Johann Frank/Johann Pucher


In 2011 the Federal Government has begun an attempt to reform the Austrian security and defence policy. The way is to go from revising the security strategy via deriving purposeful military tasks and capabilities to possible defence-political profiles and - after the political decision concerning the profile has been made - to the Armed Forces of 2025. Affordability, political and public acceptance, and the focusing on the foreseeable national and the required international requirements are the relevant criteria with which new defence-political conception will be measured. Considering the volatile environmental development it is not a matter of a single reform effort, but rather of the introduction of a continuous development and adaptation process guaranteeing rapid reaction capability and strategic flexibility in view of a possibly quickly changing general set-up. Core elements of this strategic management process are a comprehensive assessment and anticipation of the development of the strategic situation, a continuous scenario monitoring, realizing relevant “strategic shocks”, and the development of plain defence-political effective goals for ensuring a transparent verification process for the desired performance goals related to the national, international and basic tasks of the Austrian Armed Forces.

A successful strategy especially needs political flagship projects. On the basis of this presented analysis, the authors of this paper plead for four security-political ideas:

1. Establishment of a Federal Office of Comprehensive Security Policy and Crisis Management for the coordination and administration of precautionary measures concerning national and international security,

2. passing a Central European declaration of solidarity in case there is a terrorist attack, a natural or technical disaster with cross-border consequences,

3. establishment of a regional civil-military unit of solidarity and - for the longer term - of a rapidly disposable military crisis reaction formation for demanding international crisis management missions, and

4. efficiently implementing the profile variation F2 “Increased national and international cooperations” and developing an international cooperation portfolio derived from it.