federal defense forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities

The Bundeswehr (German for "Federal Defence Force"; audio speaker iconlisten ) are the German Armed Forces. The German armed forces are for the unified Germany itself and do not have several parts for the States of Germany.

Federal Defence Forces of Germany
Insignia of the Bundeswehr
FoundedNovember 12, 1955
Current formOctober 2, 1990
Service branchesHeer (Army)
Marine (Navy)
Luftwaffe (Air Force)
Streitkräftebasis (Joint Support Service)
Zentraler Sanitätsdienst (Central Medical Services)
HeadquartersBonn, Berlin and Potsdam
Commander-in-ChiefDefence Minister Thomas de Maizière[1]
after declaration of state of defence: Chancellor Angela Merkel[2]
Minister of DefenseThomas de Maizière
Chief of DefenseGeneral Volker Wieker (Heer)
Military age17
ConscriptionNo (Suspended on 1 July 2011)
Available for
military service
19,594,118 (2009 est.), age 17–49
Fit for
military service
15,747,493 (2009 est.), age 17–49
Reaching military
age annually
445,048 (2009 est.)
Active personnel207,247 active
Reserve personnel200,000 reserves
Budget€ 31.1 billion (FY09)
Percent of GDP1.5% (FY09)
Domestic suppliersEADS
Heckler & Koch
Krauss-Maffei Wegmann
Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft
Walther arms
Foreign suppliers European Union
 United States
Annual importsVolume of about $1 bln (2009 est.)
Annual exportsVolume of about $9 bln (2009 est.)

There are five sections: three bigger ones: Heer (Army), Marine (Navy) and Luftwaffe (Air Force) form one unified force, not three separate fighting forces. And two smaller ones: Joint Support Service (Streitkräftebasis) and Central Medical Services (Zentraler Sanitätsdienst).

In peace-time the commander-in-chief is the Federal Minister of Defence, and in wartime the Chancellor of Germany. This is unlike most countries where the head of state is commander in chief.

In March 2012, there were about 207,000 soldiers serving in the Bundeswehr; there are another 200,000 in reserve. Conscription for the Bundeswehr has been abolished in July 2011.



  1. "Art 65a Basic Law". Gesetze-im-internet.de. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  2. "Art 115b Basic Law". Gesetze-im-internet.de. Retrieved 2011-06-07.