Strong commitment to the homeland – regionally networked and intensively trained: The territorial reserve serves Germany in their home region. The disaster relief specialists in the government region and government district liaison groups and the servicemen and women in the homeland security companies and regional territorial commands are committed to homeland security.
What is the territorial reserve?
Committed to their region, committed to homeland security and networked at the local level: This is the Bundeswehr’s territorial reserve. Reservists in the territorial reserve build bridges between the Bundeswehr and society. They are responsible for central homeland security tasks. These include providing comprehensive advisory services in the case of administrative assistance and disaster relief, performing guard and security duties and also carrying out important territorial tasks in the scope of national and collective defence operations. Reservists assigned to the territorial reserve normally support the region from within the region.
Most reservists in the territorial reserve have been designated for long-term assignments and received special training. They are under the command and control of the regional territorial commands (or in the case of Bavaria, one of the regional territorial command’s three regional offices for Bundeswehr territorial tasks) and sometimes serve at the regional territorial commands themselves. In the situation centres, headquarters or divisions responsible for civil-military cooperation, reservists provide support for the active-duty force in everyday activities and during the provision of administrative assistance.
Who is part of the territorial reserve?
Most reservists in the territorial reserve have been designated for long-term assignments and received special training. They are under the command and control of the regional territorial commands (or in the case of Bavaria, one of the regional territorial command’s three regional offices for Bundeswehr territorial tasks) and sometimes serve at the regional territorial commands themselves. In the situation centres, headquarters or divisions responsible for civil-military cooperation, reservists provide support for the active-duty force in everyday activities and during the provision of administrative assistance. In the government region and government district liaison groups, they provide a valuable service by advising regional crisis management teams. There are also committed and well-trained homeland security experts in the homeland security regiments and homeland security companies.
Since 2021, the Bundeswehr’s Your Year for Germany programme has offered military service volunteers the opportunity to grow into assignments in the territorial reserve. After completing basic training, they undergo billet training at the first regional Reserve Training Unit in Wildflecken. Having received their assignment-related training, they are employed as designated reservists in the region where their roots lie and where they are well connected.
What are the tasks of the homeland security forces?
The homeland security forces are earmarked for operations involving protection tasks and point defence, i.e. national and collective defence scenarios. They would be deployed in such scenarios because regular Bundeswehr units would be committed to other missions. Their tasks also include contributing to subsidiary disaster relief operations and assisting with host nation support to friendly armed forces. National and collective defence operations and homeland security are diverse in nature. In emergency situations, such as a large-scale blackout, the forces of the homeland security regiment protect and secure critical infrastructure, as would be the case in a state of defence or tension. They can assist with the protection of Bundeswehr installations, facilities and sites. They can provide support to civilian organisations as part of disaster relief operations, as they have done during flood-control operations and snow disaster management measures, for example.
They participate in exercises where they undergo training in the capabilities required of them, e.g. general infantry tasks such as point defence, check point procedures, or patrols. Like active servicemen and women, they also regularly undergo training in basic military skills such as firing, CBRNchemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) protection and first-aid measures.
What is a homeland security company?
A homeland security regiment is made up of the homeland security companies in its region, to which only reservists are assigned. The homeland security regiments are under the command and control of the commander of the responsible regional territorial command. Five homeland security regiments are to be established in Germany by 2027; in Bavaria, Berlin, Hesse, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, and North-Rhine Westphalia.
The homeland security regiment provides the reserve with a new command and control structure with regard to homeland security tasks with the aim of meeting the requirements of a modern and efficient reserve force. This structure will enable the swift and straightforward integration of homeland security reservists in the existing, active structures.
A homeland security regiment is part of the territorial reserve. It thus acts as a link between the Bundeswehr and society. In the Bundeswehr, this is referred to as civil-military cooperation. Overall, civil-military cooperation is based on a well-established territorial network consisting of 16 regional territorial commands, 31 government region liaison groups and 403 government district liaison groups in all rural and urban districts. The Bundeswehr Homeland Defence Command in Berlin exercises command and control over this national preventive security network.
What is a homeland security company?
The homeland security forces are the territorial reserve units that are ready to support and help out directly at the local level in the case of need. Reservists in the homeland security companies are specially trained to perform guard and security duties. They are able to support regular forces by, for example, guarding barracks and Bundeswehr sites, providing sentries and patrols and checking vehicles and individuals.
In the scope of civil-military cooperation, they provide assistance during disasters or secure critical civilian infrastructure such as power plants or waterworks. Homeland security forces are prepared to perform very special tasks in their region if civilian authorities and organisations are overburdened. In Saarland, for example, reservists from the homeland security companies were employed as helpers in a COVID-19Coronavirus Disease 2019 test centre in spring 2020. In winter 2019, Bavarian homeland security forces provided support during the snow disaster on the fringe of the Alps.
Homeland security companies have existed throughout Germany since 2012 and in some federal states, there are even several companies. They are under the command and control of the respective regional territorial command. Experienced former servicemen and women serve in the homeland security companies together with reservists who joined the reserve after completing training for persons without prior military service. The regional territorial commands have offered this type of training since conducting a pilot test in 2017 in cooperation with the Bundeswehr Reservist Association. In the future, training and exercises for homeland security companies and homeland security regiments are to take place at regional Reserve Training Units, the first of which has been established in Wildflecken in Northern Bavaria.
What are government region and government district liaison groups?
In contingency situations, every minute counts for disaster control teams. Knowing one another is a significant advantage for all local actors, “familiar faces in times of crisis” being one of the mottos of civil-military cooperation and disaster relief. Precisely such familiar faces are to be found in the Bundeswehr’s government region and government district liaison groups. The reservists assigned are at home in the respective region. They are familiar with the local conditions and, moreover, know the people with whom they work together to provide assistance.
Personnel from the government region and government district liaison groups are employed in the regional disaster control teams, from district commissioner's offices to the regional government level. The regional territorial command liaison officers in the state interior ministries are normally also regional territorial command reservists. In the event of a disaster, experienced reservists in the regional disaster relief command groups advise the on-scene commander on how to best employ the Bundeswehr’s capabilities in the specific situation at hand. They forward administrative assistance requests by local actors to their responsible regional territorial command.
Regular joint exercises and training with the regional crisis management teams and the blue light organisations (police, fire brigade, Federal Agency for Technical Relief, rescue services) are of particular importance for government region and government district liaison groups. The regional territorial commands, for their part, offer exercises and training in the area of disaster relief, such as the REGEX command post exercises, to which civilian actors are invited.