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Summary: Austria - Ten Years of Membership in the NATO Partnership for Peace

Gunther Hauser

Since 1955 Austria has been the 25th member state of the NATO-Partnership for Peace (PfP). The purposes of the PfP are support of transparency of national defence planning and budget procedures, guarantee of democratic supervision of the armed forces, allocation of capabilities and maintenance of the willingness for missions on behalf of UN or OSCE, and the development of cooperative military relationships aiming at common planning, training, and consequently at the intention to carry out exercises in order to strengthen the capabilities of the PfP member states.

The Planning and Review Process (PARP) is essential for the entire spectrum of PfP operations as far as consultation and multinational armed forces planning are concerned. In the PARP the states commit themselves every two years to provide information about, among other things, their supervision and development of armed forces regarding present and future PfP-operations, and about economic and financial plans relevant for PfP.

Additionally, in the two years process every member state carries out a Survey of Overall PfP Interoperability.

In 1997 the North Atlantic Cooperation Council was dissolved and transferred to its successor organisation - the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). The EAPC consists of 46 member states, establishing a forum for regular political consultations between NATO and the member states, and now forms a political patron for designing and realizing the PfP-program, and, as it were, the political framework for the future coordination of common operations of NATO and Non-NATO states.

Cooperations within the EAPC provide for the areas crisis and conflict management, armament supervision, defence planning and budgets, defence politics and strategy, confidence-building measures and conflict prevention in the Euro-Atlantic region, measures against international terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and armaments cooperation.

Austria’s military cooperation with NATO especially concentrates on the areas peace-keeping, humanitarian missions, disaster relief, and search and rescue operations. Taking part in the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP), which contains specific interoperability objectives arranged with NATO, is supposed to enhance interoperability of the Austrian Armed Forces with NATO armed forces.

Since 1995 Austria has been taking part in more than 100 NATO-PfP-exercises and other activities with more than 10.000 participants. By accepting the Partnership Goals in 2004 Austria has accepted 45 goals (22 general goals, 12 goals for land forces, and 11 for air forces). By the beginning of 2005 more than 5.000 soldiers had taken part in PfP-exercises and missions, serving in varying functions (troops, staff personnel, and observer). The Austrian Armed Forces also offer training activities and serve as Host Nation for events within PfP. Nearly half of all Austrian soldiers in the service of peace, namely 600, are taking part in the Kosovo, in an operation led by NATO (KFOR).

Within the Trans-Atlantic Security Community Austria acts as if it were a member already - always considering its policy of neutrality embodied in constitutional law. Austria’s complete participation in the Enhanced PfP, however, does not stand for an assistance promise by NATO. Thus, Austria does not take part in the collective protection against military incursions and in the core of NATO-decisions in the North-Atlantic Council.

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Eigentümer und Herausgeber: Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung | Roßauer Lände 1, 1090 Wien
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