Online seminar on the Vienna Strategy Conference 2020

Forecast for the Vienna Strategy Conference 2021

Laurenz Fürst/Richard Fischer

An online seminar on the Vienna Strategy Conference took place from 3rd to 4th November 2020. The organizer of this online seminar was the ÖMZ with Brigadier Wolfgang Peischel responsible. Due to the global Corona pandemic, the 2020 Strategy Conference had to be cancelled with a heavy heart. However, in order to keep the friends, participants and colleagues of the last years up to date and to send a strong sign of life, a two-day online seminar was held at the beginning of November. It was obvious to everyone that this online seminar - due on the one hand to the online format and on the other hand due to the shortness of view – could not replace the original Strategy Conference in any way. The subject of the online seminar was: “Development trends of strategic thinking (from the respective scientific perspective)”. This concise and intensive online seminar was dedicated to the exchange of ideas and thoughts in reference to the strategic implications of the current crisis and the consequences. The focus was on the development trends of strategic thinking from an overall strategic point of view. In this context, the importance of cross-policy strategic advisory competence in the context of a perceptible strategic deficit was highlighted. Advice of this kind - professionally and scientifically sound - ought to be provided by all departments. The model of this consultation incorporates the elements of the cascade of policy-making levels, state-wide, decision-making strategic thinking and the operational implementation of the strategic purpose as follows:

- on the one hand, in the area of “general, decision-preparing thinking” by the “advisory dimension”,

- on the other hand, in the element “operational implementation of the strategic purpose” by “operational leadership science”. The two “consulting dimension” capability bundles at the interface with the political level and “operational leadership science” for operational implementation are a unique characteristic of the military.

A reference to Clausewitz was established and purpose-target means or means/risk targets and medium-risk determination were projected onto the model. In addition, findings with Clausewitz were outlined to support both the consulting dimension and the operational implementation. As far as “strategy” is concerned, a distinction must be made between the strategy of deciding (decision), which is assigned to politics, and the strategy of thinking (preparation, consultation) that is attributed to the military and military sciences. Referring to Corona, it was pointed out that certain actors could use such a situation as a weapon. This should be taken into account for future pandemics, but also in the context of bioweapons. Moreover, dictatorships, through extremely restrictive measures, seem to be able to manage the crisis more effectively. On the subject of “cyber”, the safeguarding of “cyber security” was contrasted with robust, offensive measures by the state, the fundamental rights of citizens and/or data protection. (How much cyber security vs. how many fundamental rights?) Resilience cannot be maintained without sufficient strategic capability.