Germany is to increase her army by 5,000 soldiers, the country's defence ministry has announced, bringing the total to 198,000 in 2024, at a time when US pressure is mounting on European NATO members to raise military spending.
“The German army faces demands like never before,” Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that the army had to be able to respond in an appropriate way to developments abroad and security concerns.
Germany, reluctant for decades after the Second World War to get involved in military missions abroad, has in the last few years become more active in supporting international deployments such as in Afghanistan, Mali and against Islamic State militants.
In January, Germany sent a battlegroup of more than 1,000 to Lithuania as part of a NATO mission to protect its eastern border with Russia in response to its annexation of Crimea and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.
It will now dispatch a number of tanks and armoured vehicles to Lithuania to support its existing defence deployment in the country.
On top of the 5,000 extra soldiers, Germany will further add 1,000 civilians posts and about 500 reserves to its ranks at home.
The increase, long flagged by von der Leyen, comes at a time when 45 is pushing NATO members, especially from Europe, to raise their military spending