Keeping an eye on the digitalization of the armed forces: Nina Doetsch

Keeping an eye on the digitalization of the armed forces: Nina Doetsch

Reading time:

Nina Doetsch is a senior civil servant at the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw). There, she provides support for several ITInformationstechnik projects, ranging from modern radio equipment to the procurement of high-performance software, to promote the digitalization of the armed forces.

Nina Doetsch, senior civil servant, portrait photo

Nina Doetsch, senior civil servant

2022 Bundeswehr/Dirk Bannert

Having obtained her legal degree at the University of Bonn, she had her internship in Darmstadt, followed by four years as company lawyer in Frankfurt, so she has a lot of experience. As a fully trained lawyer, she is also qualified to hold judicial office. Both her qualification and her experience are very useful to her in her daily work in the “Information Technology” Directorate. She gives legal input on complex ITInformationstechnik projects with a contract value that often exceeds EUR 25 million.

How did you end up at BAAINBwBundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr?

I grew up in Koblenz and already knew the office, formerly known as Federal Office of Defense Technology and Procurement, when I still went to school. My mother was a translator in their language department, and through her I gained my first insights into the BAAINBwBundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr structures. Additionally, during my studies, I had an internship with BAAINBwBundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr. My decision to apply for a post here then got a boost when I visited on the open day. 

What exactly are the tasks of your assignment?

A procurement project always has both technical, i.e. engineering, and legal support, from lawyers like myself. 
I give my legal input to the project, beginning with the invitation to tender, until contract conclusion. In this period, I monitor the adherence to the numerous legal framework conditions.
In addition, I draw up the relevant contracts, conduct contract negotiations with industry and monitor the correct execution of these contracts.

What do you think is the most interesting part of your work?

JEvery contract award is an individual challenge. The technical aspect is interesting for me as a lawyer and makes my work rich and varied. Researching and dealing with a technical project, as well as cooperating closely with non-lawyers always is challenging and exciting.

A young woman in a military vehicle, looking at a screen

Even as legal expert, Nina Doetsch attends functional tests: The delivery must be in line with the contract.

2022 Bundeswehr/Dirk Bannert

No contract is like the other. There always are minor or major obstacles in the course of procedures or contract implementation. But, as a rule, we solve these problems with a creative approach. 

What puts variety in your office day?

Variety is ensured by meetings at the different companies, the exciting contract negotiations and travelling to the Bundeswehr technical centers where the procured products or equipment undergo trials before being fielded. Very important to me is also the daily contact with my colleagues and the very good team spirit. 

What do you consider to have been your most exciting project?

So far, one of the most exciting projects for me was the Bundeswehr “Battle Management System” (BMSBattle Management System) project. 
It is a digital command and control system for land-based operations. The system enables the exchange of information between the military vehicles of a unit with all available communications equipment like radios. In the background, situational data is distributed by the BMSBattle Management System via the radio connection, and is made available in a usable form to the individual soldier on the battlefield. This helps soldiers to accomplish their mission and facilitates orientation in the terrain.
For instance, this system is integrated in the Eagle IV, and for the VJTFVery High Readiness Joint Task Force 2023, it will be used in a joint mission with NATO allies for the very first time.

And what do you do after work?

All sorts of endurance sports like the preparation for a marathon or the Strongman Run help me unwind from work, but I am not averse to an occasional after-work drink with my colleagues, either.