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Military Engineering in the German Bundeswehr

Germany implemented the function Military Engineering (MILENG) in accordance with NATO's Military Committee's Policy MC 560/2 in the regulation "Military Engineering in the Bundeswehr".

Interestingly enough DEU use the NATO term "Military Engineering" as there is no German equivalent military term which encompasses the broad field in the NATO sense. DEU MILENG follows NATO's definition and supports all operations in all phases by enabling or preventing movements, providing life support, protecting the force, developing and managing deployed forces infrastructure and incorporates environmental protection. It makes a significant contribution to countering IEDs. DEU MILENG is the activity regardless of component or service to shape the physical environment.

The capabilities for the MILENG function in the Bundeswehr are fragmented over the MOD and the civilian and military services.

Ministry of Defence (BMVg)

The overall coordinating authority for MILENG is with the directorate-general Strategy and Operations (Abteilung Strategie und Einsatz (SE)). A MILENG coordination group consisting of representatives from MOD and all civilian and military services under the chairmanship of the Senior Joint Engineer Bundeswehr (SJEBw) provided by the Army and the Deputy Chairman provided by Infrastructure, Environmental Protection (EP) and Services Service (IUD) is currently working on a concept Procedures and Execution of MILENG in the Bundeswehr.

For specialist areas and aspects of MILENG authority remains with the respective directorates-general MOD e.g. Forces Policy (FüSK) for EOD and Infrastructure, EP and Services (IUD) for infrastructure in operations.

DEU is the Framework Nation for the NATO Military Engineering Centre of Excellence with 16 NATO-Nations which provides subject matter expertise for standardisation, interoperability, defence planning in NATO and conducts courses for MILENG staff in NCS/NFS and national HQs and CPs.


The DEU Army as the main proponent for land based operations is supported by army engineers, the classical sappers, on manoeuvre brigade level in particular for the roles mobility, counter-mobility and sustainability. The structure is 6 Engineer Battalions with the heavy brigades and 3 independent engineer companies with the airmobile brigade and DEU-FRA brigade are activated in the current army structure HEER2011.

They include forces for EOD with route clearance and breaching capabilities and for mobility for instance limited amphibious (M3 rigs) and floating bridge (IRB) capabilities.

MILENG staff elements for the coordination and allocation of MILENG efforts exists on Engineer Battalion-, Brigade- and Division level.

The SJEBw is generally manned with the Senior Engineer Army and Commander DEU Army Engineer Training Centre.

Airforce (Lw)

The DEU Airforce provides the capability for Airfield Damage Repair, random sustainability tasks and for special airforce EOD requirements with an Airforce Engineer Company as part of the Base Protection Regiment (ObjSRgtLw). The Flying Groups have additional airforce engineer sections.

For general engineer support and EOD the airforce engineers require reinforcement by army engineers.

Joint Service Support (SKB)

The SKB provides with the Specialized Engineer Regiment capabilities for field-camps in early stages of operations and supports POL transport and storage with pipeline and bulk fuel installations. It comprises of 9 Companies and has also capabilities to support sustainment tasks.

Infrastructure, EP and Services (IUD)

The Federal Office for Infrastructure, EP and Services (BAIUDBw) is in charge for the follow-on infrastructure and infrastructure management in missions.

This encompasses planning, contracting and managing construction tasks and the operation of bases and installations with the specialized civilian and military staff of this service.

BAIUDBw manages the remaining parts of the Central Europe Pipeline System in DEUthrough the Fernleitungsbetriebsgesellschaft (FBG) and is the planning and execution authority for construction, maintenance and sustainment.

The service provides the Deputy SJEBw with the Director Infrastructure Directorate BAIUDBw.

Summary and outlook

The Bundeswehr has implemented NATO's Military Engineering not only as a term but with already existing and future capabilities. Only Military Search requires further consideration. Harmonization and delineation of authority and responsibilities for policy, concept, doctrine and training requires an all arms effort for accomplishment.

The equipment is state of the art but only quite sufficient and in line with NATO's back shift to collective defence especially counter-mobility and mobility enabling means are really scarce and need reinforcement. First decisions to set up a second Amphibious Bridging Coy M3, an additional engineer unit and to keep and not to disband an independent airmobile Engineer Company are taken. Anti-tank mine capabilities will be re-fielded.

The DEU Framework Nation Concept unfortunately does not foresee a MILENG cluster but multilateral talks are ongoing to activate a multinational Bridging Battalion.

The capabilities for early stage accommodation are very limited and require additional manning and equipment to sustain.

Although there are still "not enough engineers" for all roles and tasks, Bundeswehr Joint Military Engineering is ready to support all operations and missions to shape successfully the physical operating environment for the currently required national level of ambition. If NATO's minimum military requirements in accordance with the most demanding scenario for collective defence will increase, especially the Army will have to rethink the capabilities and capacities it must then provide.