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Development and Structure of Defence Spending in the FRG under the Aspect of the National Economy, 1955 - 1998

Resource Type
  • Hintz, Frank K.
Publication Date
  • ZA:
    • Historical Studies Data
  • Abstract

    The defence budget is influenced by the ,Bundeswehrplan’, i.e. the basic plan for the German Federal Armed Forces. Generally speaking, the defence budget ranges permanently between the military requirements as concerns the army`s defence mandate and the financial and economic possibilities which are politically justifiable. These considerations are the starting point for the empiric and descriptive study in hand, analysing the development and structure of Germany`s defence spending since the formation of the German Federal Armed Forces. Doubtless the level of defence spending correlates with the scale and intensity of the armed forces` tasks. Hereby, the analysis focuses not only on the military aspects, but also on the political, economic, and social determinants, which influence the scale of the defence tasks and, thereby, the amount of defence spending. Furthermore, any possibility to rationalise the maintenance of the German Federal Armed Forces, which could be effected by an internal optimisation and by a privatisation of services wherever useful, are weighed up with regard to the political objective of a “Slim state”. Due to the exponential increase of costs as to any project development and procurement, armament cooperations with partner states have become necessary for the implementation of major armament projects in the face of reduced budgets and a decreasing national production. In addition, the intensive involvement of the Federal Republic of Germany in international defence structures brought about new aspects and demands, which comply with the interests of all people seaking security. However, the morality and acceptance of a future Security Policy within our society will depend essentially on the satisfaction of such need for security, and on the functions of military force hereby, applied within the scope of peace securing measures.” (Hintz, F. K., 2000: Entwicklung und Struktur bundesdeutscher Verteidigungsausgaben aus staatswirtschaftlicher Sicht [Development and Structure of the Defence Spending of the FRG under the Aspect of the National Economy]. Dissertation, University of Koblenz-Landau, abstract). The empirical part of this study can be outlined as follows: (1) Structure of defence budget: The defence budget includes all estimated and expectable budgetary revenues, considering the payable budget expenditures as well as the respectively required commitment authorisations, established posts, and other positions within the area of operations of the German Federal Ministry of Defence. In accordance with the vertical classification of the budget, the ‘content’ of the Single Plan No. 14 (“Einzelplan 14”, area of operations of the Federal Ministry of Defence, Bonn) is divided into single ‘chapters’. Each such chapter, in its turn, is partitioned by single ‘titles’, according to an arrangement plan for the federal budget. 2) Development of defence spending: The defence expenditures are presented by means of a level-related analysis (absolute in relation to the gross domestic product or GDP) and an analysis focused on structure. In the respective documents published by the German Federal Ministry of Defence, (non-intensive) operational expenditures are distinguished from defence-intensive expenditures. In doing so, all operational costs are classified in three categories: personnel costs, materials, and other operational costs. Accordingly, all defence-intensive expenditures are listed in four categories: research, development, and testing; military acquirements; military facilities; other investments. Finally, the expenditures are shown as per the different sections of the armed forces: army, air force, and navy. (3) International comparison: Since there is a lack of more reliable figures about e.g. the member states of the Warsaw Treaty Organization, this international comparison is limited to the NATO states. The NATO defines the term “defence expenditure” as “the national governments` expenditures which are exclusively intended for the countries` armed forces”; in terms of the NATO regulations, this is a binding definition. Furthermore, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has developed standardised criteria in this regard. Hereby the German defence expenditures are differentiated. Apart from the above-mentioned “Single Plan No. 14”, which comprises approximately 80% of the defence spending as accounted for by the NATO, also other expenses on the part of the German federal government are implied herein (e.g. regulations for the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces, the “Wehrbeauftragter”, as specified in the Single Plan No. 02, defence and armament support for other countries, the NATO civil budget as defined in the Single Plan No. 05, the German Border Police [Single Plan No. 06], and retirement pensions for members of the armed forces [Single Plan No. 33]). Factual classification of corresponding data tables in the search and downloadsystem HISTAT (Historical Statistics; Federal Republic of Germany 1. Defence budget and gross domestic product (1960-1997) 2. National expenditures according to different purposes (1952-1998) 3. Defence budget und national budget (1955-1998) 4. Defence budget (nominal/real) (1955-1998) 5. Operational expenditures and defence-intensive expenses (1955-1998) 6. Defence budget according to the sections of the armed forces (1960-1997) NATO 7.1.1 NATO defence spending in million dollars from 1973 on (1956-1976) 7.1.2 NATO defence spending in million dollars from 1980 on (1977-1986) 7.1.3 NATO defence spending in million dollars from 1990 on (1987-1996) 7.2 NATO defence spending in precent as compared to the preceding year (growth rates) (1956-1996) 7.3 NATO defence spending in percent (1956-1996) 7.4 NATO defence spending per capita of the population in dollars (1987-1996) 7.5 NATO defence spending in percent of the gross domestic product (1956-1995) 7.6 NATO personnel costs (1987-1996) 7.7 NATO other operational expenditures (1987-1996) 7.8 NATO defence-intensive expenditures (1987-1996) Timeseries are downloadable via the online system HISTAT (
Temporal Coverage
  • 1955 / 1998
Geographic Coverage
  • Germany (DE)
    Federal Republik of Germany (FRG) 1955 to 1989, from 1991: Germany
  • NATO-Memberstates
Collection Mode
  • Sources: Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Defense, Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden Nato Information Service, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Data and File Information
  • Unit Type: Text Unit
    Number of Units: 44
    Number of Variables: 369
A - Data and documents are released for academic research and teaching.
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Alternative Identifiers
  • ZA8237 (Type: ZA-No.)
  • Hintz, Frank Klaus: Entwicklung und Struktur bundesdeutscher Verteidigungsausgaben aus staatswirtschaftlicher Sicht. Dissertation, Universität Koblenz-Landau, 2000.

Update Metadata: 2017-12-29 | Issue Number: 74 | Registration Date: 2010-07-23

Hintz, Frank K. (2006): Entwicklung und Struktur bundesdeutscher Verteidigungsausgaben aus staatswirtschaftlicher Sicht, 1955 bis 1998. Version: 1.0.0. GESIS Datenarchiv. Dataset.