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Boris Pistorius to Serve as Next German Defense Minister

Boris Pistorius

Niedersachsen, Hannover, 03.01.2023, Innenminister Boris Pistorius besucht die Außenstelle der Landesaufnahmebehörde Niedersachsen LAB NI auf dem Messegelände in Hannover. Er machtl sich ein Bild von den Abläufen in den angemieteten Hallen und führt Gespräche mit Helferinnen und Helfern der Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe und des Arbeiter-Samariter-Bundes Deutschland e.V. ASB sowie mit ukrainischen Geflüchteten über die aktuelle Situation sich zu informieren. *** Lower Saxony, Hanover, 03 01 2023, Interior Minister Boris Pistorius visits the field office of the State Reception Agency of Lower Saxony LAB NI on the exhibition grounds in Hanover He machtl himself a picture of the processes in the rented halls and talks with helpers of

Boris Pistorius, a little-known athlete, was chosen on Tuesday by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to serve as the country’s new defense minister, claiming that he is the “perfect person” to lead the armed services through a period of significant transformation.

The appointment comes after Christine Lambrecht’s departure at a pivotal moment for the ministry as Germany faces tremendous pressure to send combat tanks to Ukraine.

Boris Pistorius, 62, the interior minister of the state of Lower Saxony and a member of Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD), is an unexpected candidate for the position.

Hubertus Heil, the employment minister, and Eva Hoegl, the parliamentary commissioner on armed forces, were two candidates who had previously been assumed to be in the race.

Nevertheless, the chancellor argued that Boris Pistorius was the best candidate for the position at a time when Germany is trying to revamp and revitalize its military in reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Pistorius is an incredibly seasoned politician with administrative expertise, has been active in security policy for years, and is absolutely the ideal person to lead the Bundeswehr through this era of transformation,” said Scholz. “Pistorius is competent, assertive, and big-hearted.”

Good Connections

The choice breaks Scholz’s pledge to maintain a gender-balanced government when he was appointed chancellor in 2021 and puts a stop to a run of three female defense ministers.

Boris Pistorius, who was up in Osnabrueck, studied law, practiced law, and then entered politics in the 1990s, rising to the position of mayor in his hometown.

Pistorius has established a solid reputation in Lower Saxony for his efforts to modernize and strengthen the police service there in order to combat extremism.

He is “the most conspicuous” of the state interior ministers, according to Der Spiegel magazine, and has “good connections with the security authorities.”

His candidacy for the position of federal interior minister, which Nancy Faeser is expected to leave later this year, had previously been rumored.

With this job, he will join a distinguished group of leaders, including Sigmar Gabriel and Gerhard Schroeder, who transitioned from Lower Saxony to national politics.

Boris Pistorius has a challenging task ahead of him because he assumed the new position just before an important gathering of the defense ministers of Ukraine’s allies and amid major upheaval for the Bundeswehr.

On Friday, a meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group, which organizes the delivery of weapons to Kiev, is scheduled at the German air base at Ramstein.

Military Resurgence

Germany has faced criticism for its hesitation in deciding which armaments to deliver to Ukraine since the start of the conflict, and it is currently coming under pressure from Kiev to agree to provide battle tanks.

After years of persistent underfunding, Scholz announced a radical revamp of the German military in response to Russia’s invasion, which Boris Pistorius would now be tasked with leading.

The chancellor promised to increase military spending to 2% of GDP and to replenish the flagging army with a $100 billion special fund.

But Lambrecht, who had been given the position of defense minister in the chancellor’s first cabinet, had come to seem increasingly unprepared.

In January 2022, when the Ukrainian government was looking for armaments to fend against Moscow, Lambrecht made the declaration that Germany would supply 5,000 helmets to Kyiv.

At a time when defense had become a priority on both the national and European levels, a string of individual errors only served to fuel the fire.

When Lambrecht released a New Year’s video on social media praising her “unique experiences” as the defence minister in 2022 against the sound of loud fireworks, people’s patience with her ran out.

Finally, on Monday, Lambrecht announced her resignation as a result of the ensuing media frenzy.

The head of the parliamentary defense commission, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, praised Pistorius as someone who “knows the subject of security and how to deal with people who are committed to our security.”

She told Rheinische Post that in Berlin, “He will be judged on whether he understands the demands of the military and is assertive in representing them at the chancellery and the defence ministry.

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