A journal of political, social, and other important, possibly even somewhat related affairs, including but not limited to: Central European Society, The European Union, HC Kometa Brno, American Politics, Film, and Beer.

29 October 2007

The Bundeswehr's Toilet Paper

According to this story, a Green politician in Germany's Bundestag, Alexander Bonde, was making some inquiry about paper use by the Bundewehr.

Things were going fairly smoothly until he found that the German Bundeswehr is using 800 million rolls of toilet paper per year.  That adds up to 10 rolls of squeezably-soft per soldier, officer, and civil servant in the German Ministry of Defense per day.  Needless to say, this seemed, shall we say, excessive.  While there can be no doubt that ten rolls is generally a suitable amount on any given evening to toss in the tree and on the roof of your old principal's house, the Bundeswehr generally has a reputation for professionalism, and there is a stunning lack of reports from German headmasters on this phenomenon. 

As it turns out, due to a mislabeling in the report, the Bundeswehr is using 800 million sheets of the vital commodity instead, or 8.8 sheets per day.  This does not qualify under the Paperwork Reduction Act. However, if anyone cares to make a sheet joke, now is the time to make it.

However, I couldn't help but wonder.  I remember stories of $100 toilet seats and there are always news reports of military contractors charging ridiculous sums for otherwise mundane things, like V-22 Ospreys, but these stories were usually about real things.  Paper use as such has never been a particular focus for the American military.  It strikes me as one of those things that just end up in a budget, almost as a footnote.  I find it interesting that some politicians in Germany decided, "You know what we really need to find out? How much paper we need."

I guess my priorities are just different, and I suppose that would be a budget outlay that you really wouldn't want to have, but I just can't get my head around someone spending too much time on an inquiry into paper use.


Blogger Mr. Bross said...

Good on the Germans for actually taking the time to investigate. Logically, things like toilet paper are the things that get stolen; products like coffee and cigarettes--staples of any black market--have units that can be traced to a point of sale, and easily balanced transaction to inventory reduction records that can be investigated. No one, however, questions whether TP inventories are depleting because its taco night in the mess hall or because every seargent with a key to the warehouse stopped buying his own years ago.


Blogger Dr. Van Nostran said...

This comment has been removed by the author.


Blogger Dr. Van Nostran said...

Interesting, but I'd like to see how much toilet paper the U.S. DOD uses as a point of comparison - Bross, I'm sure you have those numbers readily available.


Blogger Mr. Bross said...

Even if I could dig up that figure, I'm pretty sure it's the sort of thing that shouldn't be released.



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