On hold for the “homeland security”

In the waiting loop to'heimatschutz'

Straben scene with "Homeland Security"-Advertising poster. Photo: bomaja

Thanks to advertising and a lack of apprenticeships, it seems that far more young people are interested in the Bundeswehr’s new voluntary service than it can accommodate for the time being

Even in Berlin-Neukolln, where the unemployment rate is almost 16 percent, coarse posters for the "Homeland Security" the German armed forces have been recruited. The gross income from the first day of training is there with 1.500 euros a month – at least well above the Hartz IV level – sounds tempting for young people over the age of 17 who, in times of crisis, have not been able to start a career after completing compulsory education. Around 9.000 interested people from all over Germany are said to have signed up, according to the German Ministry of Defense.

The Fundamental Rights Committee had already criticized in the fall that the offer, including slide training, was also directed at minors.

"We have noticed that in Germany, especially among the younger generation, there is a strong desire to give something back to the country and the people in this country and to participate in the process", Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) said Tuesday in Berlin at the launch of the new volunteer service, which started with an initial 325 recruits. Round 1.000 are now expected to be sent every year.

The interest in the "Homeland Security", for which with sayings like "Your year for Germany" and "When everyone is in Berlin, who will watch over Brandenburg??" The fact that the number of young people who had been recruited could in some cases have had something to do with the fact that the Corona crisis had also made itself felt on the training market. From October 2019 to September 2020, the employment agencies and job centers in joint institutions were responsible for a total of 530.300 vocational training positions have been reported – 41.700 fewer than in the same period last year.

Less life-threatening

Volunteer service is at least a fallback option here – and homeland security is not likely to face situations comparable to life-threatening situations in the foreseeable future as when deployed to war zones like Afghanistan. According to the ministry, the main differences from the classic voluntary military service are the "close to home in planning for reserve service" after training and the abandonment of foreign missions.

The volunteers first undergo three months of basic training at one of the eleven training facilities of the Armed Forces Base, which is followed by four months of specialized training at the "Homeland Security" in Berlin, Delmenhorst, or Wildflecken. The focus is on property protection, but the training also includes areas such as sanitation and fire protection, it says. The total of seven months of training is followed by a reserve period of six years. During this period, reservists are to serve a total of five months as close to home as possible in one of the regional security and support companies. The compensation for this will then amount to around 87 euros per day of service.

Kramp-Karrenbauer also defended the name of the service against criticism on Tuesday "democratic center" and not to leave it to the right-wingers. Also "Freedom, democracy and diversity" are components of the homeland. "The Bundeswehr has committed itself in its entirety to protecting this freedom, this democracy and this diversity."

The criticism from the ranks of the opposition could not have been more different: While the FDP is concerned because these volunteers do not want to be deployed arbitrarily far from home, the left-wing faction in the Bundestag sees in the new service rather another lever for the militarization of society.

"Not threatened by any state"

Against the order national defense on the part of the German Federal Armed Forces is yes "nothing to object to for the time being", said the chairman of the Left Party in the Defense Committee of the Bundestag, Alexander Neu. "But I get the impression that the Bundeswehr is supposed to gain higher social acceptance by supporting the blue-light organizations in the interior through ‘homeland security’", Neu said to Telepolis. "It would make more sense to adequately fund the emergency services, especially the technical relief organization, and to rebuild the health care system to meet society’s needs."

I also ask myself the question, with which in the homeland security concept intended "higher operational readiness" reasons. "Germany is not threatened by any state from the point of view of security policy", emphasized Neu.

The FDP defense expert Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, who told the radio station that she wanted to be paid at least NDR Info to this: "What we need are young men and women who are ready to go into action and who are ready – and this is a rough task – to be trained in such a way that our freedom is protected in peace." That is "with such a social year is not done". She did agree with Neu on one point, however: For social tasks and disaster control, there are other organizations and associations than the Bundeswehr.

In view of past Nazi scandals within the Bundeswehr, its deputy inspector general, Markus Laubenthal, gave arances on Tuesday that the applicants for the "Homeland Security" were carried out for possible "extremist" attitude checked. Before this "general screening" they could not begin training on the weapon, said Laubenthal, according to a report by the station n-tv.

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