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Ministry of defence : adviser to the army out of control

It could be a side note, a completion message just. "Committee of inquiry for the consultant's affair", it would have been. But then the cross came less than two weeks ago to a head: Union and SPD were, for formal reasons, the Committee of inquiry had been halted for the time being, the Opposition is outraged. Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, in fact, little advantageous. Because since then, the consultant affair in the army is again in focus.

It comes to consultant contracts in the millions, a suspected breach of the law and instructions on nepotism in the Ministry of defence. The FDP, greens and the Left is starting this week, a new start-up. You want to enforce the investigative Committee and hope that it gives the government the political groups reach an agreement. "If the Theater is played more, not shrink back, we are about to pull in front of the constitutional court in Karlsruhe", threatens Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, the defense policy spokesperson of the FDP parliamentary group. The signs are pointing to confrontation.

Why cross were the SPD and the Union?

The government groups complained that the investigation order is too broad and open to legal challenge. Fritz Felgentreu, the SPD Chairman of the defence Committee, had criticized the Opposition could not get access to the more than 10 000 contracts have been concluded in recent years between the Ministry and external third parties. The FDP, greens and the Left argues against it, it must be possible for all tracks to follow. The formulation of the Inquiry is so crucial is because it defines which tools are loaded and the documents can be requested.

What is the core of the consultant affair?

In the Bundeswehr, consultant for several years. Especially when it comes to digital projects, and cyber security, it is dependent on support from the outside. The cost for the external Assignments according to the court per year in the three-digit million range.

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order of The crux: If the Bundeswehr commissioned external services, it must demonstrate the necessity, the cost-effectiveness review and usually publicly advertise, in order to allow competition. The Federal court noted, however, that this is not happening in many Places. In a confidential report from October 2018, the daily mirror, write to the auditors that, in a sample of 56 contracts a total of 44 "were awarded by mutual agreement", so without a formal procedure. That was almost 80 percent. In 60 percent of cases, no competition had taken place.

What's behind it?

The practice of massive consultants in the use of the German armed forces began under von der Leyen. The 2013 to office come the Minister wanted to fix the problems, there was always back in defence procurement. For the Reform, hired Katrin Suder as military Secretary of state. The young woman was previously a Top Manager at the consulting firm McKinsey. Suder repeated in turn as an armor officer, one of your colleagues from McKinsey into the house, Gundbert Scherf. Together, the two set up a new project management for defense projects.

Katrin Suder moved from McKinsey to the Ministry.Photo: picture alliance / Maurizio Gambarini

In this time, more and more consultants were from the outside. Not just McKinsey, but also from Accenture, a global company, the management consulting and technology services. Accenture is now in the centre of the consultants affair. As the "Spiegel" reports in its latest issue, made Accenture 2014 with the Bundeswehr in 2014, a total of 459.000 Euro in net turnover. It increased rapidly: in 2017, there were already 4.2 million, in 2018 around 20 million.

With the responsibility of: the young, Accenture-consultant Timo Noetzel. He had a steep career path. Stations in the protection of the Constitution, the Munich security conference and as an election Advisor for the SPD Chancellor candidate Peer Steinbrück. Its decisive advantage: He knew from his various professional assignments only Suder good, but also the General Erhard Bühler, head of the Department of planning in the Ministry of defence. Bühler and Noetzel were so tight that the General sponsor of the children was Noetzels. The "mirror" quoted from the Accenture Intranet, where Noetzel and his good relations boasted and internals divulged.

Erhard Buhler is General and godfather of Noetzels children.Photo: Valdrin Xhemaj/dpaTimo Noetzel boasting of his contacts to the Ministry.Photo: University of Constance

And Noetzel was not the only consultant with contacts. The confidential investigation report of the Ministry of defence, the daily mirror, shows. As it is stated: "Mr E4 and Mr E5 stated that the former AL CIT" is meant the head of the Department's Cyber/information technology in the Ministry – "to have a joint activity for the Volkswagen AG is known."

How does the System work?

companies to hire such as Accenture, the competition is over – can be made via framework agreements and sub-contractor. was The investigation report dealt with the deployment of Consultants for two projects: the IT modernization program "CITquadrat" and the "product life cycle Management" in the army, in short, [email protected] In the Latter case, it was about the breakdown-prone-to-get armor projects in the handle. The System should be tested on the Airbus A400M. Consulting services for both projects were commissioned through a framework agreement with the number 20237 – closed with the Wiesbaden-based company SVA System for sales and marketing Alexander GmbH, for support services related to IBM software products. However, the framework contract was used to bring Accenture into the boat.

What to find out for the Committee?

The big questions of the Opposition for the Committee of inquiry are: Who was responsible for ensuring that the orders landed at Accenture? There really was a "Buddy System" as it currently seems to? Has Leyen responded appropriately, as you of the violations of rules learned? And which financial damage is caused by the irregular award of a contract? The latter question will be a difficult one to answer. The SPD-man Felgentreu will therefore place the focus on structures. He says: "the influence of The consultant in the Ministry of defence went so far that they defined the requirements for follow-up projects, and so quasi-self could instruct." For him, the question is could happen like that. And the AfD-defense politician Rüdiger Lucassen believes: "Von der Leyen, a culture has created, the the irregular award of beneficiaries."

What is the meaning of the affair for Leyen?

Leyen has the strategy, to present themselves in scandals in the Bundeswehr as an enlightener. Now your Problem is: The Advisor, the chaos is only in their term of office. You had to react quickly. "Among other things, the procurement in the Ministry was centralised, to the observance of quality standards," says a spokeswoman for the Ministry. Nevertheless, it could be for Leyen closely. The Opposition points. The political damage, says Tobias Lindner, the Green-Chairman of the defence Committee, is enormous. "The Minister had obviously lost control of the consultant activities in your house."

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