High risk for Austria quotlimited strategic capabilityquot

High risk for Austria "limited strategic capability"


Instruments to recognize crises at an early stage, assess risks and develop options for action: According to the army’s new “Risk picture 2023”, Austria lacks these. The report lists current and potential threats to Austria’s security. It was presented in Vienna on Friday.

At the top of the list are not only the items “Russia-EU confrontation”, “escalation of the conflict in Ukraine” and “migration flows to Austria” at the top of the list as current and massive threats. The point “Austria’s limited strategic capability”, which is classified as a “political risk”, is also featured prominently in the list of threats to the Bundeswehr.

This risk is not new. Already the “Risk picture 2030” – a previous army strategy document of the year 2021 – identified major deficits in Austria’s “strategic capacity to act”. This refers to “the state’s ability to react appropriately in complex and difficult crisis situations”. However, the State does not have the necessary instruments for analysis and action, he said. Austria is therefore obliged to “prepare in the future for several crises, including those that may occur simultaneously”.

network risks

From the point of view of the Federal Army, apparently there has been no improvement since then. Instead, this threat is classified as even more acute than before in the new “Risk Image 2023” in contrast to “Risk Image 2030”. In her contribution to “Risk Image 2023”, Silvia Angerbauer, head of the Department of Defense Policy and Strategy at the Ministry of Defense, addresses this threat.

She points out that risks are increasingly interdependent. “For example, Russia’s war of aggression is already having a significant impact on the existing scarcity of resources on the African continent, causing further destabilization and even collapse of the state, which in turn results in increased migration flows to Europe. and therefore to Austria,” she said. he writes. These chains of risk effects can only be covered by a comprehensive analysis.

The complexity and interconnectedness reveal “systemic risks, such as Austria’s potential lack of strategic capability,” Angerbauer said. National approaches are needed “to be armed as a republic, on the one hand, and to allow the armed forces to fulfill their constitutional mandate, on the other.” According to Angerbauer, however, instruments for “early crisis detection, risk and impact assessment, development of action options and strategic decision-making” do not seem to be sufficiently developed at national level in Austria. It remains to be seen “to what extent and whether the Crisis Security Law presented at the end of 2022 will be maintained as a sufficiently strategic organizational form”.

situation worsens

Improving the strategic ability to act becomes even more important for Austria as the challenges mount. When the report was presented in Vienna on Friday, the deteriorating security situation was repeatedly highlighted in the debate. “Without a doubt, the world has become even more unstable,” said Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner (ÖVP).

According to Brigadier Peter Vorhofer, all megatrends point to a deterioration. As an example, he warned of the danger of an attack on an EU member state. That risk was heightened by the war in Ukraine, regardless of whether it was a conventional attack or an attack below that threshold. “In case of further escalation, Austria will suddenly face another security challenge,” said Vorhofer. “Austria must quickly think about solidarity and the duty to provide assistance.”

German defense expert Ulrike Franke assumes tough times are coming for Austria. So far, Austria has done well with its neutrality, but it will no longer be able to evade debates so easily. “The issue of neutrality will come up much more frequently in the coming years,” Franke said. Due to its geographical location, this issue will affect Austria much more than other neutral states like Ireland and Malta.