Germany’s Defense Minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, announced on Monday that conscription for the country’s armed forces will come to an end in the summer of 2011. The all-volunteer Bundeswehr will have approximately 185,000 persons, down from the current 240,000. That is roughly in line with the current number of volunteers serving.
I wonder whether anyone will say that the change has come too soon, or that preparations have been rushed. That’s because I flagged it as on its way, oh, more than six and a half years ago. Embarrassingly enough, I used the phrase “sooner rather than later” in the previous post, and this qualifies as “sooner” only by the very generous standard usually reserved for EU institutions. Nevertheless, it is a welcome and necessary change, for all the reasons I outlined in January 2004.