Partnerships

U.S., Austrian Defense Leaders Meet to Discuss Shared Challenges

April 11, 2019

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan hosted Austrian Defense Minister Mario Kunasek at the Pentagon to discuss a broad range of defense issues.

01:06

The two leaders met April 10 to discuss efforts to address shared security challenges presented by China and Russia in central and southeast Europe, and Austria's leadership role in stability and Euro-integration efforts for western Balkan countries. The two agreed to continue working together on Austria's military modernization efforts and increasing contributions to European security.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan walks up steps with the Austrian defense minister; service members stand on either side.
Pentagon Meeting
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan walks up the Pentagon steps with Austrian Defense Minister Mario Kunasek following a welcoming ceremony, April 10, 2019.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith, DOD
VIRIN: 190410-D-SV709-0155C
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan sits at at table with a group of people.
Table Talk
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan meets with Austrian Defense Minister Mario Kunasek at the Pentagon, April 10, 2019.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith, DOD
VIRIN: 190410-D-SV709-0281C

Five things to know about Austria:

1
Austria is officially a neutral country and hosts many key European organizations, including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Soldiers work with a horse
Soldier Horse
Austrian soldiers load gear onto their packhorses before hiking to a high-angle range during the International Special Training Centre High-Angle/Urban Course at the Hochfilzen Training Area, Austria, Sept. 12, 2018.
Photo By: Army 1st Lt. Benjamin Haulenbeek
VIRIN: 180912-A-RE773-011C
2
The Austrian armed forces, the Bundesheer, has about 22,000 service members, who are highly skilled in military alpine techniques and training, helicopter mountain rescue, natural disaster response and peacekeeping operations.
Soldiers climb a mountain.
Sniper Hike
Multinational snipers hike to the high-angle range during the International Special Training Centre High-Angle/Urban Course at the Hochfilzen Training Area, Austria, Sept. 13, 2018.
Photo By: Army 1st Lt. Benjamin Haulenbeek
VIRIN: 180912-A-RE773-014C
3
Austria commands the EU-led Operation Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina — which provides capacity building and training support to the Bosnian armed forces — and is the largest non-NATO troop contributor to NATO’s Kosovo Force.
Soldiers aim a gun in the mountains.
Uphill Position
A U.S. Army sniper team engages targets uphill of their position during the International Special Training Centre High-Angle/Urban Course at the Hochfilzen Training Area, Austria, Sept. 12, 2018.
Photo By: Army 1st Lt. Benjamin Haulenbeek
VIRIN: 180912-A-RE773-018C
4
Although not a NATO member nation, Austria contributes forces to NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.
5
The U.S. and Austria have a long bilateral relationship, first establishing diplomatic relations more than 180 years ago.
Six individuals meet at a table.
Expert Instruction
Austrian and American first responders and service members take expert instruction from U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration and the Austrian CBRN Defence Centre, Dec. 11, 2018.
Photo By: Army 1st Lt. Joshua Snell
VIRIN: 181211-A-JH192-258C