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East Germany Table of Contents

East Germany

Ministry of Defense

The NVA is administered through the Ministry of Defense, one of the principal branches of the national government. In December 1985, General (Armeegeneral) Heinz Kessler became minister of defense with headquarters in Strausberg, just outside Berlin. Kessler replaced Hoffmann, who held the post from 1960 until his death in 1985. Kessler was assisted by a colloquium of deputy ministers who were also chiefs of certain key administrations within the ministry.

In 1987 the deputy ministers and their assignments were as follows: Lieutenant General (Generalleutnant) Klaus-Dieter Baumgarten, chief of the Border Troops; Admiral Wilhelm Ehm, chief of the People's Navy; Colonel General (Generaloberst) Joachim Goldbach, chief of Technology and Weaponry; Lieutenant General Horst Brünner, chief of the Main Political Administration (Kessler's former post); Colonel General Wolfgang Reinhold, chief of the Air Force/Air Defense Force; Colonel General Horst Stechbarth, chief of the ground forces; Colonel General Fritz Streletz, chief of the Main Staff and secretary of the National Defense Council; Lieutenant General Fritz Peter, chief of Civil Defense; and Lieutenant General Manfred Graetz, chief of Rear Services.

The organization of the East German Ministry of Defense, which closely follows the pattern of the Soviet Ministry of Defense, comprises several administrations and departments, among which there appears to be a certain amount of overlapping authority. In the mid-1980s, its complement of about 4,200 personnel had a military-to-civilian ratio of approximately three to one, in contrast to comparable Western ministries or departments that generally have a much higher proportion of civilian employees. Approximately 100 Soviet officers also were assigned to the East German ministry. The chiefs of the major administrations and commands concurrently served as deputies to the defense minister (see fig. 13).

Data as of July 1987