Berlin (dpa) - The incidents in the Special Forces Command (KSK) are viewed in the Bundeswehr leadership as evidence of long-term tolerated construction errors in the elite unit.
"The causes that led to the undesirable developments and grievances go back a long way", says an internal letter with which the inspector of the army, Lieutenant General Anton Mais, informed the inspector general Eberhard Zorn about the state of the investigation.
In connection with the discovery of a weapon stash by a KSK soldier in May of last year, Mais writes of "incidents of an unimaginable dimension".
In recent years, the KSK has been rocked by several scandals involving right-wing extremist incidents.
The current KSK commander Markus Kreitmayr took over the command in 2018 and is supposed to lead a reform process that has now faltered.
The brigadier general is charged with the fact that his soldiers were able to throw hoarded or possibly stolen ammunition into boxes ("amnesty boxes") between March and May of last year without any consequences.
Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer wants to present the state of the art to specialist politicians in the Bundestag on Wednesday.
Mais writes that in his first year as an inspector he made six visits to the KSK home barracks in Calw (Baden-Württemberg).
«Then I come to the conclusion that organizational errors in the basic set-up of the KSK, continuous training, exercise and operational pressure at the highest level, lack of regeneration phases, ongoing staff gaps, overload in basic administrative operations as well as non-existent overpressure compensation within the special forces of the Army have created a climate in which individuals and groups of members of the KSK have obviously lost orientation, measure and focus in their individual attitudes and their professional performance, ”he states in the letter.
It circulates in the Ministry of Defense and is available to the German Press Agency.
The highest army soldier announces that he will deal with any breach of duty according to the rules and also involve the public prosecutor's offices.
However, he pleads for trust in the soldiers serving in the KSK today, who are not responsible for the general conditions.
With a view to possible danger situations, he defends that investigations were initially focused on right-wing extremism and a lack of ammunition, and not on ammunition that was illegally collected but then also seized.
It is also important not to question the capabilities of the KSK in view of a “volatile security policy situation”.
The internal and external pressure "will not remain without effects on operational readiness," he warns.
Deviations from the norm should only be allowed where it is absolutely necessary.
However, the opposition in the Bundestag has already indicated that it wants to get to the bottom of all allegations against the commando soldiers.
The pressure to provide information remains and is aimed primarily at the ministry.
There was criticism recently because details of the "amnesty" for the return of hoarded or stolen ammunition have not been made public by the ministry, although the army had reported this to the top.
The allegation is still in the room that Kreitmayr made the single-handed decision to set up collecting bins, possibly even inventing the method.
But it doesn't seem that way anymore.
For example, a guideline from April 2019 on “ammunition safety when stocking ammunition in action” - mind you in action - stipulates that so-called “amnesty boxes” were used for safety and were intended to prevent “black stocks” of ammunition in the troops.
The guideline specifies the procedure if, after completion of an assignment and return to the field camp or at the end of the mission before returning home, unused ammunition or ammunition that has not been returned to the supply chain is with the soldiers.
In terms of ammunition safety, it should then be stored in a so-called "Amnesty Box".
And: "If ammunition is found during the regular inspection of the" Amnesty Box ", it must then be treated like found ammunition."
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210302-99-658495 / 2
Bundeswehr, Special Forces Command (KSK)