German Military Reform 1998-2004: Leadership and the Triumph of Domestic Constraint over International Opportunity

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The article analyses the processes and outcomes of military reforms during
the two Schro ¨ der governments (1998./2005). These reforms are the litmus test for Germany’s willingness and ability to play an important role in crisis-management tasks as part of NATO, CESDP and the UN. The study argues that, despite its strengths, the concept of strategic culture provides only a partial explanation of military reform in Germany. The article illustrates the strongly self-referential nature of Bundeswehr reform, despite adaptational pressures from the EU and NATO and the role of ‘international structure’. The domestic politics of base closures, ramifications for social policy, economic and financial restrictions consequent upon German unification and commitment to EMU’s
Stability and Growth Pact were critical in determining the outcomes of the reform
processes undertaken by Defence Ministers Rudolf Scharping and Peter Struck. The study also draws out the important role of policy leaders in the political manipulation of reform as entrepreneurs, brokers or veto-players and in controlling the extent of adaptational pressure from NATO and the EU. In doing so, the article shifts the focus of leadership studies in Germany away from the Chancellor to an examination of the role of ministerial and administrative leadership within the core executive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-86
Number of pages24
JournalEuropean Security
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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