The inspector of the army, Lieutenant General Alfons Mais, sees tap-proof communication of the armed forces as the most important task in the modernization of the Bundeswehr. “There is simply a lack of the ability to transmit data and voice in a protected manner,” Mais told the German Press Agency.
Improving this “leadership” is the most important thing on the material side of modernization. “The three priorities of the inspector of the army are command, command and command,” said Mais, who is the top soldier in the army.
“An example. No businessman, no politician is able to fulfill his mission today with just a landline and a fax machine. Everyone is dependent on their smartphone and the applications available on it. In a figurative sense, this also applies to us, but normally we still have to bring our own network with us, set it up and have it with us,” said Mais. “We must have digital radios that allow us to operate command posts, transmit data and voice in such a network without anyone being able to overhear or paralyze everything.”
Mais pointed out that the deficits on the German side are already disrupting cooperation with allies. For example, the German-led NATO battle group in Lithuania has a German Marder infantry fighting vehicle alongside the Dutch and Norwegian company commanders. It was called “from tower to tower”, which the German commander had just ordered openly over the radio. “The Dutch and Norwegians can no longer hear us or are no longer willing to take on the security risk of unencrypted communication,” says Mais.
In West African Mali, too, he was told that military partners had refused to communicate with German soldiers over the open network during joint patrols for security reasons. Mais: “They stop, you sit down, talk, sit back up and drive on. Unfortunately, that is the reality.”