In addition to providing support in the Corona crisis, the army also provided help last year, for example with natural disasters. Storm damage was removed, roofs were freed from snow loads and fires were fought from the air. Altogether there were 17 assistance services with helicopters, 169 flight hours were flown and over 800,000 liters of extinguishing water were thrown off. In addition, there was the demining service and missions abroad, but also, for example, increased property protection after the terrorist attack in Vienna at the beginning of November.
“We had to prove that we really are the republic’s strategic reserve,” said Tanner. For the army, however, the crisis also had an “image boost”, said Chief of Staff Robert Brieger at a joint press conference.
The fact that the militia was partially mobilized for the first time in the history of the Second Republic in the spring was “not an easy decision,” said Tanner. When asked why they did not do so in the autumn and whether the partial mobilization in the spring was perhaps excessive, Tanner argued that at the time, no one could foresee which support services would be necessary and for how long. You had to ensure persistence.
“In retrospect, we see that it (the decision, note) was necessary,” said Tanner. In addition, it cannot be ruled out that it will be the case again that the militia will be called up. Although the autumn was very labor-intensive because of the support for the mass tests, the deployment was more short-term and foreseeable, agreed Chief of Staff Brieger. Of course, the partial deployment of the militia is also an important gain in experience.