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          • Year: 2004
          • Reform of the Serbian and Montenegrin Army

          • 05. april 2004. - Lieutenant General Branko Krga Lieutenant General Branko Krga, Chief of the SMAF General Staff

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          Terrorist attacks that occur more and more often and inherited instability in the region of the Balkans, together with the open requests for changing the borders, confirm the points of the conflicts in the region have not been calmed down yet. Therefore, there is a need to intensify the cooperation and strengthen the international trust, but also a need for our security caution.

          Besides everything mentioned, the situation in Southeast Europe is becoming more stable. Democratic endeavours of the Balkan peoples, pro-European orientation of the countries in this region and mutual security arrangement significantly reduced the possibility of new interstate conflicts although numerous problems still exist. Complex relations among the states, former republics of the SFRY, their economic underdevelopment and rivalry in gaining financial aid from international institutions, unsolved border disputes, ethnic tension and presence of numerous extremists contribute to this complexity.

          Under these circumstances, consolidation of the reform in Serbia and Montenegro is vital for the whole region. Still, the Albanian situation in Kosovo and Metohija (KiM) and South Serbia is a special security problem of the state union and the Balkans as a region.

          The Serbian and Montenegrin Army fulfilled the tasks under very complex financial conditions last year. By additional efforts, first of all achieved by the professional personnel, by efficient command and rational usage of the funds, all essential tasks were completed: securing the administrative line with KiM, control of the border, training (first of all for antiterrorist combat and the peace mission tasks), numerous activities within inter-army cooperation, etc. Completion of the planned activities in the field of reforms was in the centre of our activities.

          After the commands of the armies, Air Forces and Air Defence, Navy, commands of divisions, fleet and certain units on the tactic level were decomposed last year, the Army made important reform steps:

          - According to the decision of the Supreme Defence Council (VSO), the SMAF General Staff is subordinated to the Defence Ministry,

          - Intelligence and Security Sector were reformed into the Military Intelligence Agency and Military Security Agency, subordinated to the Defence Ministry;

          - School centres and border units in the territory of the Republic of Montenegro were disbanded;

          - The draft document "Defence Strategy of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro", was created and will be delivered to the Assembly of Serbia and Montenegro for adoption;

          - According to the decision of the Council of Ministers, the control of the state border in the territory of Montenegro has been transferred to the jurisdiction of the Montenegrin Interior Ministry: 419 km of land border, 153 km of sea border and 39 border checkpoints, etc.

          Since the basic institutional frame for the Army reform has not been adopted yet, the decision was brought that changes at the tactic level should be started more quickly, according to the level of forces strength and to the plans for reform in the Army until 2010. Besides, we started disbanding the units that do not have the adequate purpose and which are equipped by the outdated military technical means, a number of units receive new weapons and the Army members will be relocated from certain buildings that are to be at disposal of the state union.

          The further reduction of the SMAF is to be continued. We believe there will be no redundant officers or commissioned officers. The redundant will be a number of civilians, which is the issue for the state to solve.

          According to the harmonising the organisation of the SMAF with the force strength, significant amount of weapons and military equipment is to be withdrawn from the operative management. This will include 210 T-55 tanks; 72 OTM-60 armoured transport vehicles; 98 howitzers 105 mm calibre; 54 M1 howitzers 155 mm calibre; 126 T-12 anti-armoured guns; 867 self-propelled vehicles 90 mm; 36 guns 130 mm; 1014 antiaircraft guns 20/3 mm; 80 000 pieces of infantry weapons, large number of motor vehicles, communication devices and other equipment.

          The reform of the SMAF will be realised by 2010, according to the following dynamics:

          - First phase (2003 and 2004) includes the organisational changes at the tactic level, which is in the course. The SMAF General Staff expects normative regulation to be adopted by the end of 2004 (Defence Strategy, Military Doctrine, laws on defence and the Army, etc).

          - Second phase (2005 and 2006) includes organisational build up of the strategic level, rationalisation of the commands at the operational level and forming and relocation of certain infrastructure objects.

          - Third phase (2007 - 2010) includes the final activities in harmonising organisation with the adopted vision and criteria, and disbanding a number of commands of corps and beginning of technical modernisation of the SMAF. We believe it is necessary to establish a separate fund for reform, at the level of the state union, which would provide the basic finance of technical modernisation and support programme for the redundant military personnel.

          Financial conditions will stay as the most important for the speed at which the changes that have been planned will be introduced.

          Inter-army cooperation stayed in the centre of attention of the SMAF in the last year, which resulted by numerous visits in the country and abroad: 27 visits of the Defence Ministry and the chief of General Staff; 106 visits of working groups; education and training were secured for 298 members of the SMAF and the Defence Ministry through 141 activities; English language course in Great Britain was attended by 78 candidates; four seminars were organised in cooperation with NATO, etc. Plans for military cooperation with numerous countries have been agreed on or signed, with our sincere wish to improve the trend we started.

          The SMAF is ready to cooperate with the armed forces, not only in the region but also from the other countries, which are truthfully interested in peace in the Balkans and elsewhere. According to the foreign policy priorities, SCG opted for joining the Partnership for Peace programme, which is the step forward to the equal inclusion of the country into the security structure of Europe and other integration processes. At the moment, members of the SMAF participate in peace and humanitarian missions in East Timor (two officers), Liberia (two officers) and DR Congo (six medics). "The National Centre for Peace Missions" which has been formed has the same function and is to prepare and coordinate all activities in connection with participation of our forces in peace missions.

          We want to have, as the final result of the reform, a modern Army, which will operate as factor of prevention, which is to guarantee the efficient defence of the country and which will be involved in integrative processes and peace missions.

           

        • Tags: defense, Defense Ministry, Serbia, Montenegro, military, Security, reform
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