Germany — The BND Operational Structure [2018]

“ The Bundesnachrichtendienst is the sole foreign intelligence service of the Federal Republic of Germany. As such it reports directly to the Federal Chancellery.

The mission of the Bundesnachrichtendienst is to provide the Federal Government with fast and comprehensive information. Since nothing goes out-of-date quite as fast as up-to-date information.

The security policy parameters within which the Bundesnachrichtendienst operates are constantly changing. We live in a multipolar world. Globalization intensifies mutual dependencies worldwide. Present-day crises and conflicts are often highly dyna­mic and require rapid action from policymakers. New conflict types and conflict scenarios dominate the international arena.”

Scope of Work — BND Official website (2017)

Bruno Kahl — BND President

The BND  (German: Bundesnachrichtendienst) is the foreign intelligence agency of Germany, directly subordinated to the Chancellor’s Office. Its headquarters are in Pullach near Munich, and Berlin (planned to be centralised in Berlin by 2016, with about 4,000 people). The Bundesnachrichtendienst has a flat management hierarchy. The President and the Vice Presidents are supported by an executive group. The directorates and departments are composed of working units and teams. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today

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UPDATE (December 9 2018) — The BND official website has been completely redesigned. And, unfortunately, many pages no longer exist.

Dr. Bruno Kahl is still President of the Bundesnachrichtendienstes since 2016. Dr. Ole Diehl remains Vice-President of the Bundesnachrichtendienst since 2016 while General Major Werner Sczesny is Vice-President for military Affairs. Guido Müller (Since 2013) — Vice President for Central Functions and Modernization — no longer appears on the BND webpage.

The description of the organisation is still available, but only in German: Die Organisationsstruktur.

I — ANALYSIS & PRODUCTION — The 4 departments (LA, LB, TE, TW) correspond exactly to the structure described on the BND website.

II – PRODUCTION SUPPORT — Only the GU and TA departments remain on the current chart.

III – GENERAL TASKS & MODERNIZATION — IT, ID, ZY and SI are the current departments .

IV – Gesamtumzug (UM) (Relocation to Berlin) — No modification

NB: The BND website (2018) only lists these departments without any additional structure. But I think it makes sense to group them into these 4 Directorates.

END of UPDATE

The BND acts as an early warning system to alert the German government to threats to German interests from abroad. It depends heavily on wiretapping and electronic surveillance of international communications.

It collects and evaluates information on a variety of areas such as international non-state terrorism, weapons of mass destruction proliferation and illegal transfer of technology, organized crime, weapons and drug trafficking, money laundering, illegal migration and information warfare.

As Germany’s only overseas intelligence service, the BND gathers both military and civil intelligence. While the Strategic Reconnaissance Command (KSA) of the Bundeswehr also fulfills this mission, it is not an intelligence service. There is close cooperation between the BND and the KSA. [WIKIPEDIA]

Organization Chart

Following Snowden’s leaks (Der Spiegel) and the recent revelations from WIKILEAKS , many bloggers/journalists have  tried to “guesstimate” the organizational structure of the BND.

It turns out that the “leaked structure” (Rated SECRET or CONFIDENTIAL)  is basically the one you can read on the BND official website. Go figure!

The following chart comes from the most recent leaks (WikiLeaks) but it does not seem to differ greatly from the previous one (Snowden/DerSpiegel) . It seems to be the BND Basic Structure since 2009. (At least untill early 2015)

The BND’s divisions, branches and units are designated by codes that consist of letters, written in capitals. In the current situation the main divisions have a two-letter designator which is more or less an abbreviation of their full name. The SIGINT division is for example TA, which stands for Technische Aufklärung.

From the e-mails published by Wikileaks we learn that lower units are designated by adding additional letters or words to the division designator. It seems that these additional letters can be the first letter of a full name, a more or less random letter, or A for the first unit, B for the second unit, etc.

bnd_oc

Warning: There is no way to know if the structure described below is accurate today. (As a matter of fact, I believe that it is no longer accurate, but VERY similar.) Here is what we seem to know about the recent leak:

On December 11, 2016, German press reported that according to a high-level security officer, there’s a high plausibility that the commission documents published by Wikileaks were stolen during a large hacking attack on the German parliament’s internal network late 2014/early 2015.

This attack was discovered in May 2015 and showed patterns similar to APT28 a.k.a. Operation Pawn Storm or the Sofacy Group, a hacker collective which is probably sponsored by the Russian government. The timeframe of this hacking attack could explain why Wikileaks has no commission documents dated after January 2015.

President

The President of the BND is Bruno Kahl. He was appointed President of the Federal Intelligence Service on 27 April 2016, effective 1 July, after the dismissal of Gerhard Schindler. Kahl is a member of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) and a very close friend of Angela Merkel.

Vice-presidents

The President of the BND has three deputies: one Vice President, one Vice President for Military Affairs (Since December 2003), and one Vice President for Central Functions and Modernization (Since 2013?).

The current three deputies are:

Dr. Ole Diehl (Since 2016. Before: Michael Klor-Berchtold?) — Vice President

Dr Ole Diehl

Major General Werner Sczesny (Since 2016. Before: Major General Norbert Stier?) — Vice President for Military Affairs

General Werner Sczesny

Guido Müller (Since 2013) — Vice President for Central Functions and Modernization

Dr Guido Müller

DIRECTORATES

Around 2009, the BND was divided — as far as we know — into the following 12 Departments — which could be grouped in 4 categories.

I — ANALYSIS & PRODUCTION

These Departments are clearly responsible for HUMINT, Organized Criminality and Terrorism, as well as Proliferation. This is where analysts prepare intelligence reports.

Regionale Auswertung und Beschaffung A (LA) und Regionale Auswertung und Beschaffung B (LB) (Regional Analysis and Procurement, A/B countries)

Internationaler Terrorismus und Internationale Organisierte Kriminalität (TE) (Terrorism and International Organised Crime)

Proliferation, ABC-Waffen, Wehrtechnik (TW) (Proliferation, NBC Weapons)

It is quite probable that:

LB is responsible for Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan, while LA has the rest of the world.

These 4 Departments (LA, LB, TE, TW) correspond exactly to the structure described on the BND website.

II – PRODUCTION SUPPORT

These Departments  are clearly responsible for SIGINT as well as IMINT and OSINT. These Directorates include the Command and Situation Centre, the information hub of the BND. Global developments are followed closely on a 24/7 basis.

Gesamtlage / Führungs- und Informationszentrum (GL) (Situation Centre)

Unterstützende Fachdienste (UF) (Specialized Supporting Services)

Einsatzgebiete / Auslandsbeziehungen (EA) (Areas of Operation / Foreign Liaison)

Technische Aufklärung (TA) (Signal Intelligence)

2017 — According to the BND website, the current structure is reduced to 3 Departments: GU, OL and TA. GU seems to be a fusion of GL and UF. OL seems to be the old EA renamed “Operative Unterstützung und Liasion”.

2018 — Only TA and GU exist on the current chart. “The department GU controls and coordinates the production process. The employees of the location center there keep an eye on world affairs 24/7. If special crisis situations occur, a special representative of this department ensures smooth internal and external communication.”

III – GENERAL TASKS & MODERNIZATION

These Departments  are in charge of Security, Administration, IT and R&D.

Eigensicherung (SI) (Security)

Technische Unterstützung (TU) (Technical Support)

Technische Entwicklung (TK) (Technical Development)

Zentralabteilung (ZY) (Central Services)

2017 — Today, these Departments are named: SI, IT, ZT and ID.They refer to Security, Information Technology, Data Protection and Inner Service.

2018 — It seems ZT has been renamed ZY.

IV – Gesamtumzug (UM) (Relocation to Berlin)

Finally, there is also a directorate called: Gesamtumzug (UM) (Relocation to Berlin). The Relocation Department  is responsible for all tasks and projects relating to the new headquarters in Berlin.

REFERENCES

BND — Official website (2017) — No longer available

BND — Official Website (2018)

Structure of the BND — Der Spiegel

Wikileaks publishes classified documents from inside German NSA inquiry commission  — Electrospaces.net

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Germany — The BND Operational Structure

Germany — The BND Operational Structure [2018]

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