Defense Commissioner of the German Bundestag

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The office of the Defense Commissioner of the German Bundestag ( WB ) was created in 1956 in accordance with Art. 45b of the Basic Law as an auxiliary body of the Bundestag in exercising parliamentary control over the Bundeswehr . The more detailed provisions are regulated by the law on the Defense Commissioner of the German Bundestag (WBeauftrG).


Legal position / legal basis

Under constitutional law, the office of the defense commissioner is regulated in Art. 45b of the Basic Law (GG). In addition, according to Art. 45b sentence 2 GG there is the law on the defense commissioner of the German Bundestag (short: WBeauftrG). The Armed Forces Commissioner is not a civil servant, but has a public-law office relationship and at the same time may not hold any other salaried office or exercise any other profession. According to the prevailing opinion (h. M.), the Armed Forces Commissioner is part of the legislature as an “auxiliary body of the Bundestag”. His salary results from § 18 Abs. 1 WBeauftrG in connection with § 11 Abs. 1 Bundesministergesetz and corresponds to the salary group B 11 .


Pursuant to Section 13 WBeauftrG, a majority of the members of the Bundestag is required to be elected . He is elected for five years and appointed by the President of the Bundestag . The Defense Committee , the Bundestag parliamentary groups and as many MPs as correspond to the strength of a parliamentary group according to the rules of procedure are entitled to make proposals .


The Armed Forces Commissioner Act stipulates that the Armed Forces Commissioner will always act at the request of soldiers of the Bundeswehr or on his own initiative if he becomes aware of circumstances that suggest a violation of the basic rights of soldiers or the principles of Innereführung . According to § 7 WBeauftrG, every soldier in the Bundeswehr has the right “ to contact the military commissioner directly without having to comply with official channels . Because of the fact that the defense commissioner has been called upon, he may not be disciplined or discriminated against. The Commissioner for the Armed Forces has to report to the German Bundestag in a written report on his work every year. His rights include the fact that he can visit any Bundeswehr agency without registering, can request information and access to files and that he is not bound by instructions - with the exception of the German Bundestag and the Defense Committee.

Official seat

The Commissioner for the Armed Forces was based in the former building of the Hotel Godesberger Hof in the Bad Godesberg district of Bonn until 1999 . The new official seat is at Neustädtische Kirchstrasse 15 on the corner of Neustädtische Kirchstrasse and Dorotheenstrasse in Berlin-Mitte . Diagonally opposite, at Neustadtische Kirchstrasse 4-5 , was the US embassy until 2008.

The Armed Forces Commissioner in the development and consolidation phase of the Bundeswehr

The annual reports of the Armed Forces Commissioner often contained an unpleasant picture of leadership during the development phase of the Bundeswehr. The Bundeswehr was built up with the involvement of members of the Federal Border Police and the former Wehrmacht . The Inner Guidance concept , according to which every soldier - including conscripts - remained “citizens in uniform”, was not only new to them, but was also partially rejected. Even later, the reports contain complaints from mostly conscripts about violations of fundamental rights and harassment by superiors, but the focus changes due to submissions from temporary and professional soldiers on personnel, welfare, career and status issues. The number of complaints grew to an annual average of 6,000. The Armed Forces Commissioner grew accordingly and focused its work more on prevention.

Development of the submissions to the Armed Forces Commissioner

The following graphic shows the number of entries to the military commissioners up to 2019, based on 1,000 soldiers. The highest value was achieved with 27.7 entries in the 2013 reporting year, the lowest with 9.6 entries per 1,000 soldiers in the 1966 reporting year.

Report of the Armed Forces Commissioner 2019

Working method of the military commissioner

The Armed Forces Commissioner has various sources of knowledge. On the one hand, he has personal impressions from troop visits and other discussions with soldiers. In addition, numerous soldiers write to him in writing every year. In order to fulfill his tasks, the armed forces officer can rely on his around 50 employees when processing the entries. In order to be able to evaluate the inputs, statements must be requested from the Bundeswehr. According to § 9 WBeauftrG, however, the sender should be granted confidentiality about his input and his name if he so wishes. The statements are then - if necessary after extensive investigations on the part of the responsible military superiors - evaluated by the Armed Forces Commissioner and the result is communicated to the sender of the submission. Since the Armed Forces Commissioner himself does not have any executive options, necessary remedial measures must be taken by the military superiors.

Defense Commissioner since 1959

Eva Högl Hans-Peter Bartels Hellmut Königshaus Reinhold Robbe Willfried Penner Claire Marienfeld Alfred Biehle Willi Weiskirch Karl Wilhelm Berkhan Fritz-Rudolf Schultz Matthias Hoogen Hellmuth Heye Helmuth von Grolman

Since the office was introduced in 1959, a total of twelve people have held the office of Defense Commissioner of the German Bundestag. Five defense commissioners were elected from the camp of the Union factions (CDU, CSU), as many from the SPD and two from the FDP. The first defense commissioner, Helmuth von Grolman, was non-party.

The military commissioner's own military service

Of the eleven male military commissioners of the German Bundestag, nine did military service (or military service). Six held an officer rank (or reserve officer rank ). Hellmuth Heye and Helmuth von Grolman were high-ranking and decorated admirals and generals of the Wehrmacht . Military commissioners Hellmut Königshaus and Hans-Peter Bartels have served in the Bundeswehr so ​​far. The only person doing community service was Reinhold Robbe. Wilfried Penner belonged to the so-called white class for whom there was no conscription. Claire Marienfeld and Eva Högl did not do any voluntary military service, as women they were not subject to any compulsory military or alternative service anyway.


Web links

Wiktionary: Armed Forces Commissioner  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ List of Abbreviations. (XLSX; 27 kB) Abbreviations for the constitutional organs, the highest federal authorities and the highest federal courts. In: Federal Office of Administration (BVA), accessed on May 23, 2017 .
  2. Klein, Maunz / Dürig: Basic Law Commentary, 73rd EGL 2014, Rn. 14th
  3. ^ Annual report 2010 of the Armed Forces Commissioner ; PDF; 853 kB
  4. a b Briefing by the Commissioner for the Armed Forces - Annual Report 2019 (61st report). (PDF; 3.8 MB) Defense Commissioner of the German Bundestag, January 28, 2020, pp. 96/97 , accessed on May 5, 2020 .
  5. ^ The Armed Forces Commissioner since 1959. German Bundestag, accessed on February 6, 2013 .