German minister pledges family-friendly military

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Associated Press

Posted on January 12, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Updated Sunday, Jan 12 at 9:34 AM

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's new defense minister is pledging to make the country's military more attractive for people with young families as the all-professional force seeks recruits.

Ursula von der Leyen, a mother of seven, became Germany's first female defense minister last month — inheriting an ongoing military overhaul after Germany abandoned conscription in 2011.

Von der Leyen said in an interview with Sunday's Bild am Sonntag newspaper that "reconciling service and family" is the key issue in efforts to make the Bundeswehr an attractive employer. She said she will review its practice of regularly moving servicepeople, suggested it could explore part-time options and added the military needs "a flexible childcare system."

Opposition lawmaker Inge Hoeger, whose Left Party opposes deployments abroad, said "there are no part-time wars and no family-friendly military deployments."

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