Defence and Security Committee
Sub-committee on the Future of the Armed Forces
THE ROMANIAN ARMED FORCES: A RELIABLE PARTNER ON THE THRESHOLD OF NATO
MR. ION RATIU (ROMANIA)
23 September 1999
* Until this document has been approved by the Defence and Security Committee, it represents only the views of the Rapporteur.
|TABLE OF CONTENTS
II. A MODERN ARMY IN A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY
- DEMOCRATIC CONTROL OVER THE ARMED FORCES
- THE NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY
- DEFENCE PLANNING
- REORGANISING AND RESTRUCTURING THE ARMY
III. MILITARY REFORM AND THE PROSPECT OF NATO INTEGRATION
- THE CONCEPT
- THE PRIORITIES OF THE MILITARY REFORM PROCESS
- NATO INTEROPERABILITY
- DIFFICULTIES IN IMPLEMENTING THE REFORM
IV. STABILITY AND SECURITY THROUGH CO-OPERATION
APPENDIX 1: Civil and Democratic Control Over The Armed Forces - The Structural Chain
APPENDIX 2: Romania's participation in NATO/PfP Activities
- The end of the Cold War objectively marked the end of an old world and the beginning of a new one, yet things became somewhat more complicated from a subjective viewpoint. Many of us, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, were in the habit of talking about overcoming the bipolarity of the Cold War. But before we can tackle the new reality, we must become accustomed to this new way of thinking.
- Naturally enough, the aspirations of many Central and East European nations, suppressed for half a century, focused, from a very early stage, on the European Union and NATO, the latter being perceived as a guarantor of freedom, democracy and, ultimately, prosperity.
- Apart from its political and military significance, the first round of enlargement stands as concrete proof of the end of the Cold War. But it is just the first step in the reconciliation of the European continent. Dividing lines in Europe can only be erased if all countries sharing the values of the Alliance and possessing the military capability to enhance the security of its members are permitted to join NATO.
- In the Madrid Declaration the West has made a political pledge towards South-Eastern Europe, being aware that, as the developments of recent years have proved, general stability in Europe is closely linked to the stability of this region.
- Indissolubly linked to the Western political and economic system, Romania has constantly stated, and proved, both before and after Madrid, that it sees no alternative to its integration into the Alliance. This objective, of major interest for its security and development, is confirmed by the public opinion polls which show that public sentiment in Romania for joining NATO exceeds that of the other Central and East European countries.
- The progress made by Romania towards consolidating democracy and the rule of law was acknowledged by the Madrid Declaration and was connected to the necessity of building stability, security and regional co-operation in the South-Eastern countries and promoting their integration into the Euro-Atlantic community.
- Your Rapporteur believes Romania is ready to join NATO and, since Madrid, has made considerable strides towards democracy, stability and military preparedness according to Alliance standards.
- The democratic solution of the national minorities issues and the participation of representatives of the Magyar minority in the government have contributed to consolidating the Romanian-Hungarian partnership and set an example for interethnic relations.
- Romania is a true supplier of regional security and stability by virtue of its good neighbourly relations based on bilateral treaties and a network of bilateral and trilateral political partnerships in Central and Eastern Europe. It has a genuine potential for confidence-building thanks to its active participation in PfP programmes, peacekeeping missions and the essential role it plays in the Multinational Peace Force in South-Eastern Europe.
- Romania can play a positive role in the political and military developments in the region, for example, in ensuring the safe and economically efficient transport of Caspian oil and gas to Western Europe.
- In concert with the other Alliance members, Romania could make a positive contribution to the Alliance's collective defence system and increase its capacity to react to the multiple threats originating in the potentially unstable adjoining areas, especially in light of the reform of the Romanian military institution carried out in compliance with NATO standards.
- The early stages of the reform of the Romanian armed forces have already been dealt with in the 1997 Interim Report entitled NATO Enlargement, Partnership for Peace and the Return to Europe [AP 211 DSC/AF (97) 5]. The present Report will concentrate on subsequent progress.
II. A MODERN ARMY IN A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY
- The necessity to reform the Romanian military institution became evident after the 1989 Revolution and the changes which occurred in the international context. The aim of the reform was to change the army inherited from the communist regime into a modern institution capable of fulfilling its new missions and contributing to European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
- Subject to many conditions of an internal nature - first and foremost, economic and financial - military reform also depends on certain external conditions, such as the fact that Romania does not belong to any alliance and benefits from no security guarantees although it is situated in a region adjoining sources of local conflicts. The reform of the armed forces was prompted by worldwide changes concerning the general conception of war, and the modernisation of the means of combat.
A. DEMOCRATIC CONTROL OVER THE ARMED FORCES
- Setting up the legislative framework necessary for the smooth functioning of the military institution and strengthening its democratic and civilian control are basic elements of military reform.
- The 1990-1997 period saw the adoption of laws and governmental decisions regulating the foundation, organisation and functioning of various military bodies, as well as Romania's international military relations and participation in PfP and peacekeeping missions.
- According to the Constitution, the armed forces, as part of the executive power, are placed under the direct control of Parliament, the President, the Government, the Defence Minister and the Supreme Court of Justice (Appendix 1).
- The control exerted by the above-mentioned authorities primarily consists of the approval by the Parliament and the Government of the framework documents concerning defence activities - the National Security Strategy, the Military Strategy, the programmes of constitution, modernisation and preparation of forces, as well as the defence budget as part of the State budget. At the same time, these same authorities watch over the way in which resources allocated to the army are used in compliance with the approved programmes.
- Apart from these public authorities, which represent the classical power structures in the State, the armed forces are also subject to the direct control of the Supreme National Defence Council (SNDC), the Constitutional Court and the Court of Audit.
- As a result of transparency in military activities and efforts towards reform and Euro-Atlantic integration, the army is held in high esteem by the population.
- Significant steps in the field of democratic and civilian control of the armed forces in the post-Madrid period are as follows:
- setting up the conceptual and legislative framework for implementing a new defence system, similar to that of the NATO member countries;
- elaboration of Romania's National Security Strategy adopted by the SNDC and presented by the President;
- increasing the share of the civilian staff working in the central structures of the Ministry, including leadership positions;
- creating the civilian position of Secretary General of the Ministry of Defence, in charge of co-ordinating the relations with the public authorities and non-governmental bodies;
- increasing the volume of information supplied to Parliament (including documentary visits by MPs and participation in exercises);
- improving the public relations services;
- increasing the share of representatives of the political parties, media and civilian dignitaries among the students of the National Defence College.
B. THE NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY
- Romania's National Security Strategy starts from the premise that the European and Euro-Atlantic structures are the basis of the new security architecture of the 21st century and, as such, the only option - at least for Romania - to fulfil the nation's aspirations towards security and civilisation.
- The major objective of this strategy is to protect the citizens, their fundamental rights and freedoms, and to secure the following national interests:
- national prosperity and the democratic development of the society;
- European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
- The Strategy identifies the external and internal threats to national security, pointing out that the main threats are of a non-military nature, and are either transnational, such as terrorism, organised crime, drug trafficking, the smuggling of arms and radioactive substances, or internal, such as corruption or poverty.
C. DEFENCE PLANNING
- The National Security Strategy establishes priorities for dealing with threats facing the nation and defines the resources needed to counterbalance them.
- Defence planning is based on the National Security Strategy presented by the President of Romania to Parliament. According to the law on defence planning (operational since August 1998, Governmental Decision No. 52, approved by the House of Deputies, and now under debate in the Senate), the National Security Strategy covers the 4-year period of the presidential mandate and defines the prospects for the following 4 years.
- The Ministry of National Defence elaborates the strategy, plans and programmes designed to meet Romania's security interests, while the Supreme National Defence Council co-ordinates the Defence Ministry's activities with those of the other public institutions in charge of various aspects of defence, public order and national security.
- The Ministry of National Defence also elaborates Romania's Military Strategy. The Defence Minister gives his approval to strategic and operational plans for a period of 4 to 8 years, before submitting them to Parliament for approval.
- The Law on Defence Planning marks an essential step forward toward the harmonisation of the Romanian defence planning system with those of NATO members by establishing a rigorous methodology. It envisions an efficient decision-making mechanism for developing cost-effective forces, on the basis of political, operational and financial constraints.
- The new multi-year planning system relies on the integration of planning processes, programmes and objectives, dynamism, adaptability, realism, transparency and credibility.
D. REORGANISING AND RESTRUCTURING THE ARMY
- As a consequence of the radical changes in the internal, international, European, and regional security environment, a sweeping programme of reform of the Romanian army was initiated in 1990.
1. The 1990 - 1997 period
- The main yardsticks are listed below:
- dismantling the command units, major units and units integrated in the former Warsaw Pact;
- reorganising the staffs of the armed forces - land, air and anti-aircraft defence, and of the navy;
- reorganising the National Ministry of Defence according to Western standards;
- reorganising the General Staff and the Staff of the land forces in a modular system capable of ensuring interoperability with the armies of NATO members;
- reorganising the army into brigades and army corps, in keeping with modern standards;
- unifying the two air division commandments and anti-aircraft defence;
- establishing a Romanian Rapid Reaction Force as the core of the newly structured Romanian armed forces;
- restructuring military education;
- creation of bodies specialised in the integration of the army in the Euro-Atlantic structures and planning PfP activities - the Directorate for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration within the Department for Defence Policy and the Department of International Military Co-operation within the General Staff.
- Following the reorganisation of the army, personnel numbers were reduced by approximately 44,000 (12,300 military staff and 31,700 draftees).
2. After the Madrid Summit
- No fundamental changes have proved to be necessary in the restructuring of the army after the Madrid Summit. The general aim continued to be the creation of a supple, mobile structure capable of performing missions in a multinational and inter-allied framework, even outside the borders, in crisis situations.
- Military personnel have been reduced from 200,000 (in 1997) down to 178,000, that is, far below the 230,000 threshold established by the CFE Treaty.
- Major restructuring steps were:
- pursuing the modular reorganisation of the headquarters;
- establishing, at headquarters level, structures specialised in preparing Euro-Atlantic integration and planning activities in PfP framework;
- dismantling and transforming over 150 military structures, resulting in a reduction of 15,000 men;
- continuing the operational organisation of the Rapid Reaction Force whose first units are: a mechanised brigade, a marine infantry brigade, a transmission battalion, an air squadron and two frigates;
- the organisational and functional restructuring of the logistic system;
- the operational integration of the air and anti-aircraft defence units.
- A closer tie with NATO Headquarters was ensured by establishing the Romanian Mission to NATO and a Permanent Representation of the Romanian General Staff at the NATO Headquarters. Moreover, the Institute of Defence Political Studies and Military History was set up in order to develop expertise in the field of military security.
3. Reform priorities for the future
- In July 1999 the Romanian Armed Forces Restructuring and Modernisation Programme (FARO-2005/2010), along with a Framework Action Plan to implement it, starting in 2000, were elaborated on the basis of:
- analyses, studies and conclusions of Romanian military experts;
- specialised advice from the British Ministry of Defence;
- assessments made by US Department of Defence structures and the RAND Corporation;
- NATO assessments and information exchange between Romania and NATO through the individual dialogue process.
- In building the programme a force structure based on realistic, reasonable and adequate financing consistent with the probable evolution of the Romanian economy during the next decade has been chosen. The programme comprises two major components: force restructuring and force modernisation. Out of three alternatives, Romania chose the most realistic option Ð restructuring first and modernisation after.
- In its first phase (2000-2003) the Framework Action Plan will mainly aim at:
- continuing the development of the Rapid Reaction Force by including another two mechanised brigades, a tank brigade, a mountain corps and a paratroop brigade;
- achieving a new force structure capable of operating in accord with NATO standards;
- reducing personnel levels to 112,000 by 2005.
III. MILITARY REFORM AND THE PROSPECT OF NATO INTEGRATION
A. THE CONCEPT
- After the Madrid Summit which marked the beginning of the Alliance's enlargement towards the East, Romania realised that, in order to reach its fundamental strategic objective - integration into NATO - it had to confirm the progress it had made, having been mentioned, alongside Slovenia, in paragraph 8 of the Madrid Declaration as a likely next invitee to join the Alliance and pursue its efforts aimed at meeting the economic, political and military requirements for NATO membership.
- In this respect, the Ministry of Defence issued a declaration, on 15 July 1997, and drafted the "Ministry of Defence post-Madrid Strategy for Integration into NATO", in keeping with the admission criteria indicated in the Study on NATO Enlargement. In the opinion of your Rapporteur, the same criteria should apply in the next stages of enlargement. The defined strategic aim was to reduce the time necessary for the integration of the Romanian army into NATO military structures. In keeping with documents adopted by the Washington Summit, Romania recently drafted the NATO Membership Framework Action Plan.
B. THE PRIORITIES OF THE MILITARY REFORM PROCESS
- The management of human resources, C3I, anti-aircraft defence and infrastructure have been identified as priorities of military reform. At the same time they have constantly been placed on the agenda of the consultations with Alliance officials and have constituted themes of the Romania-NATO dialogue.
1. Management of human resources
- Efficiency and reduction are the basic elements of the concept of the management of human resources in the Romanian army, elaborated in the second half of 1997. They include, among others, a pyramidal, hierarchical pattern, the rehabilitation of the NCOs' status, a 1:3 ratio of commissioned to non-commissioned officers, a system of professional retraining.
- The programme for applying this concept, including specific projects, was adopted in January 1998. The project on professional retraining has already been carried out. The other projects are underway and it is estimated that, by the end of 1999, the new system of human resources management will be fully operational.
2. Improving planning and logistics
- Significant progress has been made as regards NATO interoperability in combat and operations planning, logistic support, planning and use of force and means, planning international actions.
3. Strengthening the anti-aircraft defence capability
- A significant step towards strengthening the anti-aircraft surveillance and defence capability was marked by the lauching of the Operational Centre for Air Sovereignty (OCAS), with American support.
- IFF (Identify Friend or Foe) equipment will be installed on all anti-aircraft systems and aircraft; the new radar system is being installed, and possibilities of integrating the Romanian anti-aircraft system into NATO's integrated system of air traffic management are under study. That system has already been integrated in the Rapid Reaction Force. NATO interoperability standards are also the goal for modernizing of anti-aircraft missile systems.
4. Modernising military infrastructure
- The aim of modernizing military infrastructure is to develop the national defence concept and allow for a rapid absorption of possible allied reinforcements. Priorities in this field are connected with ensuring exercises and applications according to NATO training procedures.
C. NATO INTEROPERABILITY
- A priority objective for the Romanian armed forces is NATO interoperability. This aim is served by the conceptual, operational, technical and administrative measures taken. The new multi-year defence planning process is similar to that used by NATO members.
1. Romania's Participation in Partnership for Peace Planning and Review Process (PARP)
- The priority objective of Romania's Participation in the PARP is the achievement of the 44 interoperability objectives assumed for a limited number of military units and infrastructure elements. A programme to improve interoperability between the Romanian army and NATO's military structures in PARP cycle II has been elaborated to this end.
- Romania participates in PARP with an important number of military units belonging to land, air and navy forces trained for the entire range of specialized operations - peacekeeping, search and rescue, humanitarian aid. The funds have been allotted from the annual defence budget and the special PfP activities budget approved by the Parliament, as well as from US bilateral programmes of assistance and bilateral programmes with other NATO members.
- The exact stage of implementation of the interoperability objectives had been assessed in the Global Interoperability Study for the PARP cycle II submitted to specialised NATO authorities. The study also initiated the PARP cycle III, thus helping NATO authorities in establishing a basis for the new partnership objectives.
2. Romania's participation in the PfP Programme
- Romania's participation in the PfP has constantly increased, both quantitatively and qualitatively, from one year to the next, as shown in Annex 2, because the PfP has been perceived as a useful and efficient instrument for attaining the objective of integration.
- The establishment of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) and of PfP Plus opened wider prospects for Romania's co-operation with the Alliance, while greater emphasis could be placed on qualitative aspects.
- The Romania-NATO Individual Partnership Programme included some 600 activities in 1997 and some 800 in 1998. At the same time, Romania has participated in a whole range of land, air, navy, logistic and civilian protection NATO/PfP exercises. The performance of the Romanian armed forces has proved their capacity to meet Euro-Atlantic standards.
- It should also be mentioned that Romania has shown great willingness to fill the positions offered by the Alliance to its partners in its leading structures and is aware of the fact that this kind of experience is extremely beneficial to Romanian officers.
3. Romania's participation in EAPC
- The EAPC has opened fresh opportunities for consultation and practical co-operation, for both strengthening military co-operation and expanding the political dimension of partnership.
- From the very beginning Romania has joined the co-operation initiatives in the EAPC framework: opening by the partners of the Alliance Programme for Scientific Research; founding of the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Co-ordination Centre (EADRCC); founding of the Consortium of Military Academies and Security Studies Institutes. On the occasion of the EAPC Ministerial meeting in Brussels (June 1998) Romania offered to host a Regional Centre of Defence Management Resources for improving the training of civilian and military personnel. The offer was accepted and the centre will become operational in the course of this year.
4. Romania-NATO Individual Dialogue
- In the Individual Dialogue with NATO, Romania's political aim was to go beyond its current status of active Partner and achieve its goal of becoming a full Alliance member as soon as possible.
- In the military field, the aim has been to establish the priority fields of participation in EAPC and PfP activities in order to avoid the integration difficulties the three new members are faced with. Romania will continue to train its armed forces at a pace comparable to that adopted by Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
- After the Madrid Summit the Romania-NATO Intensified Dialogue materialised in four rounds of meetings between the Romanian Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers (or Secretaries of State of these ministries) and representatives of the North Atlantic Council (or of the International Staff).
- These meetings were occasions to define the ways in which Romania's integration efforts could be supported and to identify the actions to be undertaken to enable Romania to maintain and consolidate its position among the candidates:
- speeding up reform and improving economic performance;
- pursuing an active policy of security supplier in the region and expanding co-operation with member and candidate countries;
- advancing negotiations on the bilateral treaties with Russia and Moldova and developing co-operation with Ukraine;
- completing military reform;
- improving interoperability with the Allied forces, mainly in C4I, anti-aircraft defence and infrastructure.
- From the military viewpoint, it would be possible for Romania to join the Alliance if the resources allotted cover the immediate training and equipment requirements. The Rapid Reaction Force and the peacekeeping units are the first elements which are fully interoperable with NATO.
D. DIFFICULTIES IN IMPLEMENTING THE REFORM
- Military reform in the post-Madrid period was not devoid of obstacles or difficulties, one of which was the lack of sufficient financial resources. Due to an unfavourable economic evolution, the defence budget was too small for the proposed aims. Consequently, a process of rigorous correlation of the reform plans with budgetary restrictions has been initiated and is underway.
- Another difficulty was the insufficient number of officers trained in keeping with NATO standards to be placed in key positions to assist the reform. Consequently, top priority has been given to staff training during this period.
- On the other hand, the rapid reduction of the force structure has led to dysfunctions. Discrepancies also appeared between the units meant for PARP and the rest of the army, since a simultaneous "reform attack" at all army levels was practically impossible. The solution was to begin at the bottom and work up, and the Rapid Reaction Force was selected as the basis for Romania's future force structure.
- A study jointly undertaken by experts from the Romanian General Headquarters, the US Defense Department and US European Headquarters (Eucom) assessed the situation and determined the optimum ratio between resources and interoperability requirements, thus laying the bases for the continuation of the reform.
IV. STABILITY AND SECURITY THROUGH CO-OPERATION
- The evolution of the international system and of the Euro-Atlantic area of security demonstrate that co-operation is the main instrument for solving any kind of security problems, both because of the specific threats and challenges to the security environment at the end of this millennium and because of the increasing interdependence in all fields, inclusive of security and defence.
- Fully aware of this necessity, Romania is engaged in creating an intense co-operation network, including in the military, on a bilateral basis: with neighbours, NATO members and NATO candidates. Also on a regional and subregional basis. Concrete actions in the military field are confidence- and security-building measures agreed upon with neighbouring states and the participation in the constitution of multinational military structures.
- The Romanian-Hungarian joint battalion is meant to take part in peacekeeping and humanitarian actions mandated by the UN or OSCE and carried out by NATO or WEU. This battalion became operational this year. Romania has expressed its interest in taking part in the Italian-Slovenian-Hungarian project of constituting a peacekeeping brigade and has invited Poland and Ukraine to participate in a trilateral project for creating a multinational peacekeeping force. Romania is also part of the peace support co-operation initiative (CENCOOP) launched by Austria and the multinational brigade SHIRBRIG; it has played an active part in the constitution of a multinational peace force in South-Eastern Europe which led to the creation of SEEBRIG, capable of performing peace-support actions under UN or OSCE mandate.
- Strategic or special partnerships with NATO member states provide an opportunity for Romania to co-operate in military and civilian staff training, communications, equipment and technical interoperability, as well as in fighting non-military threats - drug trafficking, money laundering, illegal migration, strategic materials smuggling. Concrete steps are being taken to ensure interoperability with the three new members.
- Romania, whose significant role in South-East European security and stability has been acknowledged, has also won appreciation for its participation in the peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Albania and in the reconstruction of these countries. Understanding that having security means generating security, Romania attaches major significance to its participation in peacekeeping operations and has 4 infantry battalions specially trained and equipped, 28 maritime and fluvial ships and a field hospital, all of them interoperable with NATO forces.
- Although suffering huge economic losses during and after the Kosovo crisis, Romania granted total support to NATO actions in Yugoslavia because it understood that Alliance policy developed as a consequence of "the dialogue of the deaf" with President Milosevic. It is Romania's conviction that implementing a long-term security and co-operation strategy in the region, with an important economic content, represents the only hope for stability. That is why adoption of the Stability Pact in South-Eastern Europe prompts high expectations. Romania is able to bring an important contribution to the Pact, as a country bordering on the crisis region but not belonging to it. Romania is not a part of the problem, but can be a part of the solution.
- Romania's firm determination to assume the responsibilities associated with NATO's collective defence system is demonstrated by the orientation of the military restructuring towards interoperability with the Allied forces, its political and military capacity to contribute to crisis prevention and management, and its active part in the subregional co-operation initiatives.
- As far as military reform is concerned, Romania is now in a stage of preparation for NATO integration that is more advanced than the three new members were at the moment invitations were extended.
- Apart from the military capability to contribute to Alliance objectives and missions, a responsible and predictable behaviour in international relations, the proven capacity to build consensus and respect for the values promoted by the Alliance should qualify Romania for NATO membership as a direct contributor to strengthening the Southern flank and stimulating stability and integration in an area marked by uncertainty and insecurity.
- While recognising the priority of redefining NATO's role in the co-operative security architecture of the next century, your Rapporteur wishes, in conclusion, to emphasise the equal importance of continuing the enlargement. This process should be carried out on the basis of a rigorous strategy likely to grant the candidates clear integration prospects, in keeping with their efforts and contribution to regional peace, stability and the common security objectives.