Condemned Forever to Becoming and Never to Being? The Weise Commission and German Military Isomorphism

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Despite several post-Cold War reforms which have promised far-reaching
change, the Bundeswehr faces a set of deficits in force structures, capabilities,
doctrines and military adaptation, which leave it in danger of slipping permanently behind its European partners. The study examines the extent to which reforms proposed by the Commission on Structural Reform of the Bundeswehr will remedy these deficiencies. It finds that the proposals of the Commission include several important measures which will accelerate German convergence with the reforms of its European partners. However, the Commission fails to address several fundamental problems which impair the Bundeswehr’s capacity to adapt to ongoing operations. The article critically engages with the existing theoretical literature on German defence policy and highlights the utility of neoclassical realism in explaining the process and outcome of German defence reform. The study also points to the urgent requirement for further comparative scholarship on post-Cold War European military adaptation and civil–military relations in defence planning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-567
Number of pages22
JournalGerman Politics
Issue number4
Early online date31 Oct 2011
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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