Raison d’état -

Notes on a term pertaining to political dynamics

Dirk Freudenberg


Invoking raison d’état - the national interest or the good of the state - drives political action. Invoking it as the basis for actions transcends religious-ethical justifications for political decisions and actions, and, at the same time, establishes absolute political autonomy and responsibility. It also manifests a new possibility of political exoneration in ratification of the drive towards political success.




Model Planning Mistakes

Planning for the Post-Hostilities Phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom (2001-2004):

An Analysis




by Karoline Resch

Already in 1998, in their book Nations at War. A Scientific Study of International Conflict, D.S. Geller and J.D. Singer pointed out that in a group setting “individual-level ego-defensive mechanisms” are reinforced in decision-making situations and generate the following dysfunctional symptoms in crisis decision-making. 



The Strategic Importance of Developments in the Sahel


Hannelore Kußerow/Arno Meinken/Nikolaus Scholik

In the medium and long term, the situation in the Sahel, which has been deteriorating for years, constitutes one of the biggest problems for the African continent and for the EU on the opposite coast, or - depending on the point of view - the European nation states.

In the course of pertinent studies within the framework of the CNSS (Clausewitz Network for Strategic Studies, at the Führungsakademie of the German Bundeswehr, Hamburg), the authors of this interdisciplinary article intensively discussed this complex range of problems from the perspectives shortage of resources, population explosion, and extremism, as well as their security-political impact on Europe.





A Samurai-Force conquers a kingdom


By Harald Pöcher


The Japanese prefecture Okinawa lies in the southwest of the Japanese Empire and was once the kingdom of the Ryukyus. Okinawa stands for “Ribbon in the Sea”, and that characterizes the geographic function of this chain of islands between the southern part of Kyushu and Taiwan, as a barrier between the East Chinese Sea and the Western Pacific.



Mediation and the Military

Operational Readiness by Means of Task and Objective-oriented Cooperation

By Elvira Hauska/Oliver Jeschonek/Bernhard Penz


Military forces exist to overcome conflicts. For that, they have various instruments and weapons at their disposal. Unfortunately, their public image is still largely limited to the role armed forces were having in the past, i.e. to be an organisation that uses force. However, military tasks comprise a lot of other activities. The military operation per se, used as a security political method, does not exist anymore. Especially in terms of a cooperative understanding of security, soldiers are increasingly challenged to do their job amidst the civilian society. In order to meet these challenges, the military needs sufficient understanding, capabilities, and possibilities. Mediation can provide support to deduce those changes from conflicts arising in everyday professional situations that are necessary to cope with tasks of security political relevance.



Neutrality on the Move – A Concept of the 19th Century for the 21st Century? 

By Wolfgang Zecha


Although the practice of a neutrality law had been developed over more than 500 years, the core points of it were established during the 19th century. Originally, the term neutrality occurred at the end of the 14th century. It was deduced from the Latin expression “ne uter – none of both” and originally meant the non-participation and non-involvement in specific wars. 500 years ago, in 1515, after the battle of Marignano, the Cantons that later formed Switzerland, decided to stay neutral in future wars and started to develop a neutrality practice. One of the first persons to write down regulations of warfare was the Dutchman Hugo Grotius, author of “De Jure Belli ac Pacis“.



Operations Research as Multidimensional Complexity Management 

Modern Operations Research Underpinning Planning Tasks and Process Optimisation in the COMTESSA Competence Centre

Stefan Pickl


Operations Research (OR) is a young scientific discipline, geared towards solving decision-making problems. It has its origins in situations in which decision makers have to come to a decision in circumstances characterised by precariousness and insecurity, and in which they rely on various OR methods to map and analyse the problem systematically. This analytical aspect is the focus of this text. 




The New PKK

Between Extremism, Political Violence, and Strategic Challenges (Part 2)

Walter Posch


Two events, which took place between the completion of this two-part study in the middle of December 2015 and going to press, are relevant to the analysis of the PKK/KCK’s ideology and organisational structure: first, the publication of the secret (!) talks between Öcalan, Kurdish politicians, and representatives of the Turkish government between 2012 and 2014, and, second, the decisions taken by the DTK congress of 27 December 2015 (on the DTK see Part 1 of this study).



Visum est spectaculum

Gladiatorial games and the balance between the military and public security (Part 2)

Christoph Ebner


Part 1 dealt with the influence of gladiatorial games and their protagonists on the army reform at the turn of the first century BC, as well as on the Roman army of the Republic and the early Empire. The following will look at the connections and reciprocities between the entertainment industry, the state and the army. 



Visum est spectaculum

Gladiatorial games and the balance between the military and public security (Part 1)

Christoph Ebner

The relationship between the Roman legions and the entertainment industry, especially gladiatorial games, was not restricted to the soldiers’ leisure time and the spatial between military camps and oval arenas. On the contrary, this reciprocal relationship manifested itself, inter alia, in a gladiator’s oath, which was similar to that of a Roman legionary, as well as in the very different benefits military commanders and emperors drew from the gaming industry, especially in times of crisis. This was counterbalanced by the threat to public security, exemplified by the large number of men in the gladiator schools capable of bearing arms, who, in the Spartacus rebellion, first proved their threat potential as well as their destructive power to a wider public. The following observations will therefore outline the development of the gladiatorial environment and its uneasy relationship with the military, as well as its influence on Roman security policy.



The New PKK

Between Extremism, Political Violence, and Strategic Challenges (Part 1)

Walter Posch


Contrary to its importance for Turkey’s political development and for European domestic security, the (banned) Kurdistan Workers’ Party-PKK has only rarely been the object of academic interest. Furthermore, most papers are problematic, as their authors position themselves either as opponents of, or apologists for, the organisation.



The Conflict between Serbia and Kosovo: Change through Rapprochement?

Wulf-W. Lapins


This study aims to delineate Serbian-Kosovo normalisation relations, without restricting itself to a merely legal, moral, or purely realpolitik point of view, which would also be a possible approach in such an analysis. The author is aware that the level of cooperation is not so developed and stable yet as to merit a sophisticated critical analysis. Against this background, and on the empirical basis available, this policy analysis only traces the ongoing political regulatory process.



Franz von Sickingen (1481-1523): Professional Feuding

Reinhard Scholzen


The transitional period between the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period is generally associated with numerous important events and social changes. As examples could serve the discovery of America by Columbus in 1492 and the conquest of Granada that same year. The end of the Eastern Roman Empire in 1495 marked another watershed as did the Reformation (with Luther allegedly posting his theses in 1517) and the 1524-1526 Peasants’ War.



Japan in the First World War

By Harald Pöcher


Japan’s participation in the First World War led to a reorganisation of the Western Pacific/East Asian region and created the conditions for the subsequent shocks to European colonial policies in the Pacific. To provide some background to the issues discussed in this paper, Japanese foreign policy interests pre-WWI and its domestic conditions need to be analysed.




János Bolyai (1802-1860)

Imperial-Royal captain of engineer corps and the Mozart of mathematics (geometry)

by Harald Pöcher

János Bolyai, the Hungarian mathematician and captain of the Imperia-Royal military engineer corps was one of the founding fathers of Non-Euclidian geometry. With his ground breaking discovery of the Non-Euclidian geometry he laid the basis for other scientific disciplines, i.e. the theory of relativity, which was developed by Albert Einstein in the 20 Century. To lifetime he had no appreciation, but nowadays he is considered the most important mathematician (geometrician) of history of mankind.



Germany’s long road from security beneficiary to internationally co-operating security provider

Wulf-W. Lapins


From the beginnings of the ‘old’ Federal Republic of Germany in 1949 until its apogee in the peaceful reunification of 1990, a spectre haunted the political circles responsible for, and interested in, national security: it was the spectre of an uncertain defence capability mired in a fixation on the constant threat of a potential Soviet military attack. 






Igor V. Obraztsov


The report is based on the results of sociological monitoring of graduates of the Military Academy of the General Staff of Russian Armed Forces, conducted in years 2000-2008 (N=885). The following qualitative characteristics of Russian high-ranking officers have been analyzed: socio-demographic characteristics, mentality, values and their motivations in study and service. The following hypothesis is formulated and confirmed: Russian force structures are undergoing the process of change of officers’ generations, and “Soviet officers” are replaced with “Russian officers”. The difference between these generations is not only of temporal character (“Soviet officers” graduated from military academies and were established as military professionals while the Soviet Union still existed, while “Russian officers” underwent the same process after 1991), but also of mental character (system of values, attitude towards political events inside and outside the country, political orientations, opinion about political and military allies and enemies).


An imminent casus foederis in East Asia?

The USA and the Sino-Japanese Sovereignty Dispute in the East China Sea

Martin Wagener


The dispute over the islands in the East China Sea called, respectively, Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China has markedly escalated in the last few years. A manifest territorial conflict has existed between the two great East-Asian powers ever since the events of September 2010 when a Chinese fishing trawler and two ships of the Japanese Coast Guard were involved in a collision.  Unilateral measures through which the adversaries attempted to strengthen their positions have been another contributing factor. In September 2012, the Japanese government bought three of the islands from their private owner.




Zrínyi Miklós (1620-1664)

“Sors bona, nihil aliud”

Statesman, poet, general and founder of the Hungarian military science

By Harald Pöcher

Zrínyi Miklós or Zrinski Nikola respectively, is honoured in Hungary and Croatia as a great son of the nation. In Hungary many monuments were erected to his honour and many places and the Zrínyi Miklós Nemzetvédelmi Egyetem (ZMNE-Military University of Hungary/ZMMU) are named after him. In Austria, Zrínyi Miklós is not well-known. Only the Zrínyi-lane, a small lane in the 20th district in Vienna (Brigittenau), is named after him. The insignificance of Zrínyi Miklós in Austria is only understandable, when we study his life and his relationship with the Imperial Court in Vienna.




Society, Space and Power. Challenges, deficits and news regarding critical geopolitics (Part 2)

Heinz Nissel

Deconstruction of geopolitical concepts: expansion and systematisationImages and counter-images in the battle of discourses

Notions and (pre)conceptions of The Self and The Other shape the highly diverse geopolitical concepts and lead, in politico-geographical analysis, to a common rhetoric of justification and create an eloquent alliance. Although this article mainly deals with western concepts, it cannot be said that the other worlds do not have or employ their own concepts. Two examples: Russian President Vladimir Putin has succeeded in concealing the permanent geopolitical problem that is Chechnya from the world’s public opinion; the issue is hardly ever discussed in (western) media. The Arab world, too, possesses a powerful language myth, namely the meta-narrative of the holy war (Jihad).



Society, Space and Power. Challenges, deficits and news regarding critical geopolitics (Part 1)

Heinz Nissel

Is it sensible and necessary to re-engage with this topic after four years? Yes, for several reasons. On the one hand, classic and deterministic geopolitics is not dead, but celebrates something of a Renaissance amongst a number of European think tanks, as recently criticized by the philosopher of history, Hauke Ritz (2013).[3] However, he throws out the baby with the bathwater when he declares that “Geopolitics is a discipline that has always been practiced by the military and thus represents an art of war.”[4] This can, at best, be accepted in times and areas where the military practices and controls political power. In democracies, the primacy of politics prevails and the military is bound by instructions. Statecraft comes before the art of war. One thing, however, unites the semantics of this obscure circle of political fantasists as well as its critics – they are mired in obsolete mindsets. They completely ignore the existence of critical geopolitics and its investigative function. The author considers the Austrian Military Journal to be the right place to extend this approach to political geography beyond a narrow, specialist interpretation and to encourage discussion.




Thinking in Scenarios -
as a method of innovative strategic planning (Part 2)

Bernhard Richter

“It is not important to know, but to be prepared for the future” (Pericles)

Scenarios in strategic management

Scenarios can be used as part of strategic management, in order to assess existing or alternative strategies, or to develop new ones. 

  • Assessing existing strategies by means of scenarios

As part of this approach, the existing strategy is examined with regard to its adequacy vis-à-vis alternative developments. In this, the strategy is assessed by comparing it with individual scenarios - how favourable or unfavourable it appears given the respective alternative conditions. The scenarios, as it were, form a test environment if certain strategies and decisions have to be evaluated.




Thinking in Scenarios - as a method of innovative strategic planning (Part 1)

Bernhard Richter

“It is not important to know, but to be prepared for the future” (Pericles)

It has always been important for human beings to look into the future. Especially the political elites of every historic epoch have striven to know the future, to shape their actions in order to make their empires more secure and to ensure their survival. From the Oracle of Delphi in ancient Greece, to Nostradamus in more recent times, up today, people have been trying to gain information concerning the future. The future, however, is a dimension we cannot fathom.

Political decision takers and planners on the politico-strategic level must have a notion of the imminent challenges and developments in order to align the security architectures and their instruments and make them sustainable.

The necessity of such long-term, sustainable alignment is especially obvious in the security-political field, as armed forces and other emergency services require relatively long planning horizons (due to the long operational life and cost of major-end-items). This, however, has always required information about the future.





Cybersecurity today and tomorrow: threats and solutions


Stefan Chevul and Johan Eliasson

Advenica AB.


Once the domain of company IT departments, cybersecurity, protecting information from cyber attacks, has now become an issue of legitimate combat. This article will look at the nature of the threats posed to the past and present, and offers strategies to keep systems safe.

According to the UK cabinet office, the internet-related market in the UK is estimated at £82 billion (almost €100 billion) a year, with British businesses earning £1 in every £5 from the Internet.

However, this greater digital openness, interconnection and dependency bring vulnerability. The UK National Security Strategy has categorized cyber attacks as a tier one threat to national security, alongside international terrorism, with terrorists, rogue states and cyber criminals targeting computer systems in the UK.





Modern approaches to an occupying
power’s loss of control – Rome and Judea

Karoline Resch


Insurgencies and the fight against them have been known ever since the first establishment of civil or military rule. The only thing new is that today an attempt is being made to take a comprehensive view, in a social, economic and religious context. In the context of the situation in Iraqor Afghanistan, the term counterinsurgency has increasingly been used in specialist literature as a technical term descriptive of the western way of combating insurgencies in the twenty-first century. Because of changing circumstances, the question has been asked whether counterinsurgency should be so clearly set apart from other approaches. A change of emphasis is to be expected as the currently most important rulebook, the Field Manual 3-24 Counterinsurgency (FM 3-24) is being revised. The fact that this manual dates from 2006 reveals that it relies in large part on older, historic examples of counterinsurgency, rather than on lessons learned from more recent events. In an attempt to create a reliable model, these historic insurgencies were condensed into their basic elements, with the aim of identifying structural regularities on the basis of commonalities and differences.





From Versailles via Paris to Moscow 

Aufgrund der Rüstungsbeschränkungen des Versailler Vertrags, der es der Reichswehr verboten hatte Panzer zu unterhalten, ließ der damalige Kommandant des Truppenamtes für Heerestransport, Heinz Guderian, zu Übungszwecken ab 1927 Panzerübungen mit Autos und Panzerattrappen aus Holz (Bild) durchführen.

Strategic Options and Perspectives of the German Empire with a View to National Power Policy (Part 2)

Eberhard Birk/Gerhard P. Groß

The Third Reich was, exactly as the German Empire, geared towards war. The period from 30 January 1933 to the beginning of World War II was marked by preparations for war. In this process, two ideological fundamental principles played a particular role: The first principle was about the drawing of – supposed – lessons from the ‘stab-in-the-back-legend'.

 The second aspect dealt with the fact that everything, ranging from the establishment of a totalitarian state on the basis of the National Socialist ideology through the re-attainment of the position of a major power by the German Reich by breaking the Versailles Treaty to the build-up of the armed forces, and was geared towards preparing a war 'to conquer new living space in the East, including the reckless Germanisation of the new territories', as Adolf Hitler put it in his first speech as Reich Chancellor to the assembled leaders of the Reichswehr in utter honesty already on 3 February 1933. This ensured that Hitler and the German Generals shared, in parts, the same objectives.




From Versailles via Paris to Moscow 

Strategic Options and Perspectives of the German Empire with a View to National Power Policy (Part 1)

Eberhard Birk/Gerhard P. Groß

At first glance, the strategic-political analysis of the framework conditions for the international systems as well as for all the interrelations of the dynamic “Concert of Europe” between the two world wars1) unveils a seeming paradox with a view to the “dark continent”2) in the “age of extremes”3): Notwithstanding the German Empire’s defeat in the First World War and the Treaty of Versailles,4) by which the central European country’s political and military power was curtailed, the very same country was able to achieve a dominant position in terms of power politics between the “Eiffel Tower” and the “Kremlin” within a little more than 20 years. This position went beyond the scope of the objective that the German Empire, which had been proclaimed in 1871 with pompous political imagery in the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, had aimed at in a far less ambitious attempt5).




Raymond E. Bell Jr.

The most prominent and best known U.S. Special Operations Forces are the U.S. Army Special Forces (SF) or “Green Berets” and the U.S. Navy Sea Air and Land (SEALs) naval personnel. Less known is that special operations forces also include Army light infantry rangers, civil affairs, and psychological operations units. About one half of special operations personnel are in the Army, the remainder being in the other armed services.  Both the National Guard and reserve components also have large special operation force contingents.

In the history of the United States of America before they gained their independence, colonists who can be considered reservists performed special operations tasks. The first colonists, civilians, took their muskets and went forth to defend their homes. Some times combat was necessary but other times parleys with the Native Americans achieved more in finding peaceful solutions to conflicts between people of vastly different cultures.




Raymond E. Bell, Jr.


Today as the reserve components of the U.S. Army look to the decline of commitment in Afghanistan, they are turning more and more to potential missions in the continental United States. So as in Austria between the two world wars, the National Guard and the federal Army Reserve will become even more and more involved in the missions of  defending the nation’s borders and protecting the populace from the ravages of nature than they are today. The latter mission indeed has already been expanded to include protection against the effects of the employment of weapons of mass destruction.

This article will therefore describe how the two reserve components of the U.S. Army, the Army Reserve and the Army National Guards of the various states, are fulfilling the homeland defense and security missions in conjunction with the active army, the other armed services, and civilian counterparts. This is to be done under the aegis of the U. S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM).





Bell, Raymond E. Jr.


Are the police organizations of the United States armed services really forces of choice? Indeed, the motto of the U.S. Army’s Military Police (MP) Corps is “The Force of Choice.” Yet, the actual and potential effectiveness of armed forces police in the type of combative warfare presently being conducted by the U.S. Government is too often misunderstood and under estimated by the American military community at large. Conceived by virtue of its name, military type police operations are most closely associated with law and order or prisoner confinement activities. But the Army’s MP motto, for example, implies that “choice of force” is central to its very existence and effectiveness. The employment of force in the execution of its military police soldiers’ duties is key to the execution of its doctrinal tasks.  Unfortunately, military police of all the armed forces operates in a rather inconspicuous manner which draws very little attention to their combat capabilities and consequently receives little emphasis and appreciation in conducting operations except in law and order situations.




Challenges for Forces Development at the Beginning of the 21st Century

General considerations and consequences for the Polish Armed Force

Stanisław Zajas


The transition period from the 20th to the 21st century was marked by important and decisive changes in international politics, particularly in the field of security, globally as well as in individual states and societies. Among other things, this dynamic process of change is connected with the end of the Warsaw Pact and the prospect of security and economic development, particularly inEurope. Based on democratic principles in many states, which led to NATO and EU enlargement, a feeling of security and integration set in. The division of the world into two opposing camps disappeared and the term “Cold War” only continues to live on in history books.