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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.



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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.