The Austrian Armed Forces’ 2017 reform, still incomplete, has been halted. The force structure’s future might look a lot like its past
SPOILER ALERT: This text is a reflection on the 2018 spy thriller Red Sparrow. If you haven’t seen it yet, you might want to read on after a trip to the movies. You may ask what a racy flick has to do with current political affairs, because, of course, it is fiction and meant to entertain rather than educate. That notwithstanding, it can tell us a lot about stereotypes, moral perceptions of right and wrong and about who is the good and the bad guys. Now don’t get me wrong; I think that Red Sparrow is an entertaining movie which I enjoyed watching. Alas, finding it hard to switch off the philologist and security studies researcher, I just couldn’t ignore the socio-political context and stop analyzing it from a humanities point of view.
Scientific hotspots and an old story Valery Gerasimov held his first speech at the yearly assembly of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences five years ago. It soon became (in)famous as the “Gerasimov doctrine” (see also my comment here), and only recently Mark Galeotti, the inventor of the term, admitted he consciously mislabeled his blog post in 2014 when looking for a catchy title. Some weeks ago, the Voenno-Promyshlenny Kur’er (Military-Industrial Courier) once again featured a speech of Gerasimov’s, in an article called “Scientific Hotspots.” While this marks the first time that it wasn’t Gerasimov himself who authored the transcript, it nonetheless resembles a genuine piece of his thinking. Unsurprisingly, his description of the global security situation suits Russia’s siege mentality.
The fourth annual Baltic Defence College conference on Russia took place in Tartu, Estonia from March 8th to 9th. While a lot of the talks were on topics well covered in recent literature and commentaries, there were some strikingly new points as well. For an “outsider” from the peaceful heart of Europe – Austria – the rhetoric encountered on the panels as well as during the breaks, seemed rather belligerent. However, the threat to the Baltic states is real, but not likely. Hence deterrence is the name of the game now for the Baltic armed forces as well as for NATO. Since the NATO summit in Wales in 2014 the term “deterrence” experienced a revival in official documents and statements. While deterrence is seen as the way to mitigate the security risks posed by Russia to this region., RAND Corp in a recent study pointed out that NATO is vastly outgunned on its eastern flank. With just four battlegroups of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence permanently present in the area, force levels prevent a credible deterrence by denial. Nowadays, the EFP’s role is thus akin to a tripwire put in place to trigger Article 5. It was noteworthy then that conference …
Missing the mark: The Bundeswehr’s equipment debateView Post
Vladimir Putin’s new nuclear weapons are aimed at the March 18th elections – and Washington’s revised nuclear posture Dwarfed by the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) on the screens behind him, Russian president Vladimir Putin gave his 14th state of the union address on March 1st. The two hour long televised speech started with the promise of a better future and ended with the threat of nuclear Armageddon. Three weeks ahead of presidential elections, Mr Putin need not fear for his job: In a carefully vetted field of contenders whom he declined to debate on TV, he is all but sure to come out on top. But he also knows that that with an economy fresh out of recession, growing at just 2% in 2017 and stagnation ahead, he has little to offer to ordinary Russians. Their standard of living has not improved in a long time, and the president’s promise of a 50% increase in GDP over the next six years must have seemed like mockery to some. An hour into the address, the main event of his subdued election campaign, the message switched to defiance, and things took a far darker turn.
Why bringing back the draft could be a boon for liberal societies – and why (some) soldiers dislike the idea
Minister of Defence Doskozil, Chief of Defence GEN Commenda and study author Helmenstein presented a new uniform for the Austrian Bundesheer on September 26. (Top image: Bundesheer / PUSCH )
TWIAD is your 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, given some context for greater accessibility. Feel free to get in touch with us and give us your feedback and thoughts, ask questions in the comments and join the #TWIAD raucity on Twitter! Eurofighter Typhoon committee of inquiry specifies its schedule The parliamentary committee for the inquiry into the Eurofighter Typhoon deal has penciled in a schedule: sessions are to be held twice a week, Wednesdays and Thursdays, with two to three witnesses per day. The schedule is to be confirmed on May 9, with sessions to commence thereafter. Row over sexist recruitment ad A media row ensued after the Armed Forces released a recruitment ad containing a pun building on the homonymic German abbreviations for bra and Bundesheer. The MoD spokesman was quick to admit a mistake and said that the hurried release ahead of a nationwide recruiting event for women had not undergone the usual checks. (Indeed, even the armed forces’ URL was spelt wrongly in the ad.) The headlines dealt a blow to the current recruitment drive for more female uniformed …
The following piece takes reference to the article “Europe is trying to keep Russia from influencing its elections” in The Economist. Pleased as I was to see that you took up the issue of Russian influence in Europe, I have to tell you that you got one fundamental thing wrong Neither does Russia have a “Gerasimov doctrine”, nor is the good general’s 2013 article as influential as western audiences are being led to believe. It is the printed version of a speech he gave as the newly minted Chief of General staff, chiefly meant to rally a displeasured officer corps and military scientists behind the reforms ahead. (What was new at the time is that he was the first Russian general to label colour revolutions a threat to Russian national security. The notion of them being a Western technique for overthrowing unbeloved governments however is an older one in Russian military-academic circles.) Only after little green men washed up on the shores of Crimea and peninsula in March 2014 did Gerasimov’s piece attract widespread attention in the west. And only after Messrs Coalson and Galeotti published an English translation that June was the speech exalted to the status of a “doctrine”. What …
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