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Germany's new defense minister pledges more family-friendly military as it seeks recruits

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FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2013 file picture German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen pass soldiers during an office handing-over ceremony at the defense ministry in Berlin, Germany. Germany’s new defense minister is pledging to make the country’s military more attractive for people with young families as the all-professional force seeks recruits. Ursula von der Leyen, a mother of seven, became Germany’s first female defense minister last month - inheriting an ongoing military overhaul after Germany abandoned conscription in 2011. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)The Associated Press

Germany's new defense minister is pledging to make the country's military more attractive for people with young families as the all-professional force seeks recruits.

Ursula von der Leyen, a mother of seven, became Germany's first female defense minister last month — inheriting an ongoing military overhaul after Germany abandoned conscription in 2011.

Von der Leyen said in an interview with Sunday's Bild am Sonntag newspaper that "reconciling service and family" is the key issue in efforts to make the Bundeswehr an attractive employer. She said she will review its practice of regularly moving servicepeople, suggested it could explore part-time options and added the military needs "a flexible childcare system."

Opposition lawmaker Inge Hoeger, whose Left Party opposes deployments abroad, said "there are no part-time wars and no family-friendly military deployments."