"The military is the armed force, it is there to forcibly harm the state and people," said Brieger. The fact that the army in recent decades has increasingly become the stepchild of politics, sees Brieger partly indebted themselves. "We militants have not been able to arrive in civil society and articulate our needs in a clear language, we have always chosen rewriting," Brieger said, referring to the recently announced investment in new army helicopters and vehicles launched by the Politics were publicly presented as a "civil protection package".
"We've used too many euphemisms in the past 20 years, and we've talked about things that have as little as possible to do with shooting and weapons," said Brieger self-critically. He wants to change that as a new chief of staff and align the army again on its core area, the military defense. It would be good to be able to handle assistant assignments like those on the border.
"But only by mastering the robust operations will we be able to cope with the less demanding ones, and if we go the other way and focus only on assistance efforts, as we have done recently, perhaps out of the hardship of the budget situation, then we will master the difficult one no longer. "
"Strengthening inner cohesion"
"If we leave it with snow shovels, peacekeeping missions and a bit of army sport, we are not believable, we have to re-establish the self-image that we are the soldiers of Austria", Brieger appealed to the troops to strengthen the "inner cohesion and more as a family with common goals and interests ". "Only if we believe in ourselves will the others believe in us."
The general says that after the end of the Cold War and the ensuing austerity budget, the army concentrated on subsidizing tasks. The core task of the military, however, is the military defense of the country, "that is the constitutional mandate". In order to bring this back into focus, the craftsmanship skills should be strengthened and the readiness for action should be increased. Of course, that would not be possible without money. It also requires increased training, including live ammunition and outdoor terrain, as well as training in the field of interaction between all military branches.
Compulsory exercises for militia important
Part of this debate is also the initiative of Minister Mario Kunasek (FPÖ) to extend the basic military service again, although in the short term is not expected to implement, as Brieger limits. "But there is a need to talk about military needs, the fact is that you can not train a field-ready soldier in six months, and it would be important to extend the basic military service to a minimum of eight months." Compulsory exercises would be important for the militia.
Military defense would have to be better and more plausibly communicated. "So that we can call things back by name in a few years' time, we need a serious, serious discussion on security challenges," said Chief of Staff Brieger, whose aim is "to plausibly explain that security costs money."
"We need funds to have a modern, strong federal army, and the need to catch up is evident, as we have had budgets for just over ten years that have just made it possible to survive, but have failed to develop capabilities."
Further investments necessary
First priority is the renewal of the helicopters and the mobility for the infantry. For the militia there is far too little equipment. Investments must be made to move and equip them. "All of this is a matter of credibility," said Brieger, who is aiming for an increase in the regulatory budget from 2.2 to 3 billion euros by the end of the legislature, and then wants to gradually increase to one percent of GDP. One percent of GDP would currently be around four billion euros.
According to Brieger, a three-digit million amount is also needed for the upcoming reorganization of airspace surveillance, no matter which variant you choose. Currently, the Austrian airspace is monitored by 15 Eurofighters and 12 Saab 105s. The Saab are 2020 at the end of their lives and must be replaced. Three variants are under discussion: a retrofitting of the Eurofighter, the purchase of another type of jet or the leasing of interceptors.
Against "Eurofighter light" variant
From a slimmed-down "Eurofighter light" variant as one of the possibilities in the conversation Brieger holds little. In this cost-effective variant, the Eurofighter would not be retrofitted as requested by the military with several components such as all-weather missiles and self-defense systems, but only with the essential software update. It would be in the interest of the republic, if you meet international standards, Brieger warned in this regard. The Eurofighter is a fourth-generation high-tech aircraft with a very high performance. "If you operate this plane, you should at least ensure those parts we need to secure state sovereignty, and a solution that would be less useful."
Brieger definitely expects "new information" from the new and meanwhile third Eurofighter U committee. He does not see that his son works there as a parliamentary employee for the FPÖ as a problem of incompatibility. This had already been in the second U-committee as a volunteer at the FPÖ club.
He is currently, however, with "all his thoughts" with the two young women who have crashed an army boat on the Danube and their families. He hopes for the speedy recovery of the women and promises the full investigation of the incident. The commission of inquiry works "intensively" on it.