Accepted paper:

Civil-military relations: a challenge at home and abroad - an Austrian point of view

Authors:

Nadja Rossmanith

Paper short abstract:

This paper deals with the roles and identities of military personnel in the collaboration between Austrian armed forces and civil society on a national as well as international governmental and non-governmental level, both at home and abroad, as it is understood within today’s Austrian military.

Paper long abstract:

This paper deals with the roles and identities of military personnel in the collaboration between Austrian armed forces and civil society on a national as well as international governmental and non-governmental level as it is understood within today's the Austrian military. It draws on the Austrian military-strategy concepts and on interviews with officers who work in the field of civil-military relations on the levels of strategy, operations and tactics. Civil-Military Cooperation in the Austrian system includes activities both at home and abroad. At home soldiers collaborate with civil society and other security providers in the fields of disaster relief (mostly snow and mud avalanches), police security assistance (such as border surveillance), aerial surveillance and other forms of support to communities. International commitments which interrelate to both civilian and military interests include but are not limited to humanitarian and disaster relief, crisis management, peace-keeping, search and rescue, training for civil personnel and securing cultural heritage sites. In the public discussion and reasoning preceding and subsequent to a referendum in January 2013 regarding the abolition of compulsory military service for men in Austria these international commitments were perceived to be more crucial to the Austrian politicians and society, than the military defence of national territory. This paper therefore looks at the changing understanding of the role of the military and the identities of soldiers within the army on the basis of the fluctuating interconnection between military and civil areas of interest.

panel P024
Soldier, security, society: ethnographies of civil-military entanglements