From Strategy to Military Capability: the Austrian Example

1. Introduction

More and more, Western-oriented armed forces, especially in Europe, get confronted by the public, asking why the military funds should be raised after years of decreasing budgets, triggered by the collapse of the Soviet Union? Military equipment is, in general terms, far more expensive than off-the-shelf civilian goods due to characteristics like survivability, sustainability, and assertiveness. Usually the taxpayer does not consider the fact that there is a logical link between their nations’ National Security Strategy and required military assets.

The following article will illustrate elements of this process on a level generic enough to create an understanding for simple processes but sufficiently specific to recognize its essentials. Choosing the Republic of Austria as an example ensures recognition of force management from an actor, which is not driven by an alliance or the need to possess all thinkable capabilities due to its worldwide ambition. In consequence, it grants a sterile environment to describe the process of deducing the need for an asset out of a capability based on an ambition outlined in a strategy. However, where appropriate parallels or discrepancies to other neutral European nations will be outlined.

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