General Inspector of the Bundeswehr

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Service flag of the Inspector General of the Bundeswehr

The General Inspector of the Bundeswehr ( GenInspBw ) is the highest-ranking soldier in the Bundeswehr , the superior superior of all soldiers in the armed forces and their highest military representative. He is the military advisor to the Federal Minister of Defense and the Federal Government . His area of ​​responsibility includes the overall conception of military defense including planning and further development as well as the command of the armed forces. The inspector of the army , the air force , the navy , the medical service , the armed forces base and the cyber and information space report directly to him, as well as six other Bundeswehr departments that report directly to him.

The current Inspector General of the Bundeswehr has been General Eberhard Zorn since April 19, 2018 .

Position and Powers

The headquarters of the Inspector General is the Ministry of Defense in Berlin .

The General Inspector is appointed by the Federal President on the proposal of the Federal Defense Minister, but his term of office does not depend on that of the Federal Minister of Defense.

The General Inspector is the superior superior of all soldiers in the armed forces and also the superior of all civilian employees deployed there. He is part of the management of the BMVg. For the management of the Defense Ministry are under the Federal Minister two parliamentary and two civil servants secretaries . However, due to the primacy of politics , the General Inspector is subordinate to these .

Since 1970, the Inspector General has been assisted by a Brigadier General who is responsible for education and training and who exercises the Inspector General's right to inspect the troops in matters of education, training and internal management .


General Inspector since 1957

On June 1, 1957, General Adolf Heusinger, the first general inspector of the Bundeswehr founded on May 5, 1955, was appointed. The first deputy of the Inspector General was Lieutenant General Gustav-Adolf Kuntzen since 1964 .

In 1972, the first Admiral Armin Zimmermann became General Inspector and in 1976 General Harald Wust became the first Air Force officer.
With eleven office holders, the majority of the general inspectors were provided by the army branch; Two inspectors each came from the Air Force and the Navy.

The longest term of office to date was held by Volker Wieker (3868 days), followed by Wolfgang Schneiderhan with 2705 days and Ulrich de Maizière (2045 days). Hans-Peter von Kirchbach held the shortest term of office of 456 days.

Blankenese Decree 1970

On March 21, 1970, Defense Minister Helmut Schmidt passed the Blankenese decree on the occasion of a conference at the command academy of the Bundeswehr . For the first time, this regulated the position and powers of the Inspector General and defined him as “overall responsible for Bundeswehr planning in the Ministry of Defense”.

Berlin Decree 2005

On January 21, 2005, the Federal Defense Minister Peter Struck supplemented the Blankenese decree with the Berlin decree, which reorganized the top military structure in the Ministry of Defense and significantly strengthened the position of state secretaries . It was in effect until March 31, 2012. The Inspector General was below the civilian leadership, that is, the Defense Minister and, in his absence, the State Secretaries as holders of command and command , in a "prominent position" the "central military authority". The five inspectors and their management staff were subordinate. As the highest-ranking soldier in the Bundeswehr, he was its highest military representative and thus a representative of the Bundeswehr in the international bodies in which the chiefs of the staffs of the armed forces of allied or friendly states met. He was comparable to these, but did not have the same decision-making power as the chiefs of staff of other nations.

Another innovation was that the Inspector General was responsible for planning the armed forces and the operational capability of the armed forces. Accordingly, the powers of the individual inspectors have been reduced. The inspectors were still responsible for the operational readiness of the units subordinate to them , but "within the framework of the forces and resources allocated to them and approved structures". This means that the Inspector General decides which resources were available to the individual branches of the armed forces and military organizational areas.

The position of the inspectors of the three branches of the armed forces as superiors of their command areas remained, but the inspector general was now responsible for "armed forces-related ministerial tasks" and specified the "armed forces common principles". "This includes basic requirements for the organization of leadership, training, internal leadership and political education, for ensuring operational readiness and for assuming responsibility for materials". This reorganization of the powers made it possible for the Inspector General to decisively shape the character of the armed forces through training and internal leadership.

In addition, the General Inspector has been responsible for the planning, preparation, management and follow-up of all Bundeswehr operations since 2005.

The inspector general of the Bundeswehr had two deputies, one of whom was also the inspector of the armed forces base .

The Inspector General was supported in the performance of his duties by the following bodies:

  • The command staff of the armed forces (Fü S) was directly under him with seven staff departments and was coordinated by a chief of staff in the rank of major general or rear admiral . The command staff of the armed forces was also the military command authority, as it handled troop service and organizational area-specific matters of the armed forces base .
  • He was also supported by the inspectors and their management staff and advised by three bodies. These were the Military Leadership Council , the Operations Council and the Armaments Council.
    • The Military Leadership Council is composed of the Inspector General, who presides over it, and the Inspectors. In addition, the deputy inspector general and experts called in by the chairman take part in the meetings. The Military Leadership Council deals with armed forces-wide matters of fundamental importance, with the Inspector General ultimately making final decisions on his own responsibility.
    • As a further body, matters relating to the deployment of the Bundeswehr were discussed in the deployment council, coordinated for the ministry and presented appropriately to the management. If there was a disagreement, a decision could be made over the head of the Inspector General. The inspectors, the head of the armaments department, the heads of the civilian departments and the IT director were equal members of the task force.
    • The third body was the Armaments Council , in which questions of armaments, material and equipment planning and proposals for the budget and financial planning of the ministry were discussed.

Dresden Decree 2012

The powers of the inspector general were newly regulated in the Dresden Decree with effect from April 1, 2012. It follows on from the Blankeneser decree of 1970. The Berlin decree of January 21, 2005 and others have been repealed.

With the Dresden decree, the General Inspector received the operational resources and hierarchical powers with which he can actually manage. Overall, the powers of the Inspector General are now comparable to those of the top soldiers of the NATO allies (Chiefs of Staff).

The armed forces are “subordinate to the Inspector General in all respects”. He is the immediate superior of the soldiers of the armed forces according to §1 Superiors Ordinance .

The inspector general is the chairman of the military leadership council , in which matters of fundamental importance to the armed forces are dealt with. It serves to form the will and the preparation of decisions for the general inspector. However, the management board has no formal decision-making powers.

The Inspector General is also responsible for the planning, preparation, management and follow-up of Bundeswehr operations. He leads the missions via the “Strategy and Operations” department in the Ministry of Defense and via the Bundeswehr Operations Command . All department heads of the Ministry of Defense are obliged to work with the Inspector General.


In accordance with the federal salary regulation (BBesO), the general inspector receives an official allowance in addition to the basic salary of salary group B10 (general or admiral, four stars) . Since April 1, 2019, the basic monthly salary in B10 has been € 14,048.61 gross.

List of inspectors general of the Bundeswehr

No. Rank and name image Start of office End of office Under minister
16 General Eberhard Zorn ( Army ) Eberhard Zorn 180919-D-PB383-004 (44066821474) .jpg since April 19, 2018 Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU)
Ursula von der Leyen ( CDU )
15th General Volker Wieker (Army) 562955-U-QQU34-174 German Army Gen.  Volker Wieker - Legion of Merit 2015.jpg January 21, 2010 April 18, 2018 Ursula von der Leyen (CDU)
Thomas de Maizière (CDU)
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg ( CSU )
14th General Wolfgang Schneiderhan (Army) Gene Wolfgang Schneiderhan.jpg July 1, 2002 November 26, 2009 Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (CSU)
Franz Josef Jung (CDU)
Peter Struck ( SPD )
Rudolf Scharping (SPD)
13 General Harald Kujat ( Air Force ) Harald Kujat.jpg July 1, 2000 June 30, 2002 Rudolf Scharping (SPD)
12 General Hans-Peter von Kirchbach (Army) Military-personnel-gray-icon.png April 1, 1999 June 30, 2000 Rudolf Scharping (SPD)
11 General Hartmut Bagger (Army) DF-ST-92-09294 Brig. GEN.  Hartmut Bagger, a German officer, addresses the crowd of civilians and military personnel of the US Army's 1ST Infantry Division.jpeg February 8, 1996 March 31, 1999 Rudolf Scharping (SPD)
Volker Rühe (CDU)
10 General Klaus Naumann (Army) Klaus Naumann.jpg October 1, 1991 February 8, 1996 Volker Rühe (CDU)
Gerhard Stoltenberg (CDU)
9 Admiral Dieter Wellershoff ( Navy ) Wellershoff-2.jpg October 1, 1986 September 30, 1991 Gerhard Stoltenberg (CDU)
Rupert Scholz (CDU)
Manfred Wörner (CDU)
8th General Wolfgang Altenburg (Army) Wolfgang Altenburg 1983.jpg April 1, 1983 September 30, 1986 Manfred Wörner (CDU)
7th General Jürgen Brandt (Army) Military-personnel-gray-icon.png December 12, 1978 March 31, 1983 Manfred Wörner (CDU)
Hans Apel (SPD)
6th General Harald Wust (Air Force) Air-force-personnel-icon.png December 21, 1976 December 11, 1978 Georg Leber (SPD)
5 Admiral Armin Zimmermann (Navy) Bundesarchiv Bild 146-2005-0032, Armin Zimmermann.jpg April 1, 1972 November 30, 1976 Georg Leber (SPD)
4th General Ulrich de Maizière (Army) General Ulrich de Maizière - Inspector General of the Bundeswehr.jpg August 25, 1966 March 31, 1972 Helmut Schmidt (SPD)
Gerhard Schröder (CDU)
Kai-Uwe von Hassel (CDU)
3 General Heinz Trettner (Army) Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1970-016-17, Heinz Trettner.jpg January 1, 1964 August 25, 1966 Kai-Uwe von Hassel (CDU)
2 General Friedrich Foertsch (Army) Federal archive picture 146-2005-0031, Friedrich Foertsch.jpg April 1, 1961 December 31, 1963 Kai-Uwe von Hassel (CDU)
Franz Josef Strauss (CSU)
1 General Adolf Heusinger (Army) Bundesarchiv Bild 146-2005-0030, Adolf Heusinger.jpg June 1, 1957 March 31, 1961 Franz Josef Strauss (CSU)

The inspectors general Heusinger, Altenburg, Naumann and Kujat became chairmen of the NATO military committee after their term of office .


Service flag of the Deputy Chief Inspector of the Bundeswehr (since 2004)

The inspector general of the Bundeswehr has a deputy with the rank of lieutenant general or vice admiral who represents him, but does not represent his own ministerial authority. (II. 2nd Dresden Decree)

From its establishment in 1964 until 2003, he was also the inspector of the Bundeswehr Central Military Services .

After the command staff of the armed forces and the command staff of the armed forces base were merged in 2003, there was a second deputy inspector general in the form of the inspector of the armed forces base with the title Deputy Inspector General of the Bundeswehr and inspector of the armed forces base . In his capacity as deputy, he was also not a ministerial authority. He was also the inspector of the armed forces base and thus the superior of the armed forces base and represented the inspector general in the management of the armed forces. Subordinate to him u. a. the department for legal advisors and universities of the Bundeswehr . He is also the agent for reservist matters .

List of the Deputy Chief Inspector of the Bundeswehr

No. Rank and name image TSK Start of office End of office
22nd Lieutenant General Markus Laubenthal
Markus Laubenthal.jpg
army April 2020
21st Vice Admiral Joachim Rühle Navy-personnel-icon.png marine July 2017 March 2020
20th Lieutenant General Markus Kneip Three march over the bridge Markus Kneip.jpg army October 2015 July 2017
19th Lieutenant General Peter Schelzig Peter Schelzig.jpg air force May 2013 September 2015
18th Lieutenant General Günter Weiler Military-personnel-gray-icon.png army September 2010 April 2013
17th Lieutenant General Johann-Georg Dora Air-force-personnel-icon.png air force April 2005 September 2010
16 Lieutenant General Dirk Böcker Air-force-personnel-icon.png air force October 2002 March 2005
15th Vice Admiral Rainer Feist Navy-personnel-icon.png marine October 2000 September 2002
14th Lieutenant General Hartmut Moede Air-force-personnel-icon.png air force 1999 2000
13 Vice Admiral Hans Frank Navy-personnel-icon.png marine 1994 1999
12 Lieutenant General Jürgen Schnell Air-force-personnel-icon.png air force 1991 1994
11 Lieutenant General Siegfried Storbeck Military-personnel-gray-icon.png army 1987 1991
10 Lieutenant General Horst Jungkurth Air-force-personnel-icon.png air force 1985 1987
9 Lieutenant General Walter Windisch Air-force-personnel-icon.png air force 1982 1985
8th Lieutenant General Helmut Heinz Air-force-personnel-icon.png air force 1979 1982
7th Lieutenant General Johannes Poeppel Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F061334-0005, Bonn, Schmidt receives Army Inspector Poeppel.jpg army 1978 1979
6th Lieutenant General Rüdiger von Reichert Military-personnel-gray-icon.png army 1976 1978
5 Lieutenant General Harald Wust Air-force-personnel-icon.png air force 1975 1976
4th Lieutenant General Karl Schnell Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F039688-0018, Bonn, Federal President with Lieutenant General Schnell.jpg army 1973 1975
3 Lieutenant General Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven Military-personnel-gray-icon.png army 1971 1973
2 Lieutenant General Herbert Büchs Air-force-personnel-icon.png air force 1967 1971
1 Lieutenant General Gustav-Adolf Kuntzen Military-personnel-gray-icon.png army 1964 1967


See also

Web links

Commons : Berliner Erlass  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Helmut Schmidt : Reclassification of the military area in the BMVtdg . Ed .: The Federal Minister of Defense. Hamburg-Blankenese March 21, 1970 ( online [PDF; 1.4 MB ] Blankenese decree). online ( Memento of the original from January 16, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. a b c d e f Peter Struck : Instructions on the implementation of the principles for task allocation, organization and procedures in the field of top military structure . Ed .: Federal Ministry of Defense. Berlin January 21, 2005 ( online [PDF; 690  kB ] Berlin Decree). online ( Memento of the original from January 16, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. ^ Speech by the Federal Minister of Defense on the Dresden Decree. In: March 21, 2012, accessed June 20, 2014 .
  4. a b c Thomas de Maizière : Principles for the top structure, subordination relationships and management organization in the Federal Ministry of Defense and the Federal Armed Forces . Ed .: The Federal Minister. Dresden March 22, 2012 ( online [PDF; 5.6  MB ] Dresden Decree). online ( Memento of the original from January 16, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. ^ Claire Hughes: New Deputy Inspector General: Lieutenant General Markus Laubenthal. In: BMVg. Federal Ministry of Defense, March 4, 2020, accessed on March 5, 2020 .
  6. Claudia Schenck: Vice-Admiral Joachim Rühle is the new deputy of the Inspector General. Federal Ministry of Defense, July 24, 2017, accessed on July 24, 2017 .
  7. a b Personnel changes in top military and civilian positions - August 2015. In: Personal. Bundeswehr, August 19, 2015, accessed on October 7, 2015 .