Vienna Strategy Conference 2022

Laurenz Furst, Austrian National Defence Academy


Conference Document Link

Vienna Strategy Conference 2022

Rethinking Strategy

The Interface between Strategic Purpose and Operational Implementation

The cascading interrelationship between setting the strategic purpose/planning its operational implementation/ensuring logistic support and determining which risks to take, against the backdrop of current crises and conflicts in the European environment

National Defence Academy Vienna

20th - 24th June 2022

Conference language German, simultaneous translation to/from English, broadcast via livestream

Implementing educational institution

The conference is hosted by the National Defence Academy Vienna (NDA/LVAk). Thematically, the event is divided into a basic cognitive science part running parallel to the introduction and a main part "Rethinking Strategy" dedicated on the one hand to the strategy-theoretical dimension of the topic and on the other hand to applied strategy.


In the first conference, we worked with high-level presenters to develop an initial working definition of strategy. In the second, a possible structure for the military-scientific core subject "Strategy" was designed and discussed. In the third, a first concrete topic ("Narratives, Cyber, Hybridity, Resilience" - new phenomena, old wine or just a moving army of metaphors?) was worked through on the basis of the, previously found structure. In the fourth, the conference was dedicated to the general topic of "Strategy and Will", based on the proven panel structure. After the 2020 conference had to be cancelled due to Corona, the 2021 conference dealt with the topic "Democracy and Strategic Capability".

The aim of this year's event is to examine the cascading interdependency between strategic purpose - operational implementation planning - logistical backup and the determination of the risk to be taken by the political decision-making level against the backdrop of current crises and conflicts in the European environment.

The aim is to find out how strategic objectives can be translated into operational action without, on the one hand, imposing overly restrictive guidelines on the operational level, but, on the other hand, in such a way that the logic of the strategic objective is understood and implementation can take place independently but at any time in the sense of the strategic level. In addition, it is to be examined how the operational and logistic feasibility planning procedures have an impact on the strategic purpose setting and influence it in an advisory manner, i.e. in preparation for decision-making. In doing so, the necessary strategy-theoretical foundations (Clausewitz' hermeneutic circle, the iterative coupling of theory and practice or of a priori rational and operationally creative thinking, etc.) will also be addressed. From the interdependency of effects mentioned in the topic, it will be deduced that the military and military-science are particularly capable of covering security-related advice regarding strategic purpose-setting and its operational

implementation at the same time. In concrete terms, it is to be shown that the senior military leadership could also make an advisory contribution to the strategic purpose determination based on the operational feasibility study or planning under its responsibility, the calculation of the logistical requirements and the determination (by no means definition) of the risk to be assumed by the political level, in relation to the released resources.

Beyond this strategy-theory-heavy context, an additional focus in the area of practical application of strategic thinking was set by expanding the topic to current crises and conflicts in the European environment.

Another aspect to be examined in this context is the relationship between strategic purpose-setting or independent judgment on the one hand and planning on the other. Based on the guiding principle of the elder Moltke (analogously: "Planning up to the first encounter with the enemy - from there on command and control"), it will be asked whether the winged phrase of "general staff planning" actually represents a specific and unique achievement or rather an indication of the partly voluntary reversion to operational contexts.


The attendance of both events is free of charge. Travel expenses and accommodations costs would have to be borne by the participants.

Conference language

The conference language of the basic cognitive science part is English and German (there will be no translation and no livestream), that of the main part (strategy theory and applied strategy - "Rethinking Strategy") will be German, whereby here the content will also be simultaneously translated to/from English throughout, transmitted via radio headphones and made available via livestream.

Enclosed with this invitation are the preliminary program and a registration form.

The update of the program can be followed on the home page of the Austrian Military Journal - ÖMZ (

It may be noted that compliance with the measures issued by the National Defence Academy in accordance with the Corona regulations in force at the time of the conference, is a prerequisite for participation.

The event is not designed for a hybrid implementation (present participation as well as online connection). In the event of a dramatic deterioration of the pandemic situation, the conference would have to be cancelled at short notice and postponed to 2023.

We hope to have raised your interest in the event and look forward to a numerous participation.