. In April, he said that his ministry “considered that compulsory military service will be reintroduced” as part of an ambitious Armed Forces overhaul.

Germany’s conscription plans revealed – media Germany’s conscription plans revealed – media

Under the plans presented by the minister on Monday, all 18-year-olds will be required to answer a questionnaire from the Defense Ministry about their physical condition. The military would then seek to entice those considered worthy to join the army ranks through incentives that would potentially range from free driving licenses to student loan discounts. Military service itself would last 12 months, according to Der Spiegel.

The scheme was backed by Pistorius’ SPD party, which had reportedly grown tired of the minister’s belligerent rhetoric. “We agree on the vast majority of points,” SPD General Secretary Kevin Kuhnert said after the Monday meeting.

The plan essentially follows what was described by the German media as the “most cautious” of the three options reportedly presented to Pistorius by his ministry last month. The other two involved some form of mandatory conscription, either for men or for everyone reaching the age of maturity, regardless of their sex.

Germany reveals huge military shortages Germany reveals huge military shortages

The defense ministry had initially warned that the “most cautious” option could also be the least useful one for the military. Now, the variant is reportedly described as “the least promising in terms of meeting the needs” of the army in the ministry’s internal documents. The officials are worried that it would not attract “a sufficient number of applicants,” according to Der Spiegel.

The German Armed Forces suffer from a constant lack of personnel. In March, the parliamentary commissioner for the Bundeswehr, Eva Hoegl, said in her annual report that some 20,000 positions within the Armed Forces remain unfilled and the personnel numbers continue to fall due to a “very high” dropout rate.

According to Der Spiegel, some 181,500 soldiers are currently in service. Under the government’s plans, this number should grow to 203,000 by 2031. Instead, it could fall below 180,000, the German weekly warned. (RT)