Germany investigates increase of soldiers suspected of far-right extremism

Germany's military intelligence head confirms investigations into right-wing extremist soldiers. An increase in right-wing leanings is particularly prevalent in the Special Forces Command, the KSK.

Soldiers of the German army Bundeswehr take part in an exercise during a media day in Munster, Germany September 28, 2018 (photo credit: FABIAN BIMMER / REUTERS)
Soldiers of the German army Bundeswehr take part in an exercise during a media day in Munster, Germany September 28, 2018
(photo credit: FABIAN BIMMER / REUTERS)
The German government has struggled to contain the rising number of cases of extremism in the military as well as right-wing extremist violence and threats, according to an article by DW
 
This week, Germany’s Military Counterintelligence Service, referred to as MAD, is said to be investigating 550 Bundeswehr soldiers suspected of right-wing extremism, according to the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag
 
The head of the MAD, Christof Gramm, told Welt am Sonntag that last year, suspicions of extremism were confirmed in 14 cases, eight of which involved right-wing extremism.
He added that there are 360 cases of suspected right-wing extremism that were registered, and an additional 40 individuals failed to uphold the values of the German Constitution in 2019. 
 
"Our goal is to not only remove extremists from the German military, but also people who lack loyalty to the constitution," Gramm explained.
 
An elite unit in the German army called the KSK, or Special Command Forces, seems to have a disproportionate number of these cases of suspected extremism, with 20 of these cases being processed right now. The number of these cases in the KSK has doubled since the start of 2019. 
 
According to Gramm, the number of suspected cases of right-wing extremism being processed in proportion to the number of personnel in the KSK is five times greater than in the rest of the Bundeswehr.
 
Gramm attributes this rise in right-wing extremist cases with the MAD’s heavily increased scrutiny of such suspicions. 
After the case of Franco A., a German soldier arrested for leading a double life to carry out acts of terrorism meant to be blamed on Islamist terrorists, many fear a “shadow army” in the German military. 

MAD’s president shut down these fears, saying that his organization researched and investigated the possibility, but did not find any groups that wanted to overturn the German state. 

However, Gramm explained that these investigations are what led to the identification of “extremists and people with insufficient constitutional loyalty.”

In light of these events, MAD will release a report of its activities at the end of this year for the first time in Bundeswehr history.