Just nine months after a significant build up of armored personnel carriers, Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen and Defense Chief of Staff General Robert Brieger have announced (Mar 12) a joint call to reinforce military preparedness, warning that Austria’s Armed Forces were losing its ability to play its fundamental role in the defense of the nation.
Demanding a hefty increase from the current €2.2 to 3.3 billion by 2022, General Brieger described the situation as “highly urgent”, without which, he predicted pending “security gaps” by 2025. Over all, he described an airforce, artillery and infantry that have all been deteriorating steadily over the past 15 years, with overall employment numbers falling by 16%, the Mobilmachungsstärke by 50% and the annual drafted recruits by 47%.
The gaps in the infrastructure of Austria’s Armed Forces were equally severe. Sixty-five percent of the force’s institutional buildings are in need of drastic renovation, while only 10% are still fully intact. Military officials expressed their frustration before the Defense Staff Chief saying, “as long as the public sees the military as a service for heavy snow removal, politicians are less likely to priorities the security bill.”