How long does voluntary military service last

Munich - Conscription is history - but the Bundeswehr is still looking for soldiers. That is why there is now the Voluntary Military Service (FWD). The most important questions and answers:

The Bundeswehr becomes a volunteer army. As a successor to compulsory military service, there is the voluntary military service (FWD). It lasts up to 23 months and is intended to offer the opportunity to take a look at the Bundeswehr without having to commit to being a soldier for several years.

Who can register for military service?

German citizens who are already 18 years old or who will soon be able to register for the FWD. Before entering service, one must pass a medical proficiency test.

When does the FWD make sense?

Voluntary military service can bridge a possible waiting time until the start of studies or training. However, there are also civilian alternatives, such as the Federal Volunteer Service (BFD), the successor to the earlier civilian service. Information on the BFD is available on the Internet at www.bundesfreiwilligendienst.de or by telephone on 0221/36 73 0.

How long does the FWD last?

The FWD lasts a minimum of seven and a maximum of 23 months. According to the Bundeswehr, the first volunteers who started their service yesterday committed themselves for an average of 15 months. At the beginning there is a 3-month basic training, followed by service in your own unit. As a volunteer, you can express your wishes as to which part of the Bundeswehr you want to be deployed in, and the Bundeswehr then tries to make it possible according to its own statements. The FWD always starts in January, April, July or October of each year.

How do I register for the FWD?

It all starts with a personal conversation with an adviser from the Bundeswehr. Further information is available on the Internet at www.bundeswehr-karriere.de or by calling 0800/980 08 80.

Do you have to go abroad?

Anyone who registers for voluntary military service for twelve months or more must in principle also declare their unrestricted willingness to take part in missions abroad, for example in Afghanistan. Whether this happens depends on the volunteer's activity and unit. If you are on a foreign assignment, you get a surcharge of 30 to 110 euros per day in addition to regular pay - tax-free.

How much do you earn in the FWD?

The salary depends on the length of service, but is significantly higher than the previous salary of a conscript. So far, the involuntary soldiers received 378 euros a month. In the FWD there are already 777.30 euros in the first month. This amount then increases to 1146.30 euros from the 19th month. In addition, there are Christmas bonuses and a so-called discharge allowance. The Bundeswehr pays support for the family and a rent allowance for those who are already married.

How are you covered in the FWD?

The Bundeswehr pays the unemployment insurance contributions for the time of the FWD so that any claims to unemployment benefits do not expire. Anyone who voluntarily stays with the federal government for at least twelve months is then entitled to unemployment benefit. The Bundeswehr also pays the contributions to health and long-term care insurance. Anyone with private health insurance must apply for the contract to be suspended. The federal government pays the reduced contributions. Those who voluntarily join the armed forces are also covered by the statutory pension insurance during this time. The army pays the contributions. Anyone who voluntarily pays into an additional old-age or survivor's pension, such as life insurance, can have the costs reimbursed upon application.

Philipp Vetter