BONN, Germany, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- The German Army is stretched to the limit and operating with outdated and malfunctioning equipment, according to Parliament's military ombudsman.
The number of German soldiers is 177,000 compared to 600,000 at the end of the Cold War and some units have only 70 percent of required equipment following Parliament's 2011 decision on defense cost-cutting.
"We are short of almost everything," said Hans-Peter Bartels, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces. "The army is at the turning point. It cannot take more cuts."
Bartels made his assessment on Tuesday while delivering his annual report on the state of the military to Parliament, Deutsche Welle German radio reported.
Bartels, who called for an increase in military spending, said 2016 should be the turning point for the German military, which faces diverse challenges, such as supporting the air campaign against Islamic State militants in Syria, peacekeeping in Mali, participation in the new NATO fast-response unit, and the management of refugees at home.
Recent reports in Germany have highlighted other German military problems, including the mission availability of Air Force planes and that Germany could not fly its Tornado reconnaissance jets over Syria at night because of malfunctioning cockpit lights.