The platform “Wehrhaftes Austria” calls for the reintroduction of the mandatory exercise for militia members. In addition to an increase in personnel and a budget increase, it is the main pillar for the upgrading of the army, Brigadier General Erich Cibulka said on Thursday. “If we mobilized everyone, they would still have room in the Ernst Happel stadium,” said the sergeant. He calls for a return to eight months of military service.
Of the total of 55,000 men and women the Federal Army lists as the total number of men, most are militia – but many of them don’t even have uniforms. According to Cibulka, these could not offer protection throughout Austria. Brigadier Johannes Kainzbauer calls for a “serious improvement of the militia system”. In the militia system there is only a small number of professional soldiers, the rest need training. This practical requirement was abolished in 2006.
call for exercises
The platform’s representatives did not agree with the repeated argument that militia exercises would create problems for the soldiers’ employers. “Soldiers make up only 0.6 percent of the workforce,” Kainzbauer says. Sick leave would lead to considerably more absenteeism for employers.
However, a military exercise only makes sense if the equipment and budget are available. In addition, military service must again be extended to eight months: six months of basic training and two months of military exercises, which can take place up to ten years after basic training. “This is in the national interest and I therefore expect the approval of all political parties,” said Kainzbauer.
War brings different perspectives
The compulsory militia exercises – to be carried out over several years – were abolished in 2006 under the then Defense Minister and current Tyrolean governor Günther Platter (ÖVP). Under the current Minister Klaudia Tanner (ÖVP), the option of three voluntary militia months, ie the 6+3 system, was instituted. In view of the war in Ukraine, the resumption of mandatory militia exercises was discussed, and the Chief of Staff, Robert Brieger, now retired, and other experts argued for this. The ÖVP and the Greens rejected the request.
Austrians who don’t want to defend the country?
The platform “Austria with Defence” also considers it important to strengthen the “will to defend” of the population. According to surveys, less than 25 percent of young Austrians are willing to defend their country, according to Ludwig Bieringer, federal president of the camaraderie association.
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