In June 2015, NATO designated cyber as an official operational domain of warfare, along with air, land and sea. Less than two years later, on 5 April 2017, the German Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen, solemnly introduced a new service branch: the "Cyber-und InformationsRaum (CIR) which stands for Cyber and Information Space.
The battleground for CIR is cyber space. Lieutenant-General Ludwig Leinhos, a proven Electronic Warfare expert, became the first Inspector (Chief of Staff) of the new service, on a par with his colleagues from army, air force and navy. The CIR will group together all existing military structures that deal with IT, cyber-security, military reconnaissance and geo-information, as well as with psychological warfare. The new service shall reach its full strength in 2021. With a staff of 13,500, CIR will be bigger than the navy.
A major challenge will be bringing together the almost 15,000 specialists needed for operation. First, military and civilian IT personnel will move from the other services to CIR. To further strengthen the existing IT-competence, soldiers and civilians already in service are encouraged to participate in new IT training and qualification courses. In parallel, an unprecedented recruiting and promotion campaign has been started to attract IT specialists from the labour market, e.g. IT administrators. Talented youngsters are invited to Bundeswehr IT-Camps, where they can experience cyber live. School-leavers are encouraged to become IT-apprentices, or to start a career as IT-soldier. High-school graduates are being courted to enlist as IT-officer candidate/IT-student. On the campus of the University of the Bundeswehr in Munich, a new Cyber Cluster will be created in the next few years. Until October 2017, eleven further IT-professors will be appointed; and a new international Master's course "Cyber-Security" will be created.
The Bundeswehr will probably not be able to realize the ambitious plans all on its own. When it comes to provide cyber security, or training cyber security, the military experts will most probably have to resort to products and even more to services from the industry. A first step towards this is the so-called "Cyber Innovation Hub" in Berlin, which allows young start-up entrepreneurs to connect with the Bundeswehr.