Country Listing

Austria Table of Contents




Figure 12. Organization of National Defense, Planned 1995

Source: Based on information from Jane's Defence Weekly [London], 17, No. 4, January 24, 1992, 117-24.

Under the constitution, the president is the nominal commander in chief of the armed forces. In reality, the chancellor has operational authority, exercised through the minister for national defense. The chancellor also chairs the National Defense Council, which has as its members a vice chairman, the minister for national defense, an appointee of this minister, the general troop inspector of the armed forces, and a parliamentary representative. The minister for national defense, acting in cooperation with the minister for interior, coordinates the work of the four major committees under the National Defense Council: the Military Defense Committee; the Civil Defense Committee; the Economic Defense Committee; and the Psychological Defense Committee. The general troop inspector acts as the senior military adviser to the minister for national defense, assists the minister in the exercise of his authority, and, as head of the general staff, is responsible for planning. However, the army commander exercises direct operational control of the Bundesheer in both peacetime and wartime.

Article 79 of the constitution, as amended in 1985, states that the army is entrusted with the military defense of the country. Insofar as the legally constituted civil authority requests its cooperation, the army is further charged with protecting constitutional institutions and their capacity to act, as well as the democratic freedoms of the inhabitants; maintaining order and security in the interior; and rendering aid in disasters and mishaps of extraordinary scope. In administering the armed forces, the Ministry for National Defense is organized into four principal sections and the inspectorate general: Section I deals with legal and legislative matters; Section II handles personnel and recruitment matters, including discipline and grievances; Section III is concerned with troop command, schools, and other facilities, and it also comprises departments G-1 through G-5 as well as a separate department for air operations; and Section IV deals with procurement and supply, quartermaster matters, armaments, and ordnance (see fig. 12).

The general troop inspectorate is a separate section of the ministry with responsibility for coordination and fulfillment of the missions of the armed forces. It encompasses a general staff department, an attaché department, and planning and inspection groups.

The armed forces consist solely of the army, of which the air force is considered a constituent part. As of 1993, the total active complement of the armed forces was 52,000, of whom 20,000 to 30,000 were conscripts undergoing training of six to eight months. The army had 46,000 personnel on active duty (including an estimated 19,500 conscripts), and the air force had 6,000 personnel (2,400 conscripts).

Data as of December 1993