Psy-ops in high places. Putin’s new science adviser to Russia’s National Security Council is a military intelligence agent accused of spreading disinformation about the coronavirus

Save Meduza!

In recent years, Russia’s National Security Council (or Sovbez) has come increasingly to resemble the USSR’s Politburo (the Soviet Communist Party’s powerful executive committee). On May 11, Vladimir Putin made significant changes to the Sovbez’s Science Council, which provides “scientific-methodological and expert-analytical support,” assists with the development of Russia’s national security strategy and strategic planning documents, and helps define priorities, criteria, and metrics. One newcomer to the Science Council is a man named A. G. Starunsky, a deputy commander of Russia’s Military Unit 55111. Meduza has learned that intelligence agencies in Estonia and the United States suspect this person of involvement in online disinformation campaigns run by Russia’s Military Intelligence Directorate (GRU). 

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US military intercepted small aircraft in restricted airspace as Biden visited Delaware home

The U.S. military intercepted a small aircraft that flew into restricted airspace in Delaware over the weekend, grounding the pilot at a nearby airport in Pennsylvania as President Biden visited his home in Wilmington.

“On May 16, at approximately 1:09 p.m., a small aircraft violated the restricted airspace in Wilmington, DE,” a Secret Service spokesperson said in a statement. “Per standard protocol, U.S. military aircraft responded, the aircraft was intercepted, and the pilot redirected to a local airport.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Defense told Fox News that the pilot was not in communication with air traffic controllers when entering the restricted airspace and thus did so without proper clearance.

“The NORAD fighter dispensed signal flares during the intercept in an effort to gain the pilot’s attention and direct them safely out of the restricted zone,” the Defense Department spokesperson explained. “The violating aircraft was monitored by the NORAD aircraft until it landed at a nearby airfield.”


Jon Martin, the aviation director at New Garden Airport in Pennsylvania, confirmed to Fox News on Monday that the small aircraft had violated the temporary flight restriction zone and was signaled with warning flares by the military fighter jet. 

Martin said the plane was then grounded at the New Garden airport, noting that the local airport has been suffering frequent shutdowns due to flight restrictions implemented each time Biden returns home.

This was the first aircraft that was grounded at New Garden Airport, Martin said. Commercial air traffic, he noted, is unaffected by the temporary flight restrictions.


Typically, flight restrictions for presidential visits include a 30 nautical mile ring, within which there is a smaller no-fly zone.

Martin said the single-engine plane had departed Ocean City, Maryland for New York when it was intercepted. He said he believed the pilot was unaware of the restrictions and was not deliberately trying to cause issues.

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Provinces continue towards COVID-19 vaccine targets amid military head’s resignation – National

Canadian provinces continued to take steps towards hitting their COVID-19 vaccination targets on Sunday even as questions linger after the departure of the senior military officer in charge of the national immunization drive.

Ontario administered its seven millionth vaccine dose over the weekend, which saw several hot spots trying to scale up their efforts to reach more residents.

One vaccine clinic in Peel region west of Toronto operated for at least 32 hours straight in a bid to reach essential workers logging non-traditional hours as well as younger people.

Read more:
Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout unlikely to be slowed over Fortin’s resignation: expert

Ontario officials are set to expand vaccine eligibility to all residents 30 and older this week, though many younger adults have been able to secure shots in virus hot spots.

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Quebec began opening walk-in clinics for those 18 and up a few days ago, and announced Sunday that it had surpassed the four million vaccine mark.

The provinces are expected to be able to further expand their vaccine rollouts this week thanks to large scheduled deliveries from key suppliers.

Pfizer and BioNTech had been scheduled to deliver around two million doses this week, but the federal government has said the two companies will ship an additional 1.4 million shots to Canada ahead of the upcoming holiday weekend.

Click to play video: 'Dr. Fauci explains science behind new CDC mask recommendations in U.S. amid pandemic'

Dr. Fauci explains science behind new CDC mask recommendations in U.S. amid pandemic

Dr. Fauci explains science behind new CDC mask recommendations in U.S. amid pandemic

Federal figures show Canada is expected to receive about 4.5 million total doses this week, including 1.1 million jabs from Moderna.

The provinces are pushing ahead amid questions about who will lead Canada’s vaccine rollout following the abrupt departure of Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who left the post late last week pending the results of a military investigation.

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The federal government has not said why Fortin was reassigned nor who will replace him, insisting his departure will not hamper the vaccination campaign.

Canada’s chief public health officer has suggested the country could begin easing health restrictions to allow small outdoor gatherings once 75 per cent of adults receive at least one shot and 20 per cent are fully vaccinated.

On Sunday, Dr. Theresa Tam once again urged patience to get vaccinated, saying disease levels in Canada were still too high to allow a return to normal.

“Until vaccine coverage is sufficiently high to impact disease transmission more broadly in the community, we must maintain a high degree of caution with public health and individual measures and not ease restrictions too soon or too quickly where infection rates are high,” she wrote in a statement.

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While some provinces have seen a slow decline in cases, others are still in the midst of a punishing third wave.

Read more:
Military head of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout steps aside amid investigation

Nova Scotia reported 126 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, a day after dropping below 100 for the first time since May 1.

“Today’s numbers are a clear reminder that while we are on the right track, we cannot let down our guard,” Premier Iain Rankin said in a statement.

“It is crucial that we all continue to follow the public health protocols and get tested regularly. Stay in your community, stay positive and stay safe.”

Manitoba reported 534 new COVID-19 infections, four deaths and a test positivity rate of 12.3 per cent provincially and 14.1 per cent in Winnipeg.

Click to play video: 'Lifting restrictions in B.C. will depend on COVID-19 case numbers'

Lifting restrictions in B.C. will depend on COVID-19 case numbers

Lifting restrictions in B.C. will depend on COVID-19 case numbers

Newfoundland and Labrador, which has reported low case counts throughout most of the pandemic, logged nine new diagnoses on Sunday.

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The provincial government said that while the recent increase in cases is concerning, it’s also “not unexpected” given the disease rates elsewhere in the country.

Those rates ticked downward in Ontario, which reported 2,199 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday along with 30 new deaths.

Quebec added 716 cases and two new deaths to its overall count, while officials in New Brunswick recorded 11 new infections.

Further west, health authorities in Saskatchewan logged 167 cases and one new death.

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Military replaces another top officer in wake of sexual misconduct allegations

The Canadian military has put another senior officer in charge of its personnel command after the former commander, Vice-Admiral Hayden Edmundson, stepped away earlier this year following allegations of sexual assault and misconduct.

The announcement, made Friday by the acting chief of the defence staff, is part of a broader shakeup of the senior ranks. That shakeup was triggered in part by the ongoing sexual misconduct crisis that has tarnished the institution and left a number of major commands with “acting” commanders.

Lt.-Gen.Steve Whelan was promoted to replace Edmundson on a permanent basis as head of Military Personnel Command and chief of military personnel.

Edmundson has been on leave with pay for roughly six weeks while the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service investigates a claim of rape dating back to an alleged incident in 1991 aboard a Royal Canadian Navy ship.

Retired leading seamen Stéphanie Viau said Edmundson exposed himself to her on multiple occasions onboard during a navy exercise abroad. She said his behaviour escalated and he raped her while the ship was docked in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii. 

Edmundson’s lawyer, Brian Greenspan, said his client denies the allegations. 

“It is regrettable that after 37 years of loyal service to Canada, Vice-Admiral Edmundson has been replaced in his role without an opportunity to appropriately respond and defend against untested allegations which he categorically and unequivocally denies,” said Greenspan in a statement to CBC News.

Greenspan said Edmundson wishes “his team and new Commander his best wishes for success in their future endeavours.”

WATCH | Stéphanie Viau shares her story of alleged sexual assault:

Viau said Vice-Admiral Haydn Edmundson’s inappropriate behaviour escalated to rape onboard HMCS Provider decades ago 9:17

DND reviewing request for civilian police to investigate

Viau said she wants her case investigated by civilian police because she can no longer trust the military police after a prior sexual assault. 

The Department of National Defence said it has been looking into other investigative options. If Viau’s case is transferred to the RCMP or another police force, it would set a precedent for future sexual assault cases in the Armed Forces.

“This is a delicate matter and one we take extremely seriously, so we need to take the time to ensure all options are being explored, while respecting the integrity of investigative process, the wishes of the victim, the military justice system, as well as the jurisdictions of other police forces,” says a DND statement sent to CBC News.

The department’s deputy minister, Jody Thomas, has called Viau’s case a complex historical one. She said the provost marshal, who is in charge of the military police, is “working diligently to understand what can be done to support Ms. Viau.”

“What we want to do is be able to do what is right so justice can be served,” said Thomas on April 29 at a press conference about sexual misconduct in the forces.

“What that looks like is under investigation right now.”

DND said there are no plans currently for Edmundson to return to work.

Whelan will have as his deputy Maj.-Gen. Lise Bourgon, a respected air force officer.

Announcement formalizes key appointments for number of senior women

One glaring omission in the general officer and flag officer list released today is the absence of any reference to Lt.-Gen Wayne Eyre’s status. Eyre stepped into the top military commander’s job after the current chief of the defence staff, Admiral Art McDonald, voluntarily stepped aside in February after it was revealed he was under military police investigation for sexual misconduct.

Commodore Josee Kurtz, who recently commanded a NATO task group, will take over as commandant of the Royal Military College. (Mike Dembeck/The Canadian Press)

Eyre remains “acting” chief and his post as head of the army continues to be filled on an acting basis by Maj.-Gen. Michel-Henri St-Louis, who commanded Canada’s last battle group in Kandahar.

And Lt.-Gen. Jocelyn Paul has been promoted to the position of deputy NATO commander at the joint forces headquarters in Naples. Paul, also a former member of the battle group in Kandahar, is the military’s highest-ranking Indigenous member.

Today’s announcement also formalized the promotions and appointments of a number of senior women to key posts throughout the military.

Along with the appointment of Lt.-Gen. Jennie Carignan to the newly-created post of chief of conduct and professionalism, the military formally announced today that Commodore Josee Kurtz, who recently commanded a NATO task group, will take over as commandant of the Royal Military College.

Many survivors and sexual assault experts have cited the culture in the military colleges in Kingston, Ont. and St-Jean, Que. as a major factor contributing to the misconduct crisis.

Meanwhile, Maj.-Gen. Nancy Tremblay is being appointed to a new temporary position as “Chief Materiel Program” — part of the team that buys military equipment.

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Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin under military investigation, is no longer leading vaccine campaign

The major-general leading Canada’s vaccine logistics at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is stepping down under the cloud of a military investigation into a sexual misconduct allegation.

The Department of National Defence issued a terse three-line statement late Friday, saying that Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin is leaving his post and his future will be decided by the acting chief of the defence staff.

Neither the military, nor the department would say what kind of investigation has been launched, whether it involves military police, or if it is some other kind of internal review.

CBC News has confirmed the investigation involves an allegation of sexual misconduct that predates 2015 and the military’s now defunct campaign, Operation Honour, which was intended to stamp out inappropriate behaviour. Three separate confidential sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly because of the sensitivity of the file, described it as an older claim, but declined to be more specific. The Globe and Mail was the first to report the allegation against Fortin was sexual in nature.

His departure came about suddenly.

As late as Friday morning, Fortin was listed as being seconded to the public health agency on a defence department statement involving the assignments of general officers.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tasked Fortin with leading Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort in the fall. 

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan tried to reassure the public that the drive to distribute vaccines will not be interrupted by the general’s absence. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

A well-regarded combat veteran of Afghanistan and former commander of the NATO mission in Iraq, Fortin has been a calm, reassuring figure at PHAC’s briefings since then, providing updates on the effort to distribute vaccines across the country.

In an interview with CBC Radio’s The Current last March, he spoke forcefully about the unfolding allegations of misconduct.

“This type of behaviour is completely unacceptable,” Fortin said. 

“Members of the military, on the battlefield, should feel safe that the person next to you has your back. That’s not unique to the battlefield. You should feel safe at home, as well.”

It is unclear how Fortin’s departure will affect the vaccine distribution campaign. 

He was at the centre of a new military-supported hub within PHAC — the National Operations Centre — that was built to help co-ordinate the deployment of millions of vaccine doses over the coming months.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, in a statement late Friday, tried to reassure the public that the drive to get vaccines into the country will not be interrupted by the general’s absence. 

“We remain focused on deploying the millions of vaccines that arrive in Canada every week,” Sajjan said. 

“The men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces will continue to support the deployment of vaccines, as well as the rest of the government response to COVID-19 across Canada. As an investigation is underway, I will have no further comments at this time. “

The news is another sharp blow to the military, which is reeling under the weight of a string of high-profile sexual misconduct cases.

Allegations of inappropriate behaviour were levelled against the country’s former top commander, retired general Jonathan Vance, two weeks after his retirement last winter. Weeks later, his successor, Admiral Art McDonald voluntarily stepped aside after it was revealed he was under military police investigation over an allegation of sexual misconduct.

The military’s former head of personnel, Vice-Admiral Hayden Edmundson, was permanently replaced on Friday and is under a pending investigation after a three decade-old allegation of sexual assault was levelled against him.

The country’s former military operations commander, Lt.-Gen. Christopher Coates, is retiring after a published report in Postmedia revealed he had an affair with a U.S. defence department civilian while serving as deputy commander of NORAD. 

Maj.-Gen. Peter Dawe, the former commander of special forces, was put on paid leave after writing a letter of support for a soldier convicted of sexual assault. Last week, Global News reported that the commander of the military’s intelligence school,  Lt.-Col. Raphaël Guay, had been temporarily removed while an investigation took place. 

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Russia Announces 26 Year Old Military Spokeswoman

Defense Minister Shoigu teaches the West a lesson in realpolitik

This article from our archives was first published on RI in November 2017

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

And get this, her name is Rossiyana, which is the Russian equivalent of naming your daughter ‘America’.  

She has a nickname in Russian – ‘Oboronyashka’ – which translates as: ‘Defense Cutie’.

Her Instagram account is blowing up – we highly recommend following it …

Russia is definitely winning the charm battle – with former  Crimean attorney general and anime star Natalia Poklonskaya (‘Prosecutie’), and Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, the West is just going to have to do better.

Natalia Poklonskaya giving a press conference

NATO top brass.

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

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What is Australia’s space division, and why is it in the military?

It was announced over the weekend that Royal Australian Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Catherine Roberts will lead the division from January.

The newly created military space command, which will draw on all aspects of the Australian Defence Force, will “allow us to establish an organisation to sustain, force-generate, operate space capabilities and assign them to a joint operation command if needed”, according to RAAF chief Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld.

The RAAF chief has said previously that unlike other nations like China and Russia, Australia would not seek to develop technologies to attack enemy satellites.

But what does that mean? Why is the proposed Australian space division in the military? And how does it compare to others around the world?

As far as international movers and shakers in space defence go, you may think Australia is a bit player.

But while we may seem like small fry when compared to the likes of the US, Australia already has an impressive track record in communications and observation satellites, said Cassandra Steer, space law lecturer and mission specialist with the Australian National University’s Institute of Space.

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Myanmar: Military helicopter shot down by Kachin rebels as parcel bomb kills 5

On Monday, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) said it had shot down a military helicopter near the town of Moemauk in Kachin province after days of military air raids.

“The military council launched air strikes in that area since around 8 or 9 this morning … using jet fighters and also fired shots using a helicopter so we shot back at them,” said spokesman Naw Bu by telephone.

He declined to say what weapons were used.

A resident in the area, who declined to be named, said by telephone that four people had died in hospital after artillery shells hit a monastery in the village.

Meanwhile, blasts from at least one parcel bomb in southern central Myanmar killed five people, including an ousted lawmaker and three police officers who had joined a civil disobedience movement opposing military rule, media reported on Tuesday.
Myanmar has seen an increasing number of small blasts in residential areas, sometimes targeting government offices or military facilities, since the elected government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was overthrown on February 1.

The latest blasts were in a village in Western Bago and occurred at around 5 p.m. local time on Monday, the Myanmar Now news portal reported, citing a resident.

Three blasts were triggered when at least one parcel bomb exploded at a house in the village, killing a regional lawmaker from Suu Kyi’s National League of Democracy (NLD) party, as well as the three police officers and a resident, the report said.

Another police officer involved in the civil disobedience movement was also severely wounded after his arms were blown off by the explosion, the resident was cited as saying. He had been hospitalized and was receiving treatment, it said.

Khit Thit media also reported the blasts, citing an unnamed NLD official in the area.

Reuters could not independently verify the reports of the downed helicopter or the parcel bombs, and a military spokesman did not answer a phone call seeking comment.

In another sign of the growing insecurity, the junta-appointed head of the ward administration office in Yangon’s Tharketa district was stabbed at his office and later died of his wounds, Khit Thit Media said. Two residents of the district confirmed the report. Police did not respond to a request for comment.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) advocacy group says security forces have killed at least 766 civilians since the coup.

The junta disputes the figure and says at least 24 members of security forces have been killed during the protests. Reuters is unable to verify casualties because of the curbs placed on media by the junta. Many journalists are among the thousands of people who have been detained.

The junta said it had to seize power because its complaints of fraud in a November election won by Suu Kyi’s party were not addressed by an election commission that deemed the vote fair.

Suu Kyi, 75, has been detained since the coup along with many other members of her party. The AAPP says more than 3,600 people are currently in detention for opposing the military.

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Japan launches first joint military drill with United States, France

Japanese, US and French troops kicked off their first-ever joint military drill Tuesday in southwestern Japan, as concerns rise over China’s growing assertiveness in the region.

An Australian naval ship is also taking part in the week-long air, land and sea exercises involving 300 ground troops from the three countries.

It comes as Tokyo looks to deepen defence ties beyond its key US ally and with eyes on Beijing’s moves in the East and South China seas.

“The drill is no doubt a deterrent to China’s increasingly aggressive behaviour in the region,” Takashi Kawakami, head of the Institute of World Studies at Takushoku University, told AFP.

“In the long term, European commitment in the Indo-Pacific could lead to closer ties between Japan and NATO, something former prime minister Shinzo Abe advocated,” he added.

The drills, which include fighter jet and amphibious operation exercises, will be held in the Kyushu region and at sea with virus countermeasures.

A Japanese submarine and 10 surface ships — six Japanese, two French, one American and one Australian — will be used, a French naval official told AFP.

China claims the majority of the South China Sea, invoking its so-called nine-dash line to justify what it says are historic rights to the key trade waterway.

Japan has long said it feels threatened by China’s vast military resources and territorial disputes.

It is particularly concerned by Chinese activity around the Japanese-administered Senkaku islands, which Beijing claims and calls the Diaoyus.

France has strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific including territories like Reunion in the Indian Ocean and French Polynesia in the South Pacific.

The nation unveiled its own Indo-Pacific strategy in 2018, describing Japan, Australia, India and the US as key strategic partners in the region.

Japan has rarely held joint military drills with European counterparts, but both a British aircraft carrier and German frigate are expected to be sent to the Indo-Pacific region later this year.

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Reality Check: Germany’s Military Forces Need Improvement

Here’s What You Need To Remember: It is as if Berlin has given up any serious commitment to its own security. The military is small and underfunded to a shocking degree.

The modern German armed forces, or Bundeswehr, were created just ten years after the end of World War II. Cold war tensions and the presence of Soviet troops in East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Poland made a West German defense force necessary.

The Bundeswehr eventually grew to one of the largest, well-equipped armed forces in the world, boasting twelve combat divisions, hundreds of combat aircraft in the Luftwaffe (German Air Force), and a formidable force of surface ships, submarines, and maritime aircraft in the Bundesmarine (Navy).

The end of the Cold War and withdraw of the Red Army from Eastern Europe was a boon for European security. The National Volksarmee of East Germany and the Bundeswehr merged into a new national army. Inventories of ships, aircraft and armored vehicles were cut by up to seventy five percent, and the German defense budget was cut further. Germany now spends just 1.2% of GDP on defense, far below the NATO recommended 2%.

In the past year numerous articles have arisen demonstrating the Bundeswehr’s lack of readiness. Fixed wing aircraft, helicopters and other vehicles have been grounded due to lack of spare parts, bringing readiness rates below 50%.

Indeed, Germany’s military, while armed with some of the world’s most deadly weapons, faces some tremendous challenges. Below are five weapons platforms that in normal times would be truly deadly, however, face some very basic challenges if ever needed in combat, mostly due to a massive lack of underfunding and other problems.

Eurofighter Typhoon:

In the 1980s, the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain teamed up to begin development of the Future European Fighter Aircraft, or FEFA. First flight of what would become the Eurofighter Typhoon was in 1994, and Germany accepted its first Eurofighter in 2003. Budget cuts mean that the Luftwaffe will probably accept its last fighter sooner than anyone thought.

The Eurofighter is likely the best non fifth-generation fighter in existence. A combination of excellent maneuverability, powerful engines, AESA radar, infra-red search and track sensor and AMRAAM and Sidewinder missiles make Eurofighter a tough opponent in the air. Eurofighter’s air to ground capability is growing, and the Luftwaffe’s fighters have the ability to carry unguided bombs, laser guided bombs and Taurus cruise missiles.

Germany was originally buying 180 Eurofighters, but a cancelled purchase in 2014 means only 143 fighters will be acquired. As of October 2014, only 42 of 109 Eurofighters were in flying condition, the rest grounded by lack of spare parts. At the same time, Germany reportedly halved annual flying hours for air crews, fearing that the fuselage would become unstable.

Eurofighter Tornado:

Another fighter developed by a European defense consortium, the Tornado was developed by the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany. Designed to penetrate enemy defenses by going in low and fast, the Tornado was one of the last swing-wing fighter jets. Since the end of the Cold War however, the Tornado forces has suffered from chronic underfunding.

The Luftwaffe eventually acquired both the IDS (Interdiction/Deep Strike) and ECR (Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance) versions of the plane. During the Cold War, Germany’s Tornado attack jets were assigned the mission of bombing Warsaw Pact targets, particularly airfields. In the years since German reunification, Luftwaffe Tornados conducted aerial reconnaissance missions over Kosovo and Afghanistan.

The German Navy and Air Force received a total of 357 Tornado aircraft. Their numbers reduced after the Cold War, Germany plans to keep the remainder in service until 2025 or beyond. Like other German weapon systems the Tornados are underfunded and of August 2014, only 38 of 89 were operational.

Leopard II Main Battle Tank:

Developed in the 1970s by Krauss-Maffei as a replacement for the Leopard I, the Leopard II tank is still one of the best main battle tanks in existence. A logical extension of German postwar tactical doctrine, the Leopard II prioritized speed and firepower, making a highly mobile tank capable of exploiting changes on a fluid European battlefield. First fielded in 1979, the Leopard II is still in service today. Unfortunately, there are way too few of them.

The latest version of the Leopard II, the Leopard IIA7, incorporates a whole slew of upgrades meant to keep the tank viable until the 2030s. The A7 model features a longer barrel version of the same 120mm smoothbore gun, a third generation thermal sights, increased composite armor protection, and an auxiliary power unit to run electronics without having to run the tank engine.

West Germany procured 2,125 Leopard IIs — enough to equip nearly twelve panzer (tank) and panzergrenadier (mechanized infantry) divisions. The end of the Cold War and declining defense budgets caused Germany to shed nearly 90% of its tank force, and today the Bundeswehr has just 225 Leopard II tanks.

G36 Assault Rifle:

In the 1990s, the Bundeswehr replaced the Heckler and Koch G3 battle rifle with the G36 assault rifle. A new design using a lighter, NATO standard 5.56-millimeter bullet, thirty round magazines and integrated optics, the G36 was supposed to increase the firepower of German infantryman while lightening his load. 176,000 rifles were purchased.

After the Bundeswehr began deploying to Afghanistan it was discovered that the G36 was losing accuracy in combat. G36 rifles became inaccurate after sustained firing — a problem that may not have been obvious to a peacetime army. Still, it’s difficult to see how the defect was not noticed sooner.

After admitting the rifle was inaccurate, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced the rifle had “no future” in the Bundeswehr. The German Defense Ministry has just announced the procurement of 600 HK417 assault rifles, to be issued by mid-2016. The HK417 is also built by Heckler and Koch.

Panzergrenadier Battalion 371:

Panzergrenadiers are the Bundeswehr’s mechanized infantry. Germany has nine panzergrenadier battalions—each fields 900 men, roughly fifty infantry fighting vehicles and MILAN and Panzerfaust 3 anti-tank weapons.

Last February, Panzergrenadier Battalion 371, based in Marienburg, was participating in a NATO exercise in Norway. News quickly spread that the battalion, part of NATO’s Rapid Reaction Force, suffered from a shortage of pistols and night vision goggles. A shortage of MG3 machine guns meant broomsticks were painted black and pressed into service to simulate them. A new report states that the situation was even worse: Panzergrenadier Battalion 371 had to borrow 14,371 pieces of equipment from a total of 56 other Bundeswehr units… and it was still short on equipment.

If a high priority NATO tasked unit was short over 14,000 pieces of equipment, it calls into question how deep the rot in the Bundeswehr goes—and Germany’s commitment to the alliance.

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in The Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and The Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami.

This first appeared in 2015 and is being reposted due to reader interest.

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