„CIMIC 2.0“

On the application of military expertise in the civil area

Helmut Pisecky


The classical military virtues - punctuality, discipline, sense of responsibility, etc. - are still highly esteemed in all areas of life and are practically indispensable in the command and control of an enterprise. Moreover, constructive approaches such as the Strategic Leadership Course at the Austrian National defence Academy have been instrumental in both bringing about mutual trust and getting rid of fears of contact on the level of decision-makers. Against a backdrop of government interest such endeavours ought to be strengthened in future. With all existing intersections one should not forget that military and economy are basically varying spheres. Whereas economy deals with scarce goods and thus efficiency is in the focus of attention, armed forces are designed for the controlled applying of force. Despite the always-mentioned „economy of forces“ command and control is in the focus of attention, and the shortage of resources is a more or less external factor. Moreover, the functional nature of military organisations can certainly be measured, but real cost and performance accounting often turns out to be difficult. Since the outbreak of the economic crisis in the end of 2008 much has changed concerning the basic understanding of economic activities. The discussion, which started with the bonuses for managers, has finally extended to the total understanding of economy in capitalist systems, and it has contributed to the fact that terms such as „sustainability“ and „economic ethics“ now are part of the self-evident repertoire of every manager. Thus, the classical soldiers’ virtues would gain importance in economics as well. Human maturity, modesty, devotion, esteem, and moderation are virtues befitting soldiers and leaders. Especially an organisation like the Austrian Armed Forces, which sinks a considerable amount of money into the further training of its employees, could profit here. For this reason the present alignment with the civilian (academic) educational sphere ought to be increasingly completed with close contacts to trade and industry. In Austria first signs of „security industry“, which seems to serve as a connecting link, can be detected already. So far those management consultants, educational institutions and security service providers, who act as mediators between the different fields, and who are well cross-linked in both directions, the most important actors. They are capable of acting flexibly and quickly, of establishing national and international contacts, and of acting efficiently and unbureaucratically as mediators. These enterprises, therefore, should be increasingly integrated into the processes of governmental crisis and disaster control as well as into High Policy, and should altogether be increasingly made use of by military and civilian structures. After all, even the Austrian Armed Forces will have to get used to the fact that again and again some of their highly qualified employees will drift off to trade and industry. It is up to the military commanders either to consider this as a threat or to take advantage of it as a chance.