Two Weeks in Austrian Defence | Jan 7

In Blog, English, Uncategorized by Bernhard Völkl

New Minister of Defence: Klaudia Tanner >>> Eurofighter offset deal volume exceeded by EUR 1bn >>> National security preview 2020 published >>> Cyber attack on Ministry for Foreign Affairs

TWIAD is your bi-weekly, English-language briefing on national security and defence affairs in the alpine republic. The most relevant news reports, press releases, articles and announcements are recapped and, where necessary, put into context for greater accessibility. Feel free to get in touch and leave us your feedback and thoughts, ask questions in the comments or join the #TWIAD raucity on Twitter!

New Minister of Defence: Klaudia Tanner

Klaudia Tanner, 49, has been named as the incoming Minister for Defence, to be sworn in today as part of the Conservative-Green coalition government. Mrs Tanner has no prior experience in defence policy, but is reported to have already been shortlisted for the ministerial post in 2017.
Read our full portrait here.

Eurofighter offset deal volume exceeded by EUR 1bn

The Ministry of Commerce in December released a report on the agreed offset deals around the EF-2000 Eurofighter Typhoon purchase. These deals, roughly two times the value of the initial purchase price, were supposed to benefit Austrian industry.In its inquiry, the Ministry examined a total of EUR 6.11bn in deals, of which EUR 4.55bn (745%) were acknowledged as compliant with the original contract.
Aircraft industry supplier FACC (EUR 1.4bn), MAN Trucks (787m) and automotive industry supplier Magna (384m) were stated as the main winners.

Unrelated from the offset deal is the ongoing investigation into fraud allegations by the Federal Prosecutors for Commercial Crimes and Corruption against Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH and its legal successors.
Opposition politicians, sceptical of the Ministry’s figures, were reported to submit a parliamentary inquiry.

Acknowledged deals struck between 2003 and 2010
Acknowledged deals struck between 2011 and 2018

For comparison: Switzerland is currently planning a similar procurement, but demands no more than 60% in offset deal volume.

More on the decades leading up to the Austrian Typhoons’ delivery in our 2016 article.

National Security Preview 2020 published

The annual National Security Preview 2020, a 300-page public report and collection of essays, was published in December. The report attests a deterioration in Austria’s security situation, driven by worsening risks on a European level. Hybrid threats taking center stage in the publication, with five central challenges outlined for the Bundesheer for 2020 and beyond.

The report stresses that current risks can only be mitigated in close national and international cooperation; it further emphasises the significance of the Austrian concept of Comprehensive Defence, whereby collective defence is a task of a broad range of institutions public and private, and not limited to the kinetic aspects borne by armed forces.
Furthermore, the report once again highlights immediate measures to be taken to bolster its defence capacity and to reverse its increasing international isolation in matters of security and defence.

Alleged Russian spy: Indictment final

The indictment against a former Bundesheer colonel alleged of spying for Russia from 1992 is now final and legally binding. The 71-year old will be brought before court in Salzburg in March.

Cyber Attack on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs

The Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs has been the target of a sustained cyber attack on the weekend following the publication agreement between OeVP and Greens. While the website and all relevant services remained operational, its severity led authorities to believe a state actor behind the attack.
A speaker stated that a coordination committee from several federal authorities have been called; this could point to an Emotet attack rather than a mere distributed denial-of-service scheme.

The current attack is not the first to target Austrian entities; in 2011, websites of the centre-left SPOe and the far-right FPOe were defaced, 2018 saw DDoS attacks on websites of Parliament and various ministries, and the centre-right OeVP 2019 reported an attack and data exfiltration from their servers during the run-up to the 2019 elections.


Header image: Bundesheer

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About the Author

Bernhard Völkl

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Bernhard is a reserve officer in the Austrian Armed Forces and works in e-commerce.