Defense policy under NATO auspices

The defense sector was a front-runner of all reform activities pursued in the Republic of Macedonia in view of attaining the country’s strategic goal – membership in NATO. Despite being the initiator and leader in the Adriatic Group, the Republic of Macedonia is the only group member still not in NATO.
Membership in NATO will be reinstated as Macedonia’s top priority. NATO has been Macedonia’s strategic commitment and a consensual goal of all its citizens. We will remain committed to the fundamental principles of maintaining the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and unitary character, keeping its stability and security as well as its participation in collective defense systems. Membership in NATO is more than maintaining the country’s security and stability. It is the basis and precondition for economic development and unhindered flow of foreign investments.  

The Government approach will include serious reforms of the security system and apparatus following NATO’s Strategic Concept for Development 2010-2020. The Republic of Macedonia’s contribution and participation in NATO, EU and UN missions will remain the highest priority. We will reaffirm the participation of Republic of Macedonia’s military potential in NATO operations for prevention and resolution of conflicts around the world. This will make the country a stability factor in Southeastern Europe.

The Government of the Republic of Macedonia will adopt a new approach to financing security and defense. We will focus on development of deployable and sustainable capabilities and interoperability expected of a future NATO member. Following the Long-term Defense Development Plan, we will increase defense spending to 2.3-2.6% of GDP. The amounts will be allocated successively, in accordance with the economic power and progress of the country in the upcoming period. Use of allocated resources will be an imperative, as will the full implementation of the Planning, Programming and Budgeting System (PPBS).  We will conform to the originally projected methodology for distribution of resources according to pre-designed budget categories, i.e. 50% for personnel, 30% for operations, training and maintenance and 20% for equipment and modernization of ARM. We will provide the financial framework and necessary resources for satisfying and increasing the costs for our missions abroad in accordance to NATO’s “smart defense” concept, NATO’s Strategic Concept 2010 and NATO’s Summit Wales Recommendations 2014.

The Government will support a small and professional army in view of creating a common, incorporated staff structure between ARM and Ministry of Defense personnel. All changes will be done based on a comprehensive functional analysis in view of guaranteeing efficiency of tasks, duties, functions and responsibilities, the prerequisite for a quality system of civilian control of the Army.

We will dedicate all efforts toward full de-partization of the Army and the Ministry of Defense by setting up an efficient system of human resources management based on professionalization of the personnel. The main pillar in this regard is increasing the standard of employees, motivation and personnel appeal. A key priority in the area of personnel management is the adoption of the long-neglected career development concept, which aims at setting up a pyramidal structure of military personnel. 

The Government will offer a precise plan for resolving the professional soldiers’ status. Under present legislation, professional soldiers are employed by the Ministry of Defense until they reach 45 years of age. The Government, in cooperation with other state bodies, will provide for their future and needs by redeploying them in other state bodies, public enterprises, public body, local self-government units and the City of Skopje, funds, agencies, bureaus and other legally founded subjects. Employment will be direct, secured without publishing job announcements, on a position that suits their professional skills and qualifications.

The Government will promote a new concept of small and efficient reserve structure – active reserve. This will be an additional option in resolving the professional soldiers’ status after they reach the age of 45.

One of our first tasks will be to revise the Long-Term Defense Development Plan 2014-2025, as principal document in implementation of reforms. We will revise the strategic documents for defense sector reforms according to NATO standards and current challenges and needs.

We will revise MoD and ARM’s Strategy for global communication and information systems development and proceed with modernization of the optic telecommunication infrastructure, the document management system, the logistic information system, the planning, programming and budgeting system, the computer-based training system and other projects. 

We will revise the existing Divesting Plan of inessential MoD and ARM facilities. The process will be based on coordination of MoD resources with all civilian bodies involved in divesting inessential facilities – state bodies, institutions and local self-government bodies.

Under the ARM Modernization and Equipment Project, the Government will invest in the purchase of new helicopters and continued maintenance of existing airplanes, noncombatant motor vehicles, armored cars used by missions abroad and the tactical communication and information system for medium-range infantry battalions deployed in missions abroad.

Professional preparation and training of ARM members – participants in international military missions will remain a top priority, especially concerning their social, health and security wellbeing. 

The new housing concept for ARM and MoD personnel will set up and define ARM’s new housing policy. We envisage a fully sustainable approach that will satisfy the needs and interests of all ARM operatives both in terms of assisting them in meeting their professional duties and obligations, but also in helping them overcome their housing challenges.