Defense Minister Boris Pistorius is overhauling his department quickly. For this, Eberhard Zorn, the country's highest-ranking soldier, must resign. He has already been chastised for his remarks.

generalmajor carsten breuer
Major General Carsten Breuer

Lieutenant General Carsten Breuer (59) will be the new Bundeswehr Inspector General. On Monday, the German news agency learned in Berlin. He will follow General Eberhard Zorn, who became the highest-ranking military in April 2018. According to dpa, State Secretary Margaretha Sudhof, who joined the cabinet with the mostly failed ex-minister Christine Lambrecht, must also go. On Monday, the " Spiegel " claimed that Pistorius will appoint his close ally Nils Hilmer as State Secretary in the Bendlerblock. Sudhof, the administrative lawyer, had previously worked for Lambrecht at the Ministry of Justice.

Boris Pistorius has been in office for less than two months and is already making headlines. Former Inspector General of the German Armed Forces Eberhard Zorn has been placed on leave. According to media sources, Carsten Breuer, dubbed the "Corona General," will succeed him. According to ministry sources, he should take over as the highest German soldier as soon as possible.

The new social democratic defense minister has no time to waste in reforming his department; the Bundeswehr has been left undone for decades. According to the "Spiegel," State Secretary Margaretha Sudhof had to make way for Pistorius' confidante Nils Hilmer.

On the one hand, Lieutenant General Breuer is regarded as a Scholz guy since the Chancellor appointed him to lead the Corona crisis team and supervise the vaccine program. Breuer associates Pistorius with the biographical coincidence that they both served in the same regiment, albeit not simultaneously. Pistorius served with the 11th Air Defense Regiment at Achim, Lower Saxony, in 1980/81; Breuer joined in 1984 as an officer candidate after graduating from high school.

The 63-year-old took up his role in April 2018 under the then Christian Democratic Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen, following which he served two successive ministers on the issue of the Bundeswehr was little in the public eye, and anger was not too demanding.

Everything has changed now: war is raging in Ukraine, the barren state of the military forces, which has gone unnoticed for far too long, has become public, and apparatchiks and blockers in their apparatus obstruct and delay the effective acquisition of weapons and materials. Zorn had also expressed his dissatisfaction with it.

He was chastised for comments he made in a newspaper interview in September, in which he advocated for more arms delivery to Ukraine, at least insofar as they harmed the country's already limited ability to defend itself. He also doubted Ukraine's ability to win the conflict. Instead, he speculated in the interview on how the Russians would start a second front and attack other countries, and what choices they might have.

Pistorius stated unequivocally: Ukraine must win the war. Replacing Zorn looks to be the next natural step. It is envisaged that the civil forces in the ministry will now be countered by Breuer, a seasoned military guy with penetrating strength. The time is right, since the need is evident. This move, when combined with Pistorius and Scholz, might be effective. The Inspector General advises both the Minister and the Chancellor on military matters.

Breuer is now the commander of the newly formed Bundeswehr Territorial Command. He describes the Bundeswehr's responsibilities and discusses contemporary dangers in a video on the Bundeswehr website. There is the Bundeswehr's administrative support in the case of a disaster - Corona, floods, forest fires - and something new: a strong national defense. The command is set up to command all soldiers in Germany.

According to Breuer in the film, "strong national defense" is the worst-case scenario for some. For him, though, the worst-case scenario is the condition in the middle, a state that "is no longer entirely tranquil, but not yet absolutely war, that is a state that is the biggest peril for us".

The "hybrid impact on statehood" poses a risk. This involves, among other things, attempts to disrupt Western civilizations through propaganda, incorrect information, or infrastructure strikes. After sabotage assaults on Deutsche Rail cables in October, Breuer told the "Welt" that one must be prepared for more attacks: "Every substation, every power plant, every pipeline might be targeted."

Breuer was only sent abroad twice, in Kosovo and Afghanistan. He has held a number of positions in the Ministry of Defense.

"Basically, following the unlawful takeover of Crimea in 2014, we saw that we needed to shift more toward national and alliance defense," adds Breuer. It's about "having to think about the war in Germany, being able to think about it so that it doesn't happen". You must prepare for this.
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