Instead of muscles, the Bundeswehr wants to look more at the brain when recruiting special forces. Applicants can score points with drone experience.
Following a judgement by the European Court of Justice, the German Armed Forces opened up all military careers to women from 2001. However, there are still areas in the Bundeswehr that are dominated by men. These include – as in the police – the special forces.
This could now change for those in the Bundeswehr: The Special Forces Command (KSK) stationed in Calw, Baden-Württemberg, has fundamentally changed its selection process for training commando soldiers. “Now the psyche component and cognitive skills are being added to a much greater extent,” said the commander of the elite unit, Brigadier General Ansgar Meyer, to the German Press Agency. He is therefore optimistic that women will soon be able to pass the test. However, applicants must still be Bundeswehr soldiers.
To date, the special military forces have been kept ready for particularly difficult or dangerous missions behind enemy lines, including hostage rescues or evacuation missions. According to reports, the German government deployed KSK units to Cyprus and Jordan after the start of the Israeli war in Gaza, for example. Now that the Defence Minister wants to make the Bundeswehr “fit for war” again, the elite units could also be assigned new tasks.
The now changed selection procedure is part of a package of reforms to combat right-wing extremist tendencies in the elite unit in Calw. Following the discovery of several right-wing extremist incidents, the Ministry of Defence disbanded one of the two KSK companies in Calw three years ago.
However, KSK chief Meyer vigorously denies that it has now become easier to join the force. Anyone aspiring to become a command sergeant now has to go through two test phases in twelve weeks. The so-called “hell week” with long marches and elimination by knockout procedure if just one task is not completed will no longer exist. Lastly, there will be a third test phase for officers.
After the type of “toxic high performer”, the KSK is now also looking for people with technical experience. This includes drones in particular, the brigadier general explained to the “Tagesschau” programme. This domain is also in the hands of men: the Bundeswehr currently only has one female pilot for its large reconnaissance and combat drones from Israel.
Published in German in „nd“.
Image: Members of the KSK of the Bundeswehr demonstrate the newly structured recruitment test. There is also an Israeli flag hanging in the hall (KSK).