€100bn boost sees Germany join world's top three defence spenders

The previously under-equipped German military is set to be boosted by €100bn in defence spending, with a German general telling Forces News the increase has been welcomed by his brigade.

Having now been approved by both Houses of the German Parliament, the increase in funds rockets Germany into the world's top three defence spenders, with only the United States and China spending more.

Brigade General Stephan Willer, Commander 21st German Armoured Brigade, told Forces News following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, that it is not "only politicians interested in the debate about defence".

"When I speak privately to my soldiers there's very great awareness and interest and I am firmly convinced that we must retain this interest by proactively keeping them informed. 

The increase in German military spending comes after Russia shocked Berlin with the invasion of Ukraine, alongside Germany's military help during the country's flooding and the COVID-19 pandemic earning public respect.

Brig Gen Willer was speaking from the Defender Europe Exercise, which has seen Americans join German 21st Armoured Brigade troops near Poland on Germany's Oberlausitz training area.

He added that the Ukraine conflict has focused German military minds.

"It's a very, very clear reminder to me, personally, but also to my soldiers, how important it is to be well trained and able to fight together."

Watch: Poland and Ukraine set for $700m arms deal.

The defence spending plans have drawn worldwide attention, including visits from America's second highest ranking military officer Admiral Christopher Grady.  

But the increase will also promise NATO's largest conventional army in Europe. 

"This signal from the politicians," Brig Gen Willer said, "has gone down well in my brigade because we're not yet at a level that you'd call fully equipped and this means that we will have kit at our disposal."

He hopes this includes kit of the quality already in the 21st German Armoured Brigade inventory, such as modern multirole Boxer armoured vehicles, Leopard 2 tanks and Pumas.

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