Two wheeled tanks drive one behind the other on a road.

Mission of the Bundeswehr Homeland Defence Command

Homeland security, administrative assistance, but also the support of allied and friendly armed forces: The Bundeswehr Homeland Defence Command has now been established in Berlin to ensure the fulfilment of these Bundeswehr tasks in Germany from under one roof.

What does the Bundeswehr Homeland Defence Command do?

The Bundeswehr Homeland Defence Command is mainly responsible for the command, control and coordination of Bundeswehr homeland security operations in Germany. In peacetime, this includes, for example, providing administrative assistance and performing disaster relief tasks, as was the case during the flood disaster in the Ahr valley or with the comprehensive support services rendered during the COVID-19Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic. However, the build-up and training of homeland security reservist forces and the territorial reserve are also important aspects of the Bundeswehr Homeland Defence Command’s remit.

In addition to its homeland security tasks, it also acts as the command authority responsible for the reception, staging, onward movement and integration of forces. In other words, it is responsible for bringing together materiel and personnel from different areas of the Bundeswehr in Germany in order to then move them to the respective mission area. These overall coordination tasks are carried out by the Bundeswehr Homeland Defence Command.

The same applies to the provision of support for allied and friendly nations when transiting or staying in Germany. As with homeland security, host nation support is a task that is carried out in close consultation and coordination with the federal states. In the event of Article 5 being invoked in a state of tension, for example, the mission of the Bundeswehr Homeland Defence Command centres around national territorial defence.

Peace – Crisis – War – Hybrid

In addition to ensuring homeland security tasks in peacetime, the Bundeswehr Homeland Defence Command is also responsible for fulfilling important tasks within Germany in times of crisis and in the scope of national and collective defence operations. It is thus imperative that the Bundeswehr Homeland Defence Command has a functioning command and control structure that can be rapidly and effectively brought to bear across all spectrums. Prior to a state of tension being declared in Germany, it may, for example, be the case that Article 5 has been invoked but with Germany remaining in a state of peace. In such a case, it is of particular importance to integrate the respective federal and state responsibilities in the planning regarding host nation support, the protection of defence critical infrastructure or the deployment of German elements. The Bundeswehr Homeland Defence Command has such technical expertise at its disposal.

It is important to lay the foundations today so as to be able to prepare as quickly as possible for different scenarios. Even at this point, the interfaces with federal and state authorities must be established, awareness built up and relationships intensified in order to act quickly and purposefully in a changed situation. At the boundary between external and internal security and between the responsibilities of the individual actors for Germany’s security, hybrid threats in particular make close coordination and the capability to respond quickly as part of a good network especially important.

National Territorial Commander

National territorial tasks include tasks such as ensuring homeland security, providing support to partner countries when deploying through Germany (host nation support) or coordinating RSOI (reception, staging, onward movement and integration) operations in Germany. These tasks are the responsibility of the National Territorial Commander. In addition to the Command’s 22 regular subordinate agencies, servicemen and women from other areas of the Bundeswehr are assigned to the National Territorial Commander if necessary.

If Bundeswehr support is required, such as in the case of operations in response to a natural disaster, the National Territorial Commander exercises command and control over all servicemen and women employed to render administrative assistance, including, for example, Army or Air Force personnel. He thus coordinates these servicemen and women so as to quickly and effectively bring the right people and the right material and equipment to the place of need. The Bundeswehr thus makes a significant contribution to whole-of-government security provision on the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany.

A further Bundeswehr Homeland Defence Command task has evolved from the experiences made during the most recent flood disaster and the work done by the COVID-19Coronavirus Disease 2019 Crisis Staff at the Federal Chancellery. In particular situations, it must be possible to provide a crisis management team to the Federal Government that can quickly start work. In view of the current situation, this task will already be integrated and ensured while the new command is being established.