Walter J. Unger/Sigmar Stadlmeier/Andreas Troll


In the current context, the competence facts „maintenance of public peace, order and security” as well as “military affairs” are concerned in the first place. The former, according to the constitution, is the responsibility of the Home Office, the latter lies with the Ministry of Defence and Sports. The Austrian Armed Forces also have to accomplish tasks abroad and tasks in other areas of authority, such as security police assistance and emergency procedures. The national service act primarily regulates the internal organisation of the Armed Forces, and in paragraph 2 it substantiates the determined purposes of military national defence, of security police assistance, of emergency procedures, and of missions abroad on the constitutional level. In this context it has to be made clear that the core task “military national defence” also includes general operations preparation, immediate operations preparation, and debriefing measures after an operation. Here, general operations preparation means securing permanent operational readiness by providing all operational conditions, particularly those of personnel and material nature. The merely demonstrative enumeration (“particularly”) does not exclude further precautions (such as those of an intangible nature), thus also permitting mission oriented precautions concerning cyber security. Immediate operations preparation, on the other hand, means reinforcing and increasing the operational readiness of the Armed Forces, provided that - due to permanent observation of the military and security-political situation - risks endangering international independence, inviolableness or unity of the federal territory can be anticipated. In this rule, “permanent observation” is implied, for it provides clues for pertinent threats. In this context one has also to observe the development of the situation in cyber space in order to detect clues for massive threats directed at national independence (= freedom of action without political pressure from outside). The former inspector general of the Bundeswehr, General (ret.) Klaus Naumann, thinks that neutral states of the 21st century can overcome the mostly global dangers “only in alliances and international organisations”. In the 21st century, defence not only comprises the three conventional dimensions land, air, and sea, but also includes space and cyber space. Defence is not a task of armed forces only any longer, but “requires the network of all security forces, inter-ministerial command and control comprising the entirety of the state, acting rapidly, covering protection in humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters, fighting against organised crime, defence and protection against the impacts of NBC-weapons, air raids and cyber attacks. Naumann’s statements confirm Austria’s way, and should be an incentive to finish the concept development swiftly, to forward the development and the upgrading of projected instruments for the protection of cyber space. Within the national network of all cyber security and defence forces, embedded in the European Union, based on partnership with NATO, sufficient and resilient protection of cyber space could be achieved.