U.S. ARMY RESERVE COMPONENTS AND HOMELAND DEFENSE AND SECURITY
Raymond E. Bell, Jr.
The Austrian Army Law signed on 18 March 1920 established three missions for the army organized under the provisions of the 10 September 1919 Treaty of St. Germain.
One of these was defense against an external enemy which was interpreted under the treaty as being protection of the new Austria’s borders. A second mission was to provide assistance in protecting the populace from the ravages of nature. The organization of the only unionized professional army in history reflected how these missions were to be executed. For example, in the case of the second mission cited above, the engineer (pioneer) battalions were key to performing tasks relating to flooding on the Danube River and ice blockage on other major Austrian waterways. They were thus stationed in cities close to where they might be required in the case of floods and ice jams. Likewise infantry battalions were required to be able to provide assistance to civilian authorities in the event of forest fires, earth quakes, and heavy Alpine snows.