Germany: From surplus exports to destruction

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German reunification, the end of the Cold War, and the fall of the iron curtain, as well as the large number of Eastern European countries from the former Eastern bloc that have gradually became members of the EU and/or NATO partners, have resulted in Germany ‘moving’ from the geographical periphery of the Cold War period into the centre of both the European Union and NATO alliances. This change in the security environment has had an impact on the German security and defence policy and has led to a process of continuous restructuring and resizing of Germany's armed forces, rendering large numbers of military SALW surplus. While in the immediate aftermath of unification, exports were initially chosen as the main means to reduce surplus weapons, this policy was changed to destruction becoming the means of reducing surplus stocks: from 1990 to 2006, the German military destroyed a total of 2,076,442 SALW from its own inventories, accomplished entirely through domestic processes.

While the inheritance of an entire army and its weapons constitute a context-specific example, one technique can be drawn from the German case: surplus is identified by determining the national armament and security requirements, where surplus is anything left over. This method implies that international efforts to destroy surplus weapons should focus on assisting countries to determine what their armament requirements are; this would facilitate determining the quantity of arms over and beyond this armament requirement as surplus, which could then be easily destroyed.
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@article{Taylor&Francis, title = "Germany: From surplus exports to destruction", latexTitle = "Germany: From surplus exports to destruction", publisher = "Taylor & Francis", booktitle = "Contemporary Security Policy", number = "1", institution = "Taylor & Francis", type = "Journal Article", pages = "53-77", year = "2008", doi = "10.1080/13523260801994550", address = "London", }


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Taylor & Francis



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Contemporary Security Policy