2020: Quo vadis, Bundesheer?

Bernhard Völkl// 06.01.2020

2020 is set to become an interesting year in Austrian defence. In 2019, austerity has again begun to bite and a new coalition government between Conservatives and Greens is due to be sworn in on January 7. We take a look at their agenda and added our comments. (...)

2019: A recap

Bernhard Völkl// 05.01.2020

2019 was a turbulent year for the Bundesheer: Following the breakup of the conservative/far-right government coalition in mid-may, a sequence of interim cabinets took over, and with them different Ministers of Defence. Austerity again began to bite, and federal President Van der Bellen repeatedly voiced dismay with the budgetary situation of the armed forces. (...)

Two Weeks in Austrian Defence | May 14

Chiara Libiseller// 14.05.2019

Concern over military liaisons in federal ministries >>> criticism for military high school project >>> increased Austrian contingent with EUTM Mali >>> joint training for Austrian and U.S. military police >>> Specialised officer training for Bundesheer cyber branch? >>> Alleged Russian spy remains in pretrial detention (...)

Two Weeks in Austrian Defence | Jan 20

Chiara Libiseller// 20.01.2019

Federal President and reserve associations bemoan unconstitutional state of the Bundesheer >>> Kunasek supports deeper EU cooperation in security and defence >>> Bundesheer to acquire 3 new Black Hawks until 2020 >>> Bundesheer supports civilian rescue services after heavy snowfalls  >>> Proposed changes to military law: wider access to telecom data (...)

Two Weeks in Austrian Defence | Dec 03

Bernhard Völkl// 03.12.2018

CBRN SaaS project >>> Former Bundesheer officer accused of spying for Russia >>> Reform of the community service >>> New “security school” to replace military boarding school >>> Final report on boating accident during recruiting event >>> Procurement: New precision rifles and housing for the Jagdkommando (...)

This summer in Austrian defence | TSIAD 2018

Bernhard Völkl// 26.10.2018

New Chief of Defence appointed >>> Repeated Calls for an Increased Defence Budget >>> Kunasek suggests to extend the duration of conscription >>> Continuous decrease in the number of men fit for service >>> Austria and partner countries propose ‘Surveillance as a Service’ project to EU >>> Third parliamentary inquiry into Eurofighter deal (...)

Let’s talk about …Austrian National Security

Bernhard Völkl// 07.10.2018

Pt.1: The current state of neglect This article has been co-authored by Chiara Libiseller, doctoral student at the Defence Studies Department of King’s College London, and Bernhard Völkl. Taking this summer’s debate on Austrian conscription as a starting point, it explores Austrian’s notions and attitudes towards the Bundesheer, the nation’s stance towards security and defence as (...)

Red Sparrow – a movie about US-Russia relations

Hanna Grininger// 25.04.2018

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 (...)

Science, Science, and Science – Gerasimov’s 2018 speech

Christoph Bilban// 10.04.2018

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 (...)

The Syrian conflict’s fallout in Lebanon – and Hezbollah’s role in the quagmire

David Fussi// 08.04.2018

The Syrian civil war affects Lebanon in a myriad of ways, and ever since the outbreak of the conflict in 2011, the security situation in parts of the country deteriorated decisively . The Lebanese state was challenged the most in two hotspots: Tripoli, the second largest city, where radical groups took over parts of town for a few months, and the northern Bekaa Valley on the border to Syria, (...)

Comeback of Deterrence – An Austrian Review of BALTDEFCOL Conference 2018

Christoph Bilban// 25.03.2018

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 (...)

For domestic use only

Bernhard Völkl// 08.03.2018

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 (...)

This week in Austrian defence | April 23

Bernhard Völkl// 23.04.2017

Eurofighter Typhoon committee of inquiry specifies its schedule >>> Row over sexist recruitment ad  >>> Pilot shortage >>> Bundesheer reopens permanent helicopter pad at Klagenfurt airport >>> Doskozil wants air rescue to become a military task >>> Enhanced military cooperation with Cyprus >>> Procurement of 34 ‘PANDUR (...)

Khan Shaykhun is Thightening the Syrian Knot

David Fussi// 22.04.2017

This article sheds light on events in the run-up Khan Shaykhun chemical attack on April 4, 2017 as well as its context and likely consequences for the war in Syria. Read the full article in German. In the weeks prior to the April 4 chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun, fierce battling between government and rebel forces had taken place along several fronts across Syria. Political landmarks such (...)

€19,84m for externally sourced services in 2016

Christoph Bilban// 09.04.2017

The Austrian Ministry in Defence in a response to MP Nikolaus Scherak’s parliamentary inquiry revealed its 2016 expenditures for externally sourced services, totalling €19.84m. This equals about half of the government’s total stated expenditures of €42.2m in that category. The figure that does not, however, include all ministries. Item Cost Transport Services €6.59m Trainings (...)

This week in Austrian defence | April 2

Bernhard Völkl// 02.04.2017

Bundesheer foreign missions: figures updated >>> New commanding general for EUFOR ALTHEA >>> New weapons and personal gear for Austrian soldiers >>> Doskozil: Withdrawal from UNDOF “a mistake”  >>> Chief of Defence facing criticism >>> Deployment to Hungary extended (...)

New weapons and personal gear for Austrian soldiers

Bernhard Völkl// 30.03.2017

Featured image: Austrian Armed Forces Photograph / Pusch On March 29, a range of small arms and new personal equipment for Bundesheer soldiers were announced: new assault and sniper rifles, protective equipment, CRC gear, NVGs and uniform items, to name but a few. This article lays out the details and prods the figures. (...)

This week in Austrian defence | March 25

Bernhard Völkl// 25.03.2017

DACH defence ministers’ meet in Berlin >>> Sharp decline in service complaints continues >>> Diplomatic retaliation: Turkey targeting Austria in NATO >>> Dual Citizenships: Bundesheer warned of  potential abuse >>>  Swiss Mountain Infantry Brigade 12 takes win at Edelweiss Raid 2017 >>> #notmypresident: Soldiers facing disciplinary (...)

The world is at the brink of war – News from Valery Gerasimov

Christoph Bilban// 22.03.2017

On March 15, 2017, a new article by Valery Gerasimov was published in the Military-Industrial Courier. Titled “The world is at the brink of war” the subtitle is more enlightening actually . Gerasimov presents a view according to which foresight is more important than focusing on lessons identified from current conflicts. Related to the 2013 “Gerasimov Doctrine” (see the Russian orginal here), (...)

Language and Security – A Philological Point of View

Hanna Grininger// 19.03.2017

In the fields of marketing and public relations the value of getting your texts, slogans and advertising messages right is well known. Yet, in the scientific field of international relations the power of words is still underestimated, despite some scholars working on and with political discourse analysis. The last months showed an increased interest in the role of language in political (...)

Review of DASICON2017

Christoph Bilban// 10.03.2017

Again crew was present at the Vienna Diplomatic Academy Students Initiative’s annual conference held from March, 03 to March, 04 2017. Take a look at our review on Storify. (...)

Zika on the Rise

Maximilian Mayerhofer// 13.04.2016

With the last confirmed death related to Ebola in January 2016, the disease looks tamed. Meanwhile however, the next adversary is emerging: The Zika virus started spreading in Brazil in April 2015 and quickly set out to other parts of Latin America and even as far as Europe. This article will give a quick recap on the virus itself, its latest history, known pattern of spreading and currently (...)

The 80s Music Guide to Current Conflicts

Ben Dagan// 31.03.2016

After surviving the first of April hoaxes, we’ve decided to cheer you up with an 80s music guide to current conflicts and issues in International Relations. It is interesting to see how music can be reused to describe something that wasn’t on the radar at the time and certainly not on the mind of the artists. It is nothing but to enjoy music from a time when the fronts appeared to (...)

Abschieben, eine Herculesaufgabe?

Bernhard Völkl// 24.03.2016

Aktuelle Zahlen zu Asyl und Abschiebung in Europa und Analyse der Pläne zum Einsatz von Heeresmaschinen bei Abschiebungen. Verglichen mit zivilen Chartermaschinen stellen sich die “Hercules” als die deutlich teurere Lösung heraus. (...)