The German Army faces a dramatic shrink and reorganization process. It is almost certain that the service will have troops freed for low key peace enforcement operations such as in Afghanistan but is also going to see its high intensity warfare assets crippled in a way that might eventually endanger regrowth in the event of an unfolding crisis.
Tomorrow, the minister of defence will present his choice of five reform proposals to the parliament and all observers suggest it's version four out of five.
If his plans pass the lower house, the land force will be reduced to 54,500 troops and get the remaining bits of its former armoured backbone broken - compared to the massive hulk of ten fully armoured divisions it had by 1989.
The army has already ceased to maintain armoured air defence units earlier this year with a giant disbandement campaign for its "Gepard" self-propelled anti air guns.
Oddly enough, this reform plan número 4 seems to include the abolition of the division and brigade levels to the contrary of general NATO doctrines. The troops could instead be organized in battalions and regiments and be subordinate to four divisionary headquarters comparable to France' EMFs. Each of these would have divisionary artillery, an engineer regiment, a supplies regiment and a reconnaissance regiment next to a pool of combat forces. One of them will be dedicated to aerial operations.
The army will get some new infantry force providers either way but not in the scale as it was announced earlier this year.
Comparison chart: current and planned
4x Parachute Infantry Battalion -> 1x Parachute Infantry Regiment (not one to one!)
3x Mountain Infantry Battalion -> 2x Mountain Infantry Battalion
2x Light Infantry Battalion -> 10x Light Infantry Battalion
8x Armoured Infantry Battalion -> 6x Armoured Infantry Battalion
1x Air Assault Infantry Regiment = 1x Air Assault Infantry Regiment
17 Battalions, 1x Regiment -> 18 Battalions, 2x Regiments
The armoured corps could see further cuts from 6 to 4 battalions.
In any case, it is seriously considered to reduce the fleet of MBTs to (minimum estimate) 232 Leopard2 A5+ and 264 Puma IFVs.
Naval and land special forces could form a joint special forces command if the navy drops the idea of launching a naval infantry regiment (being up to the procurement of a planned Joint Support Ship) and if the army does not want to attach its special forces to the aerial operations command instead.
Overall manpower of this "Modell 4": 54,500 with the Army, 34,500 with the Joint Support Service, 20,000 with the Air Force, 12,500 with the Medical Service and 11,500 troops with the Navy - 156,000 professionals plus about 7,500 volunteers (down from 190,000 professionals and 65,000 draftees as of now). At least 133,500 of them should be available to operations abroad.
Conscription will be discontinued but not abolished.
Another interesting thing: the chiefs of staff of the five services - which are in fact more powerful than the inspector general as the highest ranking officer - could lose a fair share of their influence in the course of an anti-bureaucracy campaign. Actually the minister wants to replace one of his two undersecretaries with the inspector general. If this idea passes legal assession, which it might not be able to due to constitutional concerns, a soldier could be deputy minister of defence in the future.
Material prioritization list: http://www.geopowers.com/sites/default/files/PrioMat.pdf