MOD Awards 2009

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MOD Awards 2009

MOD Awards 2009The awards ceremony, ‘Military Deed of the Year Award’, to honourmilitary personnel for outstanding merit was held on the premises of theSlovak MOD Club, 26 March 2009. The ceremony was attended by DeputyPrime Minister Dusan Caplovic, Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Baska,MOD chief representatives, and Slovak Chief of Defence (CHOD) Gen.Lubomir Bulik. This year the position of honorary guest belonged to theAustrian CHOD General Edmund Entacher.During the ceremony, General Entacher was awarded a special recognitionaward by the Slovak CHOD for the role he played in helping Slovakiaestablish itself in international operations. The Austrian Armed Forces assistedSlovakia in training Slovak servicemen and women for the UNDOF mission, aswell as in transporting personnel and materiel to the Golan Heights.Moreover, the Slovak and Austrian Armed Forces have since long cooperatedclosely in KFOR, Kosovo, and UNFICYP, Cyprus.The ‘Life Rescue Award’ was presented to SSgt. Kamil Kelbel and PteRadoslav Olejnik from the Radar Reconnaissance Company, Mala Ida (EasternSlovakia). While on TDY, they witnessed a road traffic accident, and thanks totheir prompt response, managed to save the lives of a woman and her son.The ‘Friend of the Armed Forces Award’ goes to a person or an entitythat cooperates with the Slovak Armed Forces, promoting a positive image ofthe Services. This year the prize was awarded to Mr. Jozef Hostinsky, Presidentof the Slovak Military History Confederation.The ‘Public Assistance Award’ was presented to Pte Marek Pivovarnik,who unhesitatingly intervened when a person was violently attacked by threehooligans at the Railway Station in Martin, Central Slovakia.Report Jozef ZIAKPhoto Peter DOVINA2


SLOVAK ARMED FORCESMagazine of the Ministry of Defence,Slovak Republic, since 2000Date of production start:October 2009Publisher:Media Communication Division,Ministry of Defence,Slovak RepublicEditor-in-Chief:Mgr. Pavol VITKOTel.: +421 960 312 072, +421 903 820 847pavol.vitko@mod.gov.skChief of Edition:Mgr. Michaela FARKASOVATel.: +421 960 312 806, +421 903 820 195michaela.farkasova@mod.gov.skAssistant Editors:Col. (Rtd) Jozef ZIAKTel.: +421 960 332 755, +421 903 820 194e-mail: jozef.ziak@mod.gov.sk1st Lt. Vladislav VAVRINECTel.: +421 960 312 980, +421 903 820 854e-mail: vladislav.vavrinec@mod.gov.skPhoto Editor:Peter DOVINA, tel.: +421 960 312 945Graphic Designers:Capt. Otakar HRABAKLydia SEVCIKOVAIvana MISKOLCIOVAEditorial Office Secretary:Milena SLEZAKOVATel.: +421 960 312 984,fax: +421 960 312 520e-mail: milena.slezakova@mod.gov.skEditorial Office Address:SLOVAK ARMED FORCESMedia Communication Division, MoDKutuzovova 8, 832 47 Bratislavae-mail: obrana@mod.gov.skwww.mosr.sk/slovak-armed-forcesPrinted by:5th Carto-Reproduction Base NemsovaFront & Back Cover Pictures:Peter DOVINA, Pavol VITKO, Katka BELICOVA© Ministry of Defence,Slovak Republic,Licence Number: 2351/2000Contents:Slovakia to becomeNATO HQ for two daysPage 6Slovaks in NATOoperationsPage 12 - 13NATO:A catalystof changePage 16Women inNATOPage 22 - 23From Trencinto the PentagonPage 30 - 31EditorialIn the course of 2008 theSlovak MoD and the NorthAtlantic Council passed a seriesof significant documents enablingSlovakia to host a NATODefence Ministers' informalmeeting in October 2009. I canvividly remember how the organisationalteams of the SlovakMoD and Armed Forces came together, rolled up their sleeves,and got down straight to business. What they were faced withwas a year-long team effort to hold this crucial event, absolutelyunparalleled in Slovakia's history.As Slovakia was the only V4 country not to have organiseda NATO defence ministers' informal meeting, we wholeheartedlyembraced this challenge. It was a great opportunity to present toour NATO partners the Slovak MoD and Slovak Armed Forces, aswell as our country, so beautiful and rich in its natural beauty andheritage.In 2004, Bratislava welcomed the world’s two most prominentstatesmen at the Bush-Putin Summit. However, in light of itssize and complexity of tasks, the NATO defence ministers' meetingpromises to be a much greater undertaking. On these daysSlovakia will be hosting an event which is by far the greatest andmost significant security venue ever to have taken place onSlovak territory.At the same time we have the honour and privilege to welcomethe new NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussento Slovakia for the first time. I sincerely believe the meeting willmeet the targets of all delegates, journalists and participants,eager to get hold of the latest information and decisions.On the other hand, Slovakia is holding this meeting underexceptionally difficult circumstances, with the effects of the globalfinancial crisis still unfolding. Despite the existing financialconstraints, the Slovak task force, led by the delegatedGovernment Plenipotentiary for organising the NATO DefenceMinisters' meeting, MoD State Secretary Daniel Duchon, andfully backed by the Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Baska, preparedthis high-profile meeting to the best of their ability, makingsure that the participants take home the best memories ofSlovakia.This issue of Slovak Armed Forces is dedicated to the cooperationamong Slovakia, the NATO Alliance and its partners inNATO-led operations, as well as to the service personnel who risktheir lives on a daily basis, helping other countries thousands ofmiles away from their homes. This year is all the moresignificant as NATO is marking its 60th anniversaryand Slovakia celebrating 5 years inNATO. Enjoy this publication andyour time in Slovakia!S L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S3


was a guarantee that our country was stable and thattheir investments would be safe. Last but not least,our membership played an important role inSlovakia’s accession to the EU as well.What are our most important obligations towardsNATO?Of course, we cannot be mere passive consumersof security and collective defence. Our membershipbrings also commitments, as in any internationalorganisation. First and foremost we need a professionalforce capable of executing missions in accordancewith the Slovak constitution. At the same time, theforce has to be deployable and expeditionary.Deployment of troops abroad is not a task arisingonly from NATO membership. I am firmly convincedthat each democratic country, which has a functioningeconomic base and co-exists peacefully with itsneighbours, is obliged to provide adequate assistanceto other countries and peoples, for whom wordslike peace, democracy or basic human rights mightbe distant. This is our obligation and we live up to it– either under the umbrella of NATO, the EU or theUN. Of course, there is the funding issue.The recommendedbenchmark of 2% of GDP for defenceexpenditure is currently not achievable– similarly as inthe past.We do not expect to achieve this target inthe coming years. It is, therefore, important to makemaximum use of the allocated resources. And this istrue especially at the time of a global financial crisis.Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Baska:Security cannot be taken for grantedMr. Minister, Slovakia has been a member of theNorth Atlantic Alliance for five years. It’s about timeto look back on this period. What benefits hasSlovakia derived from its NATO membership?First and foremost, we need to clarify the fundamentalquestion of why we actually joined the NorthAtlantic Alliance five years ago. In consequence of achange of the security situation after the Cold War, itwas in the vital interest of our country to become amember of the most significant security organisationin the world. And this has set the direction of Slovakforeign policy. Our accession to NATO was a greatsuccess for our country, as Slovakia has gained itssecurity guarantees. Of course, there were morebenefits attached. For example, consider the SlovakArmy of 1993 with 46,000 troops and the SlovakArmed Forces of today with 16,000 troops. Today itis difficult to imagine how we could possibly providefunding for such a big force. So, thanks to our membershipin NATO, we have reduced our manpowerand introduced a model of fully professional armedforces. As a result, the military profession now iscompletely different from times when conscripts servedin the Army. Today we have a fully professionalforce, where the military profession is perceived as amission and a personal choice of every individual.Obviously, only a compact force can be better trainedand equipped. Another argument in favour of NATOmembership is the influx of foreign investments intoour economy. For investors, our accession to NATOAlthough our citizens still highly trust the ArmedForces, sometimes they seem to perceive security is amatter of course...When did the last war take place on the territoryof Slovakia? It was 64 years ago. Fortunately, sincethen we have not seen any war. Our people haveenjoyed a sense of security – and that is excellent.However, the important point to realise is that securitycannot be taken for granted and that it does notcome cheap. It depends on the budget of theMinistry of Defence as well as some other ministries.At the time of the global financial crisis there is a lotof talk about the importance of trust. Security is alsobecoming a widely discussed issue. It is good to knowthat our citizens trust the Armed Forces. The country’sdefence can only be ensured by the state, no oneelse. And this sense of security must be preserved,whatever it takes.Will our commitments to ISAF in Afghanistan be metdespite the global financial crisis?Our soldiers deployed in crisis response operationshave earned a very good reputation for Slovakia.When I visit the headquarters and commands whereour personnel is posted, I receive words of praise.They prove good preparation and high-quality trainingin Slovakia. We are a trustworthy and reliable4S L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S


partner in NATO-led and other operations. We wouldlike to extend our thanks to all our 11,000 soldierswho have represented Slovakia abroad since theestablishment of an independent Slovak Republic.Will the global financial crisis have an impact on themodernisation programmes of the Slovak ArmedForces?Our priority is to provide equipment for all our troopsengaged in operations abroad, with special emphasison their protection. Our soldiers must be equippedwith full personal military gear, plus a protectivepackage. Moreover, they must be able to performmissions on home soil, e.g. disaster response operations.This is our priority. It is not really pleasant toadmit that we have been rolling the modernisationdebt in front of us for a long time. It is not a questionof year or three. In fact, it has been dragging onsince the establishment of the Slovak Republic.Similarly, we had to overcome the redundancy andineffectiveness caused by several ‘residual institutions’,which we had inherited after the split-up of theCzechoslovak Federal Army. As a result, last year weintroduced a number of organisational changes inthe MoD and the Armed Forces. The aim was to reinvestthe saved financial resources into modernisationof the Armed Forces. However, nobody could haveguessed that the world was heading towards a crisisresulting in a series of savings in state budgets. Wewill cut down our operating costs. Also, somemodernisation projects will have to be postponed.However, this does not mean we took wrong decisionslast year. To the contrary.Reorganisation of the whole Ministry of Defence followed.In further rationalisation, what other measuresare to be expected?We will continue to promote the efficiency initiativeswe launched last year. This is especially true inthe case of the General Staff and the Slovak ArmedForces. We would like to get rid of unused property,both movable or immovable. The financial resourcesthus saved will be reinvested into projects that I havealready mentioned, i.e. the soldier’s personal protection,equipment and weapons.Speaking about rationalisation – at the NATODefence Ministers’ informal meeting in Krakow inFebruary 2009 you raised the issue of streamliningNATO headquarters. In this regard, the generalpublic has been informed that the number of postsoccupied by Slovak officers abroad will be decreased.How is this discussion going to develop?The Slovak Republic has expressed its support forthe ongoing Reform of the NATO HQ, which concernsall NATO Member States. Our position relatesdirectly to the numbers in the peacetime establishmentas well as to the reform of the working methodsof the NATO Headquarters. Although we arenot the only country to raise this issue, we areamong the first to take concrete measures. I wouldlike to emphasise that the measures taken will in noway affect the fulfillment of our obligations towardsNATO or in military operations.The next NATO Defence Ministers’ informal meetingwill be held in Bratislava this autumn...Yes, it is a challenge for us. Our ministry has beenentrusted with organising the event. All in all, severalthousand people will be involved in the whole project.Our closest partner is the Ministry of Interior.From the point of view of international politics, theNATO Defence Ministers’ informal meeting marksone of the most important milestones of our contemporarynational history. We would like to portraySlovakia as a modern and dynamic country, onewhich is a reliable partner in NATO.Interview Pavol VITKOSlovak soldiers to partake in 14 foreignexercises in the latter half of 2009Slovak Armed Forces servicemen and women willbe participating in 14 training exercises outsideSlovakia. This number of exercises was approved by theSlovak Government on 24 June 2009. 16 military personnelparticipated in Exercise PEGASUS in Belgium,where they gained experience alongside NATO'sSpecial Operations Forces (SOF). Two soldiers will takepart in Exercise ARCADE FUSION in Germany to sharpentheir skills in running SOF operations at the level ofan international HQ. The exercise will be held from theend of October to mid-November. 39 Slovak soldierswere involved in Exercise LIVEX BLACK BEAR 09 in theCzech Republic in September. The theme of the exercisewas to align the work of a multinational battalionstaff with military police units, while conducting stabilisationoperations under NATO command. 23 SlovakLand Forces personnel participated in an OHQ exercisein connection with the European Battlegroups, held inJuly 2009 in the Czech Republic. The exercise was toharmonise the Czech and Slovak contributions to thejoint CZE/SVK EU BG. A similar exercise is to be organisedin October, with 23 Slovak participants.Exercises to align Slovak and Polish elements of thejoint BG were held in September and October. AMilitary Sports Exercise (MSE) of the logistics componentand an MSE of the medical component will takeplace in Poland, and will be attended by two SlovakLand Forces personnel.Slovak Armed Forces personnel will also participatein three exercises in Poland (soldiers earmarked forthe Polish-led battlegroup), in a training session inIceland (C-IED and EOD experts), in an exercise testingthe interoperability of newly fielded communicationssystems in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Forward AirControllers' exercise in France, and again in Polandprior to the activation of the joint battlegroup.In the latter half of 2009 foreign armies will crossthe territory of Slovakia, a project which will involveboth air and land transport.Source www.sme.skS L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S5


arrangements that NATO countries will agree on. Weshould bear in mind that up to 800 delegates and hundredsof journalists are likely to come to Bratislava. SoI'd like to re-emphasise that the final number of attendeeswill depend on negotiation arrangements, whichhave not been fixed so far.Will the NATO Defence Ministers' meeting inBratislava be different from the previous ones when itcomes to its organisation?- As I said before, considering the event's significance,and the security and logistics tasks therewithconnected, the event is unparalleled in the history ofthe Slovak Republic. Our common goal is to provide thehighest standards in comfort for delegations, as well asjournalists, while simultaneously complying with allstringent security and other requirements. Also, duringthe meeting we'll do our best to keep life normal forBratislava residents and visitors to our city with minimumrestrictions.Interview with Daniel Duchon, State Secretary of the Slovak MoD and Government Plenipotentiary for the preparationand organisation of the NATO defence ministers' informal meeting in Bratislava in October 2009:Will there be any side events?- A venue of this significance is usually accompaniedby the so-called events of public diplomacy. In Slovakiawe'll hold an international security conference entitled‘New Challenges, Better Capabilities’, whose main organiseris the Slovak Atlantic Committee, with the SlovakDefence and Foreign Affairs Ministries as co-organisers.The event will be attended by top representatives of theinternational security community. Also, we'll stage aNATO Multimedia exhibition, which will be co-organisedwith NATO's international staff, and will be held between20 October - 3 November in the University Library,Venturska Street, Bratislava. Finally, a photo exhibitionentitled Slovaks in NATO Operations will be held between20 and 29 October in the exhibition hall of theUniversity Library, Michalska Street, Bratislava.Bratislava to become NATO HQ for two daysMr. Duchon, on 27 August 2008 the SlovakGovernment appointed you GovernmentPlenipotentiary for the preparation and organisationof NATO defence ministers' informal meeting. Whatwere your first decisions? What organisational structuresdid you set up and how many people were involvedin the initial stage?- The informal two-day meeting of NATO defenceministers will be held in Bratislava in October, and asyou're conducting this interview, preparations are in fullswing. The preparation and execution of this meeting,which is for Slovakia unparalleled in terms of its significanceand character, imposes exceptional requirementson security and organisation. Ministerial meetingsrequire close interagency co-ordination. Towards thisend, the Slovak Government set up an interagencyworking group under my leadership. Consisting ofrepresentatives of several state administrative bodies,the team tackles such issues as security, protocol, transport,budgeting, media and legal issues. The organisationalstaff numbers some 50 personnel, who are involvedin executing organisational tasks on a day-to-daybasis. Overall, some 2,000 people will participate inorganising the venue prior to and during the meeting.Needless to say, those involved in the organisation of theevent do so without entitlement to special bonuses, theyreceive only their regular salaries. For this reason I respecttheir commitment all the more. One important milestonewas that we signed the memorandum of understandingon organising the event with NATO's international staff.Our organisational team visited two other informal meetingsof NATO ministers in Budapest and Krakow, wherethey gained valuable insights. Also, our Slovenian friendsshared their experiences with us. Generally speaking, theevent requires concluding a number of legal contracts.There is still plenty of work to be done. I'm firmly convincedthat together we'll do it well.How many delegations and journalists will come toBratislava?- We estimate that up to 45 VIPs will participate inthe venue, including the new NATO Secretary GeneralRasmussen, and NATO and non-NATO defence ministers.The final number will depend on the negotiationWhich topical issues will be discussed during the meetingof NATO defence ministers?- Today, few days prior to the venue, it is still difficultto define the agenda precisely.For the 16-year old Slovak Republic, the NATO defenceministers' meeting is one of the most significantinternational venues. What is the value of the meetingfor Slovakia?- As I said earlier, this is an unprecedented eventfor Slovakia. For several days Bratislava will be at thecentre of attention of the foreign media and the professionaland lay public. Indeed, this meeting represents aunique opportunity to promote Slovakia in NATO andthe Euro-Atlantic area and in a broader Euro-Atlanticand global context. I am pleased to say that Slovakiawill welcome many world-renowned politicians fromthe world's most influential countries and that theSlovak MoD will play its part in making Slovakia morevisible in the world.Pav ol VITKO6S L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S


Schedule of the NATO Defence Ministers' informalmeeting in BratislavaNATO DEFENCE MINISTERS WILL HOLD INFORMAL MEETINGS UNDER THE CHAIRMANSHIP OF NATO SECRETARY GENERALANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN ON THURSDAY 22 AND FRIDAY 23 OCTOBER 2009, IN BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA. SLOVAKDEFENCE MINISTER JAROSLAV BASKA WILL HOST THE MEETING.We offer you a draft of the media programme and some further information. Please note that the draft schedule is subject to change. A detailed media programme willbe available upon accreditation in the Accreditation Office.The Incheba Expo Arena (Viedenská cesta 3 – 7, Bratislava) is the venue for the ministerial meetings. The Media Centre will be located in Hall D of Incheba. The MediaAccreditation Office will be located in the Incheba Hotel (Viedenská cesta 3 - 7), near the Incheba Expo Arena. Access to the Media Centre requires a media pass issued bythe Accreditation Office. Via a pools system a restricted number of visual media will be invited to cover the events, with limited access.22 OCTOBER 200917.00 – 18.00 The arrivals of NATO Defence Ministers at the newbuilding of the Slovak National TheatreMedia coverage (expected pool)18.00 – 19.00 Cultural event in the Slovak National Theatre20.00 – 23.00 Informal working dinner for NATODefence Ministers in Incheba20.00 – 23.00 Media reception in Hall B2 of Incheba23 OCTOBER 20098.30 – 11.00 Informal meeting of NATO Defence MinistersMedia coverage possible (expected pool)11.00 Official portrait (expected pool)11.30 – 14.00 NATO Defence Ministers' informal meetingwith Non-NATO ISAF contributing nationsMedia coverage possible (expected pool)14.00 – 16.00 Informal working lunch for NATODefence Ministers in InchebaAs a side event of the Defence Ministerial, the Slovak Atlantic Commission is organizing a conference entitled “New Challenges, Better Capabilities”,which will be held on 21 and 22 October 2009 in the historical building of the Slovak National Council,Župné námestie 12, Bratislava.The NATO Multimedia Exhibitionwill take place from 20 October – 3 November in the library atrium of Comenius University,Ventúrska ulica, Bratislava.The “Slovaks in NATO Missions” Photo Exhibitionwill take place from 20 – 29 October in the NATO depository library, located on Michalská ulica, Bratislava.Source Slov ak Task ForceS L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S7


concern. Among them was the Civil War in Greece, theFebruary 1948 communist takeover in Czechoslovakia andits subsequent human rights violations, the Soviet BerlinBlockade in April 1948, the direct and indirect Soviet threatto the sovereignty of Norway, Greece, Turkey, and last butnot least, support for certain parties and movements internallydestabilising the democratic system of WesternEurope.Across Eastern European countries (Czechoslovakia,Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Albania, the Sovietoccupation zone in Germany – later known as the GermanDemocratic Republic (GDR), and in some ways evenYugoslavia), which were under the Soviet influence, thediscordant attributes of the democratic, legal and politicalsystem and the market economy were to be removed so asto pave the way for a one-party system.In an effort to defend themselves, to forge a systemof collective defence, and to strengthen mutual relations inthe face of the ideological, political and military threat totheir security, as early as March 1948 the governments ofBelgium, Luxemburg, France, the Netherlands, and theUnited Kingdom signed, shortly after the communists seizedpower in Czechoslovakia, the Treaty of Brussels.Negotiations with the United States and Canada followed,bringing about the establishment of the North AtlanticAlliance, which was founded on security guarantees andcommitments between Europe and North America. Later,this process was joined by Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Norwayand Portugal. The search for reliable guarantees finally culminatedin the signature of the Washington Treaty on 4April 1949.With its guarantee of security and democratic development,the North Atlantic Alliance soon attracted morecountries. Hence, Greece and Turkey became members in1952, followed by the Federal Republic of Germany in1955, and Spain in 1982.AFTER THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALLNot long after the old totalitarian regime collapsedthroughout Central and Eastern Europe in 1989, thedemocratic principles of running countries were restored,and NATO began to open up eastwards. Thus, with thereunification of Germany in 1990, the former GDR becamethe first territory under the Soviet sphere of influence tocome under the protective umbrella of NATO.The Alliance was flexible enough to adjust to thenewly emerging security environment in Europe. The firstThe North Atlantic Alliance turns 60NATO’s principal mission is to safeguard the freedomand security of its member states through politicaland military means, as recognised by the Charterof the United Nations. Founded on the indivisiblenature of security for all NATO members, NATO is theembodiment of a common commitment to maintainpolitical and military cooperation between sovereignstates. It is especially through solidarity that NATOensures that no state will be left alone in respondingto challenges to its basic security. NATO is an associationof democracies that are united in their resolve todeliver security, whilst offering common guarantees.Signed on 4 April 1949 in Washington by 12 foundingstates (the United States, the United Kingdom, France,Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Denmark,Norway, Portugal, Iceland), the North Atlantic Treaty wassteps of NATO’s transformation were adopted at theLondon NATO Summit in July 1990. They led to a commondialogue between former adversaries. Evoking Article 10 ofthe Washington Treaty, NATO declared its readiness toaccept young European democracies as new members.Then, in November 1991, NATO’s Strategic Conceptwas adopted at the Rome Summit. Unlike the previousones, which had been based on confrontation, the latestconcept relied on cooperation as its principal tool. In it,while reconfirming security guarantees for NATO members,the Alliance expressed its resolve to extend security to thewhole of Europe, and began to cooperate with its newpartners in Central and Eastern Europe.Towards this end, it set up the North AtlanticCooperation Council (NACC), which was to coordinatepartnership and cooperation initiatives. Held on 20December 1991, the NACC session was attended by reprebasedon Article 51 of the UN Charter, which reaffirms theinherent right to individual or collective self-defence.WHY WAS NATO ESTABLISHED?At the time of NATO’s establishment, this was a responseof the above democracies to the growing threat ofStalin’s Soviet Union, as the former anti-Hitler coalition ofWWII (the United States, the United Kingdom and theSoviet Union) had fallen apart due to divergent power interests.After WWII, the Western European countries lived upto their promise and markedly reduced their post-war manninglevels. However, despite its post-war troop reductions,the Soviet Union still continued to sustain a strong militarypresence in Central and Eastern Europe (formerCzechoslovakia). Moreover, between 1947-49, a series ofevents occurred across Central and Eastern Europe, whichgave the democratic European public serious cause for8S L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S


sentatives of nine Central and Eastern European countries(including the Czecho-Slovak Federal Republic). And in1994, the Alliance launched the Partnership for Peace(PfP). A total of 44 states (NATO, Central and EasternEuropean, and former USSR countries) were to becomegradually involved in the initiative.At the 1997 Madrid Summit, NATO adopted a historicdecision to enlarge the Alliance by inviting the first formerSoviet Bloc countries to join its ranks. Thus, the CzechRepublic, Poland and Hungary became NATO members inApril 1999. Ever since then the enlargement process hasnot stopped.REAPING THE BENEFITS OF NATO MEMBERSHIPFive years later, on 29 March 2004, a group of countries,including Bulgaria, Rumania, Slovenia, Estonia,Latvia, and Lithuania, and, of course, Slovakia, entered theAlliance, thereby becoming an integral part of the wellfunctioningcollective security system. The past five yearshave clearly demonstrated that the decision to join theAlliance was the right choice. Today Slovakia can fully relyon the Alliance for its defence.NATO’S BALANCE SHEETAs NATO celebrates its 60th anniversary, its balancesheet remains positive. Although there is no threat todayof a conventional war in Europe, new risks and challengeshave emerged for the Alliance. Among them are ethnicconflicts, human rights violations, terrorist attacks, politicaland economic instability, and the proliferation of nuclear,biological and chemical weapons in the world. Therefore,NATO’s principal mission is to uphold democratic values, todeliver security, and to preserve the territorial integrity ofNATO member states.Over the past six decades, the Alliance has createdsecurity and other conditions for the free, peaceful, anddemocratic development of its members. It should benoted that it was thanks to NATO that the greatest ethnicconflict since the end of WWII was extinguished in theBalkans, after all other option had been exhausted, followingthe break-up of Yugoslavia (IFOR, later SFOR inBosnia and Herzegovina; KFOR in Kosovo, where alsoSlovak servicemen and women are operationally committed).The Alliance (with the participation of Slovak militarypersonnel) remains committed to combating terrorismworldwide (Iraq, Afghanistan).The 2008 NATO Bucharest Summit reaffirmed theAlliance’s open-door policy and confirmed its resolve tocooperate with Ukraine and Georgia. But most importantly,it played a crucial role in rallying member countriesbehind ISAF. A number of countries, Slovakia included,agreed to boost their force levels in Afghanistan, which iswidely seen as NATO’s most significant operation.NATO’S PRINCIPAL BODIES AND SYMBOLSNATO’s top body is the North Atlantic Council (NAC),which is chaired by the NATO Secretary General (since 1August 2009, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Denmark). As adecision-making authority, NAC makes decisions on allcrucial issues of NATO operations, with all NATO membersneeding to reach consensus. Chaired by the SecretaryGeneral, NAC consists of permanent representatives of allmember states – ambassadors. The Council meets continuouslyat the ambassadorial level. Also, it meets at higherlevels, involving ministers of foreign affairs and defence orheads of state or government (NATO summits). TheSecretary General is the principal spokesman of theAlliance (elected by member governments through consensus).He is responsible for coordinating all consultationswithin NATO. Military issues pertaining to collective defenceare handled by the Defence Planning Committee (DPC)NATO Member States (28):and the Nuclear Planning Group (NPG). The DPC meets atdefence ministers level at least twice a year to discussNATO defence planning. When making decisions, the DPChas the same authority as NAC. Members of the NPG areall the countries that take part in NATO’s Defence PlanningCommittee. The NPG discusses and coordinates specificpolicy issues related to nuclear weapons, and their use,proliferation, deployment, security and control.The Military Committee (MC) executes adopted politicaldecisions. It functions as an advisory body for allNATO civilian structures, and is staffed by the NATO militaryrepresentatives. NATO’s permanent structure is made upof 39 committees. As decisions are made through consensus,consultations play a vital role in the way NATO works.The parliamentary level is represented by the NATOParliamentary Assembly (NATO PA), which acts as a forumfor legislators.COLLECTIVE DEFENCE IN PRACTICEUpon the occurrence of a military threat, a NATOmember country requests the North Atlantic Council toprovide for its defence. NAC, in turn, requests the MC todraft an analysis of how to best assist the country in need.Based on this analysis, the DPC makes a decision on waysto deliver assistance, which must be confirmed by NAC(in other words, by all NATO countries). NATO isheadquartered in Brussels, Belgium (between 1949-67,NATO HQ was in Paris). NATO’s military leadershipis based in Mons, Belgium. NATO’s flag (adoptedin October 1953) consists of a white and blue compasson a dark blue background.SLOVAKIA ON THE ROAD TO NATO• 1 January 1993 – Slovakia joins the North AtlanticCooperation Council (NACC)• 1994 – Slovakia joins the Partnership for Peace (PfP)• September 1995 – Slovakia, as the first PfP country,ratifies the Treaty on Cooperation between NATO andPfP countries• July 1997 – Slovakia is not invited to enter the Allianceat the NATO Madrid Summit due to its failure tocomply with political criteria• November 2002 – Slovakia receives an official invitationto begin accession talks at the Prague Summit• 29 March 2004 – Slovakia becomes a NATO memberReport Jozef ZIAKPhoto Peter DOVINAS L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S9


Slovak Armed Forces todayTo provide for the defence of the newly constitutedSlovak Republic in 1993, the Army of theSlovak Republic (renamed the Slovak ArmedForces in 2002) was established as an attribute ofsovereignty and independence. Moreover, theArmy was to play an important role in UN peacekeepingmissions, military operations, and internationalorganisations. This year, when NATOcelebrates its 60th anniversary and Slovakia its 5thanniversary in NATO, the fully professional SlovakArmed Forces have turned 16 years old.The Slovak Ministry of Defence (Slovak MoD) wasestablished as a central body of state administration responsiblefor managing and executing tasks related to theprovision of Slovakia's defence. Appointed by the SlovakPresident, Defence Minister Jaroslav Baska is the head ofthe Slovak MOD.Civil control over the Armed Forces is guaranteed bythe Constitution of the Slovak Republic and other legallybinding regulations. These authorise Slovakia's civilconstitutional bodies to administer the Armed Forces.The Constitution of the Slovak Republic states that theSlovak President is the Commander-in-Chief of theSlovak Armed Forces, while command and control isexercised in practice by the General Staff of the SlovakArmed Forces, which provides technical and specialistsupport, expertise, and guidance. The General Staff isheaded by the Chief of the General Staff of the SlovakArmed Forces (Chief of Defence), General Lubomir Bulik.TRANSFORMATIONExposed to the global financial and economic crisis,the Slovak Armed Forces underwent a major reorganisationas of 1 July 2009. In accordance witha military strategic development document known asModel 2020, the reform process intended to make theArmed Forces more economically viable and to retainhighly qualified personnel.The reorganisation of the General Staff of theSlovak Armed Forces has brought a reduction in thenumber of individual staffs, from eight down to three.The new structure of the General Staff now comprisesthe following staffs: Operations Staff, headed by Maj.Gen. Jan Salaganic, Operations Support Staff, led byMaj. Gen. Peter Vojtek, and Strategic Planning andCapability Development Staff with Maj. Gen. MartinBabiak as Chief of Staff.Apart from the General Staff with its subsidiaryorganisational elements, the structure of the ArmedForces in the target configuration includes threeServices with their HQs: HQ Land Forces, HQ Air Force,and HQ Training and Support Forces. Also operatingunder the Slovak MOD is the Military Medical ServiceOffice, Military Police, Office of the JAG, MilitaryIntelligence Service, military schools, and many otherorganisations.The reorganisation of the Slovak Armed Forceshas created suitable conditions for improving the entiresystem, based on balanced tasks, resources andstructures. The changes introduced as part of theSlovak Armed Forces' optimisation scheme allow higherquality performance in the executin of defenceand security tasks as well as sustained participation ininternational crisis response operations.According to the scheme, the number of personnelin the Slovak Armed Forces is not to exceed14,000 troops. What is significant, extraordinaryattention is being paid to retaining highly skilled,experienced, and competent military personnel withgood prospects.FOREIGN OPERATIONSThe Slovak Armed Forces aspire to be flexible,modern, ready to respond promptly to any threats,and deployable in multinational and expeditionaryoperations. At present, Slovak professional soldiersare in service with NATO under KFOR and ISAF andwith the EU as part of the ALTHEA operation. Theyalso serve with INFICYP and with the four observationmission. Slovakia is actively involved in a total of xxxxoperations and missions; at the end of 2008 andduring the first half of 2009 over 600 members of theSlovak Armed Forces were serving abroad in differentparts of the world.You can find more information on Slovak personnelengaged in foreign operations on page 12 and 13of this magazine.Source Military Chronicle by Vladimir SegesPhoto Peter DOVINA10S L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S


Slovakia as EOD leaderAt the NATO 2004 Istanbul Summit the Slovak Republic pledged to assume a leading role in integrating technologies, equipment,techniques and procedures for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) as part of the fight against terrorism. Since then Slovakia has becomethe Lead Nation EOD within the NATO Alliance. Following the decision of the Slovak Defence Minister, Slovakia inaugurated itsCentre of Excellence EOD (COE EOD) on 1 October 2007.While the headquarters of the COE EOD (HQ COE EOD)is located in Trencin, its operational component, theNational COE EOD, is based at Novaky. The COE EOD iscurrently led by Col. Roman Lackovic. According to Col.Lackovic, the main goal of the COE EOD is, besides conductingexplosive ordnance disposal, to provide trainingand education for experts and to develop their skills indetecting and disposing of ammunition.UNITY OF CAPACITIESApproved by the Engineer Support and EOD Sectionoperating under the Operations Staff, Defence Staff,Slovak Armed Forces, the engineer support and EODmanagement received the task of streamlining proceduresfor strengthening EOD capacities within the Slovak ArmedForces. Among the key EOD capacity building requirementsis the acquisition of the basic skills essential to conductinglocal area searches, detecting explosives, providing pyrotechnicalsupport, and disposing of explosive ordnance,conventional ammunition, improvised explosive devices,chemical, biological and radiological ammunition, andammunition found under water.All necessary steps have been taken to achieve this goal.The curricula for ammunition technicians are being adjustedaccordingly, while pyrotechnical support is being integratedinto the EOD system. Furthermore, engineer unitswill extend their skills to be able to clear mined areas. Theywill also take over responsibility for supporting militarysearch operations. The CBR Defence Battalion will extendits capacity to conduct pyrotechnical reconnaissance.The National Centre EOD Novaky is becoming a centralisedelement, an umbrella for meeting the Slovak ArmedForces’ requirements in the area of explosive devices.Above all, it is a training facility for EOD and ammunitiontechnicians (offering courses, training, exercises, extendedand retraining modules). If reques ted, it can administercourses for ministries and government bodies. Last but notleast, it is the national authority for creating national operationalprocedures for EOD and ammunition technicians.COMPLYING WITH NATO STANDARDSAs well as providing national EOD training in conformitywith NATO standards and requirements, the NationalCOE EOD Novaky also trains EOD staff officers. Today, theCentre is mainly tasked with training experts in exercisingcommand and control of EOD forces prior to their deploymenton multinational operations. At the same time, theCentre conducts ammunition and explosive ordnance testsand runs the EOD National Technical Information System.Just how beneficial the Centre can be is best describedby the destinies of thousands of people who have sufferedmine injuries or death in mine-related incidents inAfghanistan, the Balkans, and in the world's other crisisregions. Unfortunately, a lot of children who were playingor herding cattle in dangerous places were often amongvictims.In its attempt to cover NATO requirements, Slovakia’sEOD capabilities are being overstretched. For this reason,the International COE EOD Trencin teamed up with itsFrench counterpart to host an International EOD StaffOfficers' Course. Designed for V4 (Czech Republic,Slovakia, Poland, Hungary) and Ukrainian EOD specialists,the course's theoretical and practical modules took placeat the National COE EOD Novaky and at the Turecky Vrchand Lest Military Training Areas (MTAs).The National Centre EOD Novaky is responsible formaintaining the operational capabilities of our EOD unit.Its mission is to execute specialist tasks to the benefit ofthe Special Task Force to which our EOD unit will be subordinatedin the future. Also, once our EOD troops are operationallycommitted inside or outside Slovakia, it willensure EOD support and force protection. Equally important,it will assist in removing the consequences of terroristattacks. The EOD teams (the EOD unit is comprised of6 teams) and the Pyrotechnical Reconnaissance Groupprovide services to all components of the Slovak ArmedForces.INTERNATIONAL COE EOD TRENCINIn the near future, the International COE EOD Trencinwill operate directly under NATO's command. It will cooperateclosely with the National COE EOD Novaky. Thetwo centres will share the common infrastructure that hasbeen developed at Novaky. The International COE EODTrencin will be NATO’s training facility. As the first facilityof its kind in Slovakia, it represents Slovakia’s robust contributionto building NATO’s joint EOD capabilities. TheCentre will gradually take on experts from Slovakia as wellas from other NATO countries. Methodologically, theCentre will operate under Allied CommandTransformation (ACT), Norfolk. Its scope of activity will bedetermined by a control committee of the participatingcountries.Once it has met NATO’s essential requirements, theCentre is expected to reach its full operating capability bythe end of 2009. It will cooperate with a wide range ofNATO training facilities, including, notably, Germany'sMILENG COE in Ingolstadt, Spain′s COE in Madrid, theNetherlands' C2 COE in Edd, or Turkey's COE – DefenceAgainst Terrorism in Ankara.As laid down in the Memorandum of Understanding,the Slovak Republic as a host nation provides infrastructure,logistic support, administrative and specialist personnel.The International EOD COE Trencin will train and educatespecialists in the disposal of explosive ordnance andimprovised explosive devices so that they will be capableof executing command and control of EOD units in aninternational environment, and thereby minimising casualtiesnot only among coalition troops (Slovak soldiers servewith ISAF in Afghanistan and with KFOR in Kosovo) butalso among civilians. This will be Slovakia's robust contributionto improving the conditions of people living in thewar-affected regions of the world.Report Jozef ZIAKPhoto Peter DOVINA


Slovak servicemen and women in NATO operationsShortly after its establishment in 1993,Slovakia declared openly that the traditionalunderstanding of national defence, conceived asthe defence of one’s own territory, was outdated.For this reason, the Army of the Slovak Republicbecame involved, from Day 1 of its existence, instrengthening global security through internationalpeace operations.GAINING ALLIES' TRUSTFor the small Slovak Republic, the involvement ofSlovak soldiers in international crisis response operationsbrought Slovakia great benefit, insofar as it establisheditself in the global environment and gainedtrust in the eyes of our foreign partners. Ever since thenSlovak military personnel have enjoyed the great respectand gratitude of the peoples in whose countriesthey have served and whom they have assisted. In theearly days, it was our engineers who conducted deminingoperations, constructed bridges, repaired roads,and checked building sites of future hospitals and schoolsfor the presence of mines in the world’s war-tornregions, including the former Yugoslavia and Eritrea.More and more Slovak soldiers became involved inpeace support operations, as our troops deployed toCyprus, the Golan Heights between Syria and Israel,and Iraq, while Slovak medical staff distinguishedthemselves in East Timor and Lebanon. The abovementionedmilitary operations took place under thebanner of the UN, the EU, and the OSCE, or were conductedunder Coalition forces.Establishing itself in the international structures,one of Slovakia’s principal ambitions was to gain entryinto the North Atlantic Alliance. No effort was sparedby our military personnel toward this end. It was in2004 that Slovakia became a NATO member. Needlessto say, Slovak officers had served with NATO forcessince 1998, to be exact, in SFOR, Bosnia andHerzegovina. Between 2002-3, this particular operationwas reinforced by a helicopter unit from Presov. Asearly as 1999, Slovak servicemen and women beganoperating under KFOR in Kosovo. This was becauseSlovakia was trying hard to win the trust of its futureNATO partners, so that it could not only take advantageof the collective security guarantee but, as a regularNATO member, contribute to building a safer world.The Slovak Republic became a fully-fledged NATOmember on 29 March 2004. Since then our country hasbecome an integral part of the world’s most powerfuldefence organisation, while enjoying the benefits ofcollective defence. Thanks to this, it has managed toreduce its standing army (from approx. 46,000 troopsin the 1990s down to roughly 15,000 troops today).Also, the Armed Forces have gone fully professional,with future soldiers opting for military specialties on avoluntary basis. Needless to say, an important role inthe Slovak Armed Forces is played by servicewomen,who currently make up 8 % of all service members.SLOVAK SOLDIERS IN AFGHANISTANSince Slovakia’s entry into the Alliance, we havepaid meticulous attention to due performance of ourcommitments towards NATO partners. This is whytoday Slovakia is involved in two large NATO crisis responseoperations. A case in point is ISAF (InternationalSecurity Assistance Force) in Afghanistan. Slovak soldierswere sent there for the first time in 2002, whenthey deployed to Bagram Airport as part of OperationEnduring Freedom, the command of which was transferredto NATO two years later, in 2004. Their firstdeployment under NATO was at Kabul InternationalAirport, where they were engaged in demining operations.In mid-2007, the Slovak engineer unit movedfrom Kabul to Kandahar in the south to conduct deminingand construction ops at an air base. In addition,Slovak service personnel have been involved since 2007in Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). Workingalongside humanitarian and non-governmental organisationsand local authorities, PRTs aim to reconstructAfghanistan’s infrastructure. In April 2008, Slovakiacommitted a 7-member medical team to Afghanistan.The medical staff worked in a hospital in Kabul, attendingto civilians as well as military personnel. – mámelekárov v Afganistane?Last year Slovak soldiers began to execute importantguard tasks in Afghanistan. Since the autumn of2008 a Slovak guard unit has been tasked with the protectionof Tarin Kowt Base in Uruzgan province.Moreover, since December 2008, another guard unithas been carrying out security checks at the main gateto Kandahar Base, checking incoming Afghan workers.In addition, Slovak officers have worked at NATO HQs.For example, Brigadier General Pavel Macko served as12S L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S


Director of the Combined Joint Operations Centre atISAF HQ. This is the highest post held so far by a Slovakgeneral within NATO’s command structures. Je tamniekto od nás v súčasnosti?In total, 174 soldiers are currently deployed inAfghanistan. ISAF has become the Slovak ArmedForces’ top priority. According to plans, 246 personnelwill be deployed in Afghanistan.KFOR IN KOSOVOSlovak soldiers were dispatched to Kosovo inSeptember 1999, where they served under KFOR inCamp Casablanca, near Suva Reka. They conducteddemining operations, repaired roads and carried outother engineering tasks. In 2002, almost 400 Czechand 100 Slovak military professionals took over an areaof responsibility within the Multinational Task Force-Centre (MNTF-C).Based at Camp Sajkovac, their main task was toconduct patrolling in and around cities and villages inthe assigned area of responsibility, as well as to protectthe Serbian Kosovo Polje National Monument. Theyalso protected ethnic minorities – especially local Serbsand Roma. In 2005, the joint battalion completed itsoperations.All in all, the cooperation between the Slovak andCzech troops was exceptional, reminiscent of the timeswhen the two countries lived in a common state. Eventhese days Slovak and Czech soldiers still continue tocooperate closely, with Camp Sajkovac serving as theircommon base.In addition, between 2007–8, a 39–strong helicopterunit deployed to Kosovo, where it transportedpersonnel and materiel, conducted surveillance andmonitoring missions, and engaged in fire-fighting. Atotal of 139 Slovak Armed Forces personnel are currentlyserving in Kosovo.AN OVERVIEW OF THE SLOVAK SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN ENGAGEDIN INTERNATIONAL CRISIS RESPONSE AND OBSERVER OPERATIONSAS OF SEPTEMBER 2009.Operations Countries TroopsNATO operations:ISAF Afghanistan 246KFOR Kosovo 140EU operations:ALTHEA Bosnia and Herzegovina 39EUMM Georgia 1UN operations:UNFICYP Cyprus 196UNTSO Syria 2Total 624GRATITUDE AND RESPECTOver the 15 years of the independent SlovakRepublic’s existence, more than 11,000 troops haveparticipated in international crisis response operations.Unfortunately, 54 servicemen and women never cameback home. On 19 January 2006, the Slovak ArmedForces experienced their greatest tragedy. Returninghome from KFOR, a military transport aircraft wentdown at the Hungarian village of Hejce. A total of 42personnel died in the accident. Our minds and heartsare with them and their families.We would like to extend our thanks to everyonewho has participated in international crisis responseoperations, including MOD staff. We would also like toextend our tanks to their wives and children, relativesand friends, who have shown strong support for oursoldiers. They all have contributed to enhancingSlovakia’s credibility in the North Atlantic Alliance andin the eyes of our other Coalition allies.Report and photo Pavol VITKO


Commander, with their area of responsibilitycovering Bosnia and Herzegovina,Albania, Monte Negro, Croatia, Mace -do nia and Greece.THIRD TOUR OF DUTY FOR MAJ.MALAKTwo modernised Mi-17 helicopters(one of them sporting digital patternssprayed by Aviation Repair Plant Trencin)have flown up 200 flight hours, conductingtransport of personnel and materiel,monitoring and surveillance missionsand training flights, to hone thepilots' skills.Major Malak, the helicopter unitcommander, is not a novice in theBalkans. Between 2002-3 he commandedthe first Slovak contingent in Bosniaand Herzegovina (under SFOR) as well asa Slovak unit deployed in Kosovo underKFOR last year.“The security situation has improvedsince our first operational commitmentin Bosnia and Herzegovina.However, it should be stressed thatthere are still plenty of minefields. Ofcourse, mine disposal is a question ofmoney. Every summer we study the mapto locate minefields. Of course, we needto make a safe landing. Each of thesedesignated safe zones has a code number.Once you have touched down,you're supposed to report the landing toSarajevo. Seven years ago we went toBosnia without prior international experience.We had no idea what was aheadof us and our pilots were just becomingfamiliarised with their newly upgradedhelicopters. Today we have plenty ofSoldiers from Presov return to Bosnia“When asked about the Slovak soldiers operationally committed toALTHEA, Maj. Gen. Stephan Castagnotto highly praised the performance ofour military personnel in EUFOR. I'm very pleased about this,” said theSlovak Chief of Defence (CHOD) Gen. Bulik at the end of his visit to Bosniaand Herzegovina. He was accompanied on his visit by Maj. Gen. JurajBaranek, Commander of the Slovak Air Force, and Col. Miroslav Korba,Commander of Presov AFB.The visitors to ALTHEA were updated on the missionof the Presov-based helicopter unit deployed inwhat is Europe's largest military operation ever.Between 19 February and 15 June 2009, the helicopterunit, led by Maj. Ladislav Malak, is mandated to performoperational tasks in support of the EUFORexperience gained from foreign operations and ourpilots can handle the helicopters very well. In addition,we are better equipped. We enjoy the extra protectionprovided by tactical vests, which contain a survival kit,new helicopter suits, and many other aids,” said Maj.Malak.Maj. Gen. Baranek and Col. Korba have expressedsatisfaction with the work of the helicopter unit, emphasisingthat the international environment provides goodlessons for our flying and technical support personnel.14S L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S


BOSNIA MORE DEMANDING THAN KOSOVOAccording to pilot Capt. Peter Bubeliny, at thebeginning of their deployment the weather wasmaking things much more difficult. “It snowed a lot,the wind blew hard, and then rain came in. Flying inBosnia is far more difficult than in Kosovo, which is abasin surrounded by mountains. Here in Bosnia thereare mountains all around us. They match and evenexceed the highest peaks of the High Tatras. The terrainis rugged. We fly through mountain valleys and gorges.The weather is fickle and during the flight can changevery quickly. During one flight from Sarajevo to Mostarin Herzegovina we went through two seasons – winterand spring,” recalled Capt. Bubeliny.Nevertheless, flying in Bosnia and Herzegovinagives young pilots excellent lessons. This is true of 1stLt. Peter Pavlinsky, for whom this tour of duty in Altheais the first foreign deployment. “My first flight overminefields was an adrenaline rush which I will neverforget. I'm privileged to be here with more experiencedcolleagues who give me a piece of advice now andthen,” said the young pilot.to orientate in the terrain, and there were fewer minefields.Flying in the narrow valleys of Bosnia is a hell ofan experience, especially when the weather changes soquickly,” admitted Sgt. GrecDANGEROUS WIRESMaj. Malak says what makes flying in Bosnia andHerzegovina uncomfortable is the chaotically placedhigh voltage lines over valleys. “When flying, one hasto be aware of the fact that there is no orderly networkof power lines as can be found in Europe. In fact, thepower lines caused an accident during our first deploymentto Bosnia in 2002. All in all, our pilots gain invaluableflying experience under these conditions,” summarisedMaj. Ladislav Malak.Report and photos Jozef ZIAKTECHNICIANS SATISFIED WITH WORKINGCONDITIONS“The working conditions for our technical staff inSarajevo are excellent, I only wish we had the sameconditions back home at Presov AFB. Most of the hangaris available to us, although our Swiss counterpartsmaintain their search and rescue helicopters in one sectionof the hangar. This had a big advantage, especiallywhen it snowed a lot in the first week of our deployment,but our helicopters were kept dry and clean. Wedidn't have to put covers over them, nor remove snowfrom them. Helicopters were ready for their missionsfaster, as technicians were not bothered by rain andfreezing temperatures. Our helicopters are not actingup. We only deal with simple malfunctions. But thesehave always been easy to repair, either at our air basein Presov or at Aviation Repair Plant Trencin, which suppliesus with spare parts,” said Maj. Petranin, who overseesthe technical staff.He went on to add that shortly after deploying toBosnia, they were faced with one problem: the helicopterengines were originally adjusted to the conditionsexisting at Presov AFB. This however is located 300mbelow the altitude of Sarajevo airport. As a result, ourtechnicians first had to readjust the engines to functionwell in Bosnia. Since then they have functioned exemplarily.Sgt. Ivo Bacik, an Mi-17 technician, and Sgt.Martin Grec, an onboard technician, were classmates inKosice Secondary Flight School. The first was a Mig-29Fulcrum technician at Sliač AFB, the other at KuchynaAFB. Last year Sgt. Grec served in KFOR in Kosovo.“Flying in Kosovo was not so demanding. It was easierS L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S15


and acquisition programmes. Obviously,this paralyses our long-term defence planning.”LOOKING AHEADAnd what lies ahead of our military?The Chief of Defence has a clear idea aboutthe future role of the Armed Forces. “In2009, when Slovakia celebrates the 5thanniversary of its entry into NATO, we willcontinue to upgrade our military capabilitieswith the aim of meeting our targets, as theyare outlined in our legislation and internationalcommitments, with major emphasisplaced on support of foreign operations.”“At the same time, we will increasethe level of sustainability and deployabilityin furtherance of the NATO Istanbul criteria.This, of course, imposes stringent requirementson the Armed Forces, insofar as in2009 we are expected to have 2,600 personnelreadily available for crisis responseoperations, while simultaneously sustaining600 troops abroad.”NATO: A catalyst of the Slovak Armed Forces’ changeFive years ago, to be exact, on 2 April 2004,during a ceremony to mark Slovakia’s entry intoNATO, the Slovak national flag was raised on a polein front of NATO Headquarters in Brussels, as weassumed a fully fledged role alongside the countriesof the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.At that time, the acting Chief of Defence (CHOD)General Bulik held the appointment of Chief of theRequirements and Long-Term Planning Branch (J-5). Fromhis perspective, he viewed the accession of the SlovakRepublic to NATO as an important step towards enhancingthe quality of the Armed Forces. “Speaking onbehalf of members of the Slovak Armed Forces andmyself, our integration into NATO’s collective defencestructures became a source of our self-confidence,” saysGeneral Bulik, adding that “Our efforts and steps takento carry out defence reforms, military equipment reductions,force realignment, and full professionalisation werethus well justified.”When the very last conscript had left the military barrackson 22 December 2005, Slovakia set out to shape itsfully professional armed forces on a voluntary basis. Ingeneral, our membership in NATO has provided us withopportunities to learn from the experiences of our alliesin the military area, to explore the available cooperationinitiatives, and to save financial resources. As a fully fledgedNATO member we have participated in shapingNATO’s future, while pursuing the political and securitypriorities of the Slovak Republic and our Allies.NATO’S ONGOING TRANSFORMATIONWith Slovakia entering the Alliance, we have enjoyedthe benefits of collective defence, shared commonprinciples and standards for shaping NATO’s future, andexploited other advantages arising out of the collectivedefence community and the due performance of ourcommitments, including, notably, those primarily focusedon building more advanced capabilities in our ArmedForces, thus enabling them to conduct missions in theinternational and domestic environments.Today the Slovak Armed Forces’ planning mechanisms,with respect to their organisational structure andbudget, are closely linked to the Alliance’s planning processes.As a result, emphasis laid upon force deployabilityand sustainability has already been re-echoed bySlovakia. In this regard, our active participation in NATOledmilitary operations has proved to be just anotherbenefit.It seems fair to suggest that NATO’s military transformationmeans reduced defence spending for Slovakia,as we continue to implement our own reforms under theumbrella of the Slovak Defence Ministry. The option toparticipate in the purchase of common strategic airliftcapabilities within NATO is paving the way for a cheaperacquisition alternative of such capacities, compared tothe national approach to aircraft procurement. Forexample, the Slovak Republic is a member of theStrategic Airlift Interim Solution (SALIS), which caters forthe transport needs of the Armed Forces, when theydeploy abroad. Also, we take advantage of the commonNATO funding to upgrade Slovakia’s national facilities. Inthis regard, there are plans to repair Sliac Airport.Similarly, many other acquisition programmes of theSlovak Armed Forces, whether they are underway orbeing drafted, such as the procurement of communicationssystems or tactical transport aircraft, are aimed atenhancing our interoperability and boosting expeditionarycapabilities. In brief, NATO’s transformation effortsserve as a catalyst for the Slovak Armed Forces’ modernisationand development initiatives.“Modernisation is the area where we have ourgreatest caveats. Recognising this, we want to adjust ourfunding to enhance support for the ongoing operations,”explains Gen. Bulik. “Another area which needs tobe addressed in the near future is the Slovak ArmedForces’ funding mechanisms for foreign operations,especially contingency funding, when expeditionary forcesare deployed to intervene in an unexpected andrapidly escalating security crisis. These costs should notbe financed at the expense of other budgetary chaptersof the defence budget, let alone from the modernisation“As of today we have certified two mechanised battalions,a national support element, an Mi-17 helicopterflight, an engineer platoon, and other smaller units, yetstill more troops are undergoing training. Furthermore,we have pledged to contribute, in 2009, 24 personnel tothe NATO Response Force (NRF-13) and to ensure a contributionto the Czecho-Slovak EU BG – up to 422 personnelin the second half of 2009.”As we look to the future, the Slovak Armed Forceswill continue to perform strategic assignments, i.e. tasksarising out of Slovakia’s international commitments, aswell as assistance tasks in support of national administrationbodies and local governments, as stipulated in thebinding documents of the Slovak Republic. The SlovakArmed Forces must be ready to respond flexibly to a widespectrum of threats, ranging from military ones to theprotection of personal property and Slovak citizens’health.Therefore, at the core of the Slovak Armed Forces’further development will be enhanced usability and operationalreadiness. This will be achieved through modernisationprogrammes, personnel training, high qualityexercises, improved command and control processes,and a more efficient use of information and communicationtechnologies. Our forces must be capable of launchingattacks quickly, even against enemies who are operatingin build-up areas, and exploit asymmetric strategiesand techniques.“When looking at Slovakia’s accession to NATO andour performance as a fully fledged member of this coalition,it is obvious that we must have our share of responsibility,”emphasises the Chief of Defence, adding that“We do have responsibility for NATO’s destiny, whereasit holds true that the most powerful coalition is as strongas its weakest element... and I am firmly convinced thatwe are doing our best to make the Slovak Armed Forcesas strong as we can.”Based on a document by Gen. Lubomir BULIKPrepared by Michaela FARKASOVAPhoto Pavol VITKO16S L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S


Slovak Brigadier General in command of ISAF operationsEven a dry land man can go on to the waterand become a good sailor. Brigadier General PavelMacko, who served at NATO Allied LandComponent Command – Headquarters Heidelberg(ALCC HQ HD), Germany, knows a lot about this.When posted to NATO ALCC HQ HD, Brig. Gen. PavelMacko assumed command of the logistic element, alongwith Germany’s Berlin Ship and USS Compact FloatingHospital. During one extensive NATO exercise Brig. Gen.Macko’s multinational team translated all its theoreticalknowledge into practice. There, the Slovak general performedvery well, and although his superiors could haveappointed him Admiral, rather than assessing his performanceon the waves, they offered him the sands underthe majestic peaks of the Hindu Kush Mountains. Andthat was good...“Our ISAF staff were to replace our colleagues fromStettin. We were going to Kabul to fill vacant positionsand not to take over command. For this purpose, it wascrucial to choose the best personnel,” says Brig. Gen.Pavel Macko. He is modestly silent about the fact that hehimself was also selected. The truth is that the countriescommitting thousands of troops to Afghanistan showedinterest in the vacant position of Director of theCombined Joint Operations Centre, ISAF HQ. But in theend the Slovak general won the trust of his superiors.“You know, the Alliance is not about power or force ratioswithin it, but rather an open society, which is fair,where everyone can grow.” And this principle messageis also re-echoed by the 12 other Slovak officers who alsoshouldered responsibility for ISAF’s success inAfghanistan.“This was a crucial post directly at ISAF HQ inAfghanistan. I worked as Director of the Combined JointOperations Centre at ISAF HQ in Kabul, which exercisedcommand over the 40,000-strong contingent of alliedtroops. Moreover, we were tasked to coordinate operationswith the British troops within Operation EnduringFreedom, and with the Afghan Security Forces. My jobwas to lead the Combined Joint Operations Centre. Thecentre monitored and controlled operations throughoutAfghanistan. I was in charge of J-3, which, among otherthings, planned operations up to 120 days in advance;also, I was tasked to ensure force protection, as well asto take care of many other small details. Undoubtedly,within the Operations Centre, this post is neuralgic – it isa real place, where everything happens, where all informationis concentrated. On the one hand, you are thefirst to receive it and, on the other hand, you are the firstto respond to it, or your personnel must immediatelynotify the commander so that he can make vital decisionswith a longer-term impact.”The Slovak officers at ISAF HQ in Kabul did their bestto harmonise the activity of this multinational orchestra.Besides the troops deployed from more than 40 countries,there are also approx. 3,000 non-governmentalorganisations in the country.Asked about what they usually say in the land belowthe Tatra Mountains – that we are there only for theAmericans, he said: “Absolutely not, the operation inAfghanistan is not an American war, or a war betweenNATO and Afghanistan. This is a concerted effort of theinternational community to enhance stability inAfghanistan. It is about setting up the basic conditionsnecessary to support the life of the Afghan people. Theyhave been through 30 years of disintegration, war, andresentment against the civil war. We are helping themlive a normal life, go to school, work and earn theirliving, and live without fear for their lives,” says Brig.Gen. Macko.ISAF is NATO’s most important operation today.“There are several reasons for that. Firstly, OperationISAF is NATO’s first combat operation, and, secondly, it istaking place outside the Euro-Atlantic area. In the wordsof the former NATO Secretary General, if we do notresolve the problem in Afghanistan, Afghanistan willcome to us. And there is a lot of truth in that. The warstarted with the American troops going into this wartorncountry. There were terrorist training camps throughoutthe country. As Afghanistan became a source ofinsecurity and instability in the entire region, this gaverise to a lot of unhealthy effects.”“NATO committed itself to assisting the internationalcommunity. For NATO politicians, this was a very harddecision to make, because everyone knew that theAlliance’s credibility would be at stake once it was involvedin fighting. Although a lack of success wouldn’tmean the end of the Alliance, there would be far-reachingproblems and a debate as to who contributed andhow much, in other words, it is an incredibly demandingoperation in both military and political terms and, fromthe global viewpoint, its significance is even broader.”“It is difficult to imagine how the region would developif we failed to stabilise Afghanistan and to establishan acceptable regime and acceptable conditions for thepeople, a functioning state. It should be noted thatAfghanistan is a neighbour to one nuclear country, withanother having nuclear ambitions, and yet another nuclearpower is directly in the region. Because of this, it isin the interests of the international community to stabiliseAfghanistan. This is not about installing a regime of aWestern type, far from that. After all, the official nameof the country is the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.”Asked whether NATO will complete its mission inAfghanistan successfully after the failure of British expeditionaryand Russian forces, Brig. Gen. Macko emphasises:“The British invasion of Afghanistan was a colonial,occupation war. Similarly, the Russians tried to occupythe country. Ideologically, it was a harder job, becausethey attempted to put in place a system that was absolutelyincompatible with the cultural, social, and religiousenvironment of the region. As a result, the Soviet entryinto the region provoked resentment among the country’sinhabitants.”Experts say that if you come as an occupation force oras the nation’s enemy, you cannot win in Afghanistan.The international forces in Afghanistan enjoy the supportof most Afghans; people are simply tired of long-termfighting, grinding poverty, hopelessness, and raids. Thisis not just a question of Taliban rule,there are also issues such as high crimelevels, gangs extending their influence,lawlessness.“As long as the Alliance stays thecourse and works in Afghanistan for thebenefit of local inhabitants – and so farwe have seen a lot of support for ourtroops and you can ask those who are inthe field. This is not to say that everyonefavours them, of course, there is a certainstratum in Afghanistan, people whohave been stripped of power, and it isnot much to their liking that we want tostabilise the situation. Therefore, thereare pockets of resistance, but the overwhelmingmajority of the Afghan peoplesupports the international forces – forthem, they represent hope. And this hasbeen achieved also thanks to the Slovaksoldiers who served in Kabul and todayare operating in Kandahar andUruzgan.”Report Miroslav MINARPhoto Archive Brig. Gen. MACKO17


Spring in AfghanistanThe glittering sun rose over the hills ofArghandab, signalling yet another spring, eventhough quite hot day in southern Afghanistan. It isalso likely to be ‘hot’ at the largest allied air base inAfghanistan, Kandahar Airfield (KAF). Actually it isnot the weather that I have in mind, but rather thehustle and bustle in which the Slovak Guard Unit hasbeen executing its guarding tasks for the past fourmonths at a truly strategic point – Gate 3, the maingateway to KAF.It is shortly after 6 a.m., 1st Lieutenant Marek Husek,unit commander, finds himself in a dilapidated buildingscarred by small arms fire, giving orders to his teammatesat the beginning of what is to be a 12-hour shift. Prior toassuming their posts, soldiers must be briefed on theirduties, rotation times, rest, so that everyone gets an equalshare of the cake. Come 7 a.m., they man their posts,ready to check incoming people and vehicles.CRUCIAL CHANGESKandahar Base is undergoing a fundamentalrevamp. With plans to increase the manning levels, moreand more space is being made available for accommodationfacilities, equipment storage sites, canteens and sanitaryfacilities. 13,000 U.S. troops are expected to arrivesoon. The construction boom is creating more job opportunitiesfor the local residents of Kandahar and its surroundings.For them, this is the only, and therefore welcome,source of livelihood.More and more vehicles enter the base, carryingmateriel, water, oil and various goods. 1st LieutenantHusek estimates that since his unit’s arrival and takeoverof guarding duties at Gate 3 four months ago, the numberof people and vehicles has been up by 50%.Translated into daily figures, more than 1,600 personneland 200 vehicles enter the base on a daily basis. Everyoneand everything must be checked thoroughly – securityrisks are far too great. They range from suicide attemptsto hidden improvised explosive ordnance.After opening the turniket, tensions start to rise inthe two-hundred metre queue of local job applicants,which is constantly growing. Wearing colourful gallabijas,scarves and turbans, they push each other to get insidethe base faster. “They are really quite temperamental,they're looking for acquaintances and keep pushing,sometimes they have fights – even entire groups – untilwe intervene. Once we had to fire warning shots into theair to bring the situation under control,” says 1st Lt.Husek about this particular aspect of the MP duty.All this is closely monitored from the front gatetower, where a machine gun is in place. From there soldierswatch the crowd and, if circumstances require, areready to respond with a VZ 59 machine gun and a12,7mm sniper rifle, the latter capable of bringing even alight armoured vehicle to a standstill. Just below them aretwo soldiers searching everyone who has passed throughthe turniket. Following the initial security check, local residentsmust still be thoroughly searched. First, they arechecked by a scanner, and then frisked by four soldiers.Wearing light gloves, they concentrate on concealedweapons. As prescribed by the internal security guidelines,forbidden items must be taken away, includingmobile phones, weapons, sharp items and drugs of allkinds. Interestingly, almost all locals carry drugs withthem. Soldiers are aware of this and keep an enormousglass bottle at hand, which they fill with a stinking mix ofhashish, heroin and marihuana.When on duty, soldiers consider searching localpeople to be the worst job. On a day to day basis, theyencounter local people with poor hygiene habits. Yet farmore dangerous are the extremely sharp (and often used)toothpicks which they hide in the endless folds of theirloose-fitting clothes. These cause the already high tensionin the search room to rise even more, especially whenblood appears on soldiers’ gloves, and with it comes a lotof swearing. Such cuts must be immediately cleaned,since the threat of infection must not be underestimated.Despite this, the Afghanis keep smiling most of the time.Once they have passed the security check, they take leaveof our soldiers in a friendly manner – “Bye-bye, Baba”,knowing that getting a job is a sure thing now. This isbecause finding a job in Afghanistan equals winning thelottery.SECURITY PROCEDURES“Checking incoming vehicles is currently the mostdemanding task we do. The number of incoming vehiclesis increasing, and so is the pressure on us to do our jobquickly. First, we check the vehicles for explosives, whichis done by army search dogs, then we use a vehicle scanner,and finally we check the undercarriage and cabinmanually,” says 1st Lt. Hosek. Drivers applying for vacanciesmust go through the entire security procedure.We now descend the stairs from the front gatetower and head to a small guard post next to the gate.This is where mainly ISAF vehicles conducting missions inthe neighbourhood and all parts of the province enter thebase. Although the vehicles are not searched, militarypersonnel are requested to produce their IDs. In thebeginning, Slovak soldiers had to implement this rule,since their predecessors had overlooked it.PLACES OF DEPLOYMENTHolland, Hadrian, Tarin Kowt, Deh Rawod – theseare the names of places where in Afghanistan Slovak soldiersare currently deployed under the banner of ISAF.And that’s where the two guard units from the 12thMechanised Battalion from Nitra headed earlier this year.Upon arrival in Kandahar after a six-hour flight, the firstunit transferred to Camp Holland, a Dutch camp locatednear the town of Tarin Kowt, to replace the “pioneeringplatoon” from the 11th Mechanised Battalion fromMartin. Transport for the Slovak soldiers was provided bya Dutch aircraft, which, after being loaded with soldiersand equipment, seemed to be having a hard time liftingoff the ground. The aircraft’s maximum take-off weightwas commensurate with the maximum stock level thatwas needed to support the rotating troops. As the Dutchand French soldiers were being rotated on the same days,planning the flight to the 120-km distant destination provedto be a demanding task.ASSISTING AFGHAN RESIDENTS AND ARMED FORCESIn addition to engineering and guard units inAfghanistan, members of the Slovak Armed Forces havebeen assigned to HQ Task Force South in Kandahar, the18S L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S


Dutch Provincial Reconstruction Team in Uruzgan, andthe Operational Mentor and Liaison Team (OMLT) at TarinKowt Base. Standing in front of a map of Uruzgan province,which is at least as big as Slovakia, 1st Lt. MarosZofcak, a PRT operations officer, briefs me on the tasks ofthe PRT team.“The team aims to enhance security and to build uplocal government capacity. In doing so, we concentrateon Uruzgan province, in particular on Tarin Kowt, DehRawood and Cora. Our mission is to improve the livingconditions for the people. I have undertaken a number oftrips to the provincial towns. For example, during a meetingbetween our PRT and the elders of individual regions,towns and villages, the so-called Sura, we discussed supportfor concrete initiatives. Projects such as water pumps(there’s a shortage of water), hydroelectric power plants,and solar systems for electricity production are especiallypopular with local leaders and residents.But there are also some difficult moments, especiallywhen a mayor or tribe leader refuses help because heis afraid of the Taliban fighters who come to destroy whatthe Western “unbelievers” have donated to the village,residents or children. Despite this, the ProvincialReconstruction Teams have proved their value in helpinglocal communities. For example, up to 40 percent of childrencan now go to schools which used to be closedunder the Taliban. The trust of the Afghan people in theirarmed and security forces is on the rise, as they areincreasingly involved in building security throughout thecountry.Equally important, a number of mentoring teams areoperating in Afghanistan. Their task is to train officersand soldiers of the Afghan National Army. Slovakia hasfour personnel on the mentor team in Tarin Kowt, wherethey instruct Afghan logisticians in how to supply armedforces with everything they need to conduct missions successfully.In addition, they teach battalion (kandak) commandershow to lead and look after their soldiers. Capt.Igor Stefko and his colleagues keep themselves very busytraining Afghan soldiers.On Saturdays they participate regularly in the brigade’smorning parade, say their prayers alongside othersoldiers, while facing Mecca, and listen to the brigadecommander’s speech, which marks the beginning of anew training week. “Every day we make sure that Afghanofficers do their jobs properly. Sometimes it’s not an easytask because their mentality tends to be leisurely and perhapssomewhat careless. Progress is slow and limited. Butall things considered, some shift is visible,” says Capt.Igor Stefko.We now leave through a small gate from the Dutchbase and head for the ANA barracks, where the brigaderesponsible for Uruzgan province is based. GeneralHamid, the brigade’s commander, offers us a cup of teaand some nuts. Asked about security issues in the province,he replies that Uruzgan is the safest province inAfghanistan. Frankly speaking, I wouldn’t expect any differentreaction. In fact, the general is not directly responsiblefor the province.The general comes across as a self-confident man.During his formative years, he studied as a paratrooper atthe Frunze Military Academy in Moscow. Fearing retaliationby the Taliban, he then fled to London. Today he isback home coordinating ISAF operations. He finds theSlovak personnel very friendly and highly appreciates theirprofessionalism.The general insists: “The Taliban fighters are afraidof us, their combat tactics are based solely on terroristattacks, mortar attacks and IEDs. They are afraid of adirect confrontation with our troops.” Wearing the U.S.Battle Dress Uniform (BDU), just like his soldiers, he highlyappreciates the assistance given to his country. Mostimportantly, he is determined to train his soldiers to standardto defend their own country and citizens against criminalelements.For ISAF, this spring and summer in Afghanistan arelikely to be, as well as hot, decisive. U.S. President BarackObama has announced a new strategy for the allied forcesoperating in Afghanistan. It will also be implementedby Slovak soldiers, engineers, guardsmen, our personnelassigned to HQs, and mentoring teams. All of themdeserve our respect.Report and photos Bernard ROSTECKYS L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S


Slovak personnel in KFOR“I’m pleased to say that Lt. Gen. Giuseppe EmilioGaya, KFOR commander, was full of praise for oursoldiers serving in KFOR,” emphasised the Chief ofDefence (CHOD), General Lubomir Bulik, after returningfrom his fact-finding mission to Bosnia andHerzegovina and Kosovo earlier this spring.He was accompanied on his journey by the commanderof the Slovak Air Force, Maj. Gen. Juraj Baranek,and the commander of Presov Air Base, Col. MiroslavKorba. Both were keen to learn more about our helicopterunit, which operates within the EU’s largest mission.Nor did they miss the chance to visit Camp Sajkovac,Kosovo, where the Slovak soldiers, together with theirCzech counterparts, are stationed.INTRODUCING CHANGES IN KOSOVOLed by Lt. Col. Vojtech Mojzes, the Slovak servicemenand women perform operational tasks as part ofthe 14th contingent under the KFOR Multinational TaskForce - Centre (MNTF-C). The national contingent commanderinformed General Bulik of the latest developmentswithin KFOR. Introduced in April, the changesaffect our personnel operating in the MNTF-C’s entirearea of responsibility. They no longer stand guard 24hours a day at the ‘yellow building’ and the school centre;they have stopped conducting joint patrols with theKosovo Police Corps; and the Kosovo Polje Monument isnow open to all ethnicities (including the local Albanianresidents). Guard duties will also be subject to review.The Slovak national contingent is made up of membersof our oldest, fully professional unit: MechanisedBattalion Martin. 1st Lt. Stefan Leja, the company’sSecond-in-Command (SinC) highly praises the unit,describing it as organic. “Today the situation is muchbetter than it was when I served in Kosovo two yearsago. I know my staff very well, and I also know what Ican expect from them. And that’s the way I feel when weare conducting our missions. Although during my previoustour of duty we came from the same battalion, wewere from different units, and so it took us quite sometime to get our bodies and minds on the same wavelength,”emphasises 1st Lt. Leja. Compared to his previousdeployment, he says that more emphasis is now placedon search operations and heli-drops. Our soldiershave also been trained in boarding a helicopter whilecarrying crowd-control equipment.The changes in KFOR’s activity have also been noticedby the Platoon Sergeant, Sergeant Jan Hluchava. Thisis his third tour of duty in Kosovo. He can see that thesituation is becoming more stable (though a small sparkcould still ignite a big fire). More authority has recentlybeen transferred to the local police, who have taken ongreater responsibility for security in the region.General Bulik was interested, among other things,in the equipment and outfitting of our soldiers, and thelogistic support provided to them. He expressed satisfactionwith some newly-incorporated equipment (such asthe modular webbing system and military footwear. Atthe same time, he was pleased with the growing professionalismof our soldiers on foreign operations.Report and photos Jozef ZIAK


Finding peace in LourdesThe 51st International Military Pilgrimage,attended by nearly 30,000 pilgrims in a variety ofmilitary uniforms, reached its climax in France'sLourdes on 17 May. Slovak service members haveregularly participated in this spiritual excursionsince 1995. This year 173 Slovak pilgrims – soldiers,policemen, corrections officers – joined in withsome 30 countries from Europe, the Americas,Africa and Asia.The Slovak delegation was led by Mons. FrantisekRabek, Ordinary of the Slovak Armed Forces and ArmedCorps, and included, for the first time, the family membersof those who died in the air crash on 19 January2006, when an Antonov An-26 transport aircraft withsoldiers returning from the NATO-led mission in Kosovoon board went down near the Hungarian village ofHejce.RELATIVES OF THE HEJCE DISASTER VICTIMS“I highly appreciate the Defence Minister's promptresponse to invite to the pilgrimage the relatives ofthose soldiers who perished at Hejce. In Lourdes, especiallyduring the Eucharistic procession we had severaloccasions to meet with foreign soldiers who sufferedinjuries in peace-making and peace-keeping operations.The presence of the families of the victims, however,added a deeper meaning to the entire pilgrimage,”emphasised Bishop Rabek while reflecting on theSlovak participation in the 51st international pilgrimageto Lourdes.This year the Slovak National Mass, celebrated infront of Lourdes's Marian apparition site, was alsoattended by Polish soldiers. Moreover, an InternationalMass for Slavic Nations was held at St. Bernadette’sChurch. Apart from Slovak pilgrims, it brought togethersoldiers from Croatia (up to 1,500 personnel), Poland,Czech Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Ukraine.This was no coincidence as servicemen from preciselythese countries are engaged on joint peace supportoperations.Over the past few years NATO's KFOR personnelhave been regular event attendees. This year twoSlovak officers accompanied the KFOR delegation.MANY NATIONS, ONE PEOPLE OF GODMost of the Hejce victims came from MechanisedBattalion Trebisov. Lt. Col. Jan Stavrovsky, the commanderof the Trebisov-based battalion, joined by his wifeMaria, did not miss out on this opportunity and paidhomage to the memory of his former colleagues. Andso did 1st Lt. Peter Pavlik, another battalion member,and his wife Zuzana.As the Slovak pilgrims followed the Stations of theCross, the Via Crucis, ascending the hill to Calvary, itbegan to rain. Even the central event, the closing ceremonyat the Rosary Square, was marked by rain, butMons. Patrick Le Gal inspired the soldiers to wholehear-tedly embrace this year's motto: ‘Many nations, onepeople of God’, believing they would carry it home intheir hearts.Report and photos Jozef ZIAKS L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S21


TOUR OF DUTY IN KOSOVOIn April 2007, Zuzana competed in a selectionprocess for KFOR personnel and was offered aposting with the multinational Kosovo CIMIC team.“I was very pleased with this challenge, which Ifaced a few months later on the ground in Kosovo. Imust admit I was enthralled as much as I was worriedabout what was in store for me. Today I can saythat my decision to go on mission was a steptowards the unknown. But the fact that I could verifymy knowledge and skills in reallife conditions reassured me that itwas the right decision. I was determinedto experience real operations,which we usually only read orhear about in the media,” saysZuzana, revealing her adventurousspirit.At the time of her deploymentin Kosovo, the Slovak CIMIC teamwas under Col. Milan Slezák,Commander of SLOVCON, however,it was also subordinated to theChief of G-9 CIMIC, HeadquartersMultinational Task Force Centre(MNTF-C), also known as CampVille, located near central Lipljan.“Our multinational team consistedof two Finns, and Ireland,Czech Republic and Slovakia contributedone officer each. We built ateam like a family, where everyonewas ready to lend a helping hand,”says Zuzana, describing the internationalenvironment.To be able to perform the tasksassigned to CIMIC officers in theirarea of responsibility, the teammateswere expected to have a tho-Slovak soldiers appreciated by KosovarsThe average Kosovo family has not enoughmoney to provide for essentials, let alone to payfor medical insurance or the life-sustaining insulinfor a 35-year old diabetes sufferer. The developedEuropean countries are not too aware ofthe consequences of this disease. In countrieswhere medical service is not something takenfor granted, the cruelty of this disease is fullymanifest: diabetes patients lose their hands andlegs. It is hard to look at this, and it is even harderto come to terms with the fact we cannothelp everyone. ”Experiences like this are quite common for Slovaksoldiers serving with the Kosovo Force (KFOR). 1st Lt.Zuzana Mizenková did a six-month tour of duty asCIMIC officer. She was part of a team that wastasked with civilian-military co-operation, in short,the CIMIC team.AVIATION LADYWhen studying at the Electrical Engineering HighSchool in Košice, Zuzana became fascinated by aircraft.In 1998, she applied to study at the MilitaryAviation School in Košice and came through with flyingcolours as one of the best students. After passingthe state exams, ranked 2nd Lieutenant, she took upher first post at Headquarters Slovak Air Force (HQSAF) in Zvolen.“HQ SAF allowed me to translate all my theoreticalknowledge, gained in my individual study branches,into practice. In reality, I woke up quickly andhopped onto the moving military train.” Zuzana hasworked as Air Surveillance and Electronic WarfareSenior Officer at HQ SAF for six years.rough knowledge of the historical, political, economicand social situation in the country, and ofKosovo's situational updates and future direction.“All this information was crucial for us, as our CIMICteam worked as a liaison cell between the militaryand civilian organisations, with the latter comprisingnon-combatant components, in other words, regionaland local administration bodies, and governmentaland non-governmental organisations.”WHAT CIMIC DOESThe main task of the Civil-Military Co-operationis to assist in rebuilding war-torn Kosovo via projects.Based on an official request filed by individual headsof regional areas, projects helping local communitiesare being implemented in Kosovo, which enhancesthe image of KFOR troops. “We've implementedprojects in a number of areas, including, firstly, boostingKosovo's infrastructure, i.e. building roads, bridges,youth centres, schools, playgrounds and medicalcentres; secondly, developing social projects, includinganti-drug programmes, mine awareness trainingfor children, English teaching; thirdly, promo-22S L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S


ting social and economic development, providingsupport for small businesses; and last but not leastdelivering humanitarian aid, in particular food, clothesand medication. Most of the projects were conditionedby the financial resources available to theFinnish and Irish elements within the CIMIC team.The Slovak CIMIC team itself had no financial budget,which markedly restricted our activities.Nevertheless, aided by the 11th Slovak contingent,we managed to implement several projects, therebymaking the Slovak presence more visible. For example,members of the Slovak contingent were involvedin reconstructing a primary school and delivering aidto people in need in their area of responsibility.” ForZuzana, the tour of duty in Kosovo was satisfying.“All my wishes were fulfilled, even surpassing myexpectations. The job of a CIMIC officer appealed tome thanks largely to its diverse and dynamic nature,giving me the opportunity to work with local peopleon an everyday basis.”THE MORE YOU GIVE THE MORE YOU GETZuzana had a positive experience when it cameto the local men's approach to her as a woman.“Nobody made any difference between a man and awoman. Regional representatives had no problemcommunicating with me (though they were Muslim).On the contrary, they were pleased and grateful forwhat CIMIC officers were doing for Kosovars.”On the other hand, there are also some bittermemories. She saw grinding poverty, diseases andsuffering. “Most of Kosovo's inhabitants live inA tale of Kosovo's small businessman“As CIMIC officers we sometimes got involved in strange and apparently amusing situations.Undoubtedly one of these was the request of a local businessman to support his entrepreneurial activity.When he brought us to a place where he wanted to set up his business, we could see only severalhectares of land. We curiously surveyed the landscape but there was nothing to see but fields. So,not really grasping what he was up to, we asked about his entrepreneurial intention. Just as theinterpreter opened his mouth to translate, he broke out laughing, but we had no idea what wasgoing on. It turned out that the person wanted to set up a snail farm. At that moment the seriousmilitary expressions on our faces gave way to youthful smiles. As the man enthusiastically began toexplain, we listened more and more attentively. He said he had made an agreement with aFrenchman who would deliver the snails. Nobody would have expected this answer, especially in themiddle of Kosovo! So we advised him to contact the regional authorities and file an official request.Normally these are first confirmed by the local authorities and then forwarded to the CIMIC team. Toeveryone's surprise, this enthusiast got the business off the ground, and the CIMIC team, paying forhis special fencing nets, was there with him to see it happen. He started exporting snails to Franceand provided jobs for all his unemployed family members.”simple huts made of mud and straw, with walls fallingapart and roofs caving in, although one can seenewly built houses with unplastered outer walls.Having lost their husbands during the Kosovo conflict,there are plenty of families where women arethe sole providers for their children and parents.”As she admits Kosovo has enriched her not onlyin terms of developing her specialist, language andmilitary skills but also as a human being. “When oneis faced with absolute poverty and the social ills connectedtherewith, one is bound to be filled with respectand humility. Therefore this job is not just abouta military commitment, but also about being sensitiveto and finding sensible solutions for local communities.Despite the fact that we were doing our bestfor the people of Kosovo, I can't avoid feeling that Ireceived more from themthan I actually gave them.These people taught me howto give everything, and mademe think that we do not needexcessive property to live happilyand to make othershappy.”ANOTHER MISSION?Asked whether she wouldgo on another mission,Zuzana said: “Looking back, Ialways surprise myself howbeneficial the stay in Kosovowas and still is for me. I feelgrateful for the time spentthere, and if another tour ofduty were to give me as muchas Kosovo did, I would go forit. Of course, this is up to theSlovak Armed Forces and mysuperiors.”Report Michaela FARKASOVAPhoto archive Zuzana MIZENKOVAS L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S23


stand-off DD-CWA and TIC chemical agent detectors and saw thepresentation of a CBRN mobile analytical lab, designated S-4692,and the capabilities of a bomb disposal squad.STAND-OFF DETECTOR AND MEMORIES OF KUWAITExperts from the Military Technical Institute (MTI) LiptovskyMikulas demonstrated, besides the detection capabilities of thestand-off detectors, also the MTI-produced CBRN information processingand transfer unit. Jiri Vicenik from the MTI explained theadvantages of working with this state-of-the-art technology.The venue was held under the auspices of Col. Petre Fajmon,General Staff, Slovak Armed Forces, and Brig. Gen. (Retd) DusanLupuljev from NATO's WMD Centre, based at Brussels. Brig. Gen.Lupuljev, who commanded the 1st Czecho-Slovak CBRN Battalionin Kuwait in 2003, met with the then Chief of Operations StaffMaj. Gen. Jaroslav Vývlek (today's Commander of the Slovak LandForces) and the former Commander of Czechoslovak ChemicalCorps Maj. Gen. (Retd) Ervin Lahky, as well as with his former 2inCand Commander of the Slovak CBRN Contingent in Kuwait Lt. Col.Ladislav Svatik.According to Ladislav Svatik, Slovak CBRN specialists testedthe first model of the stand-off detector in Kuwait. “The detectorproved its value in the theatre of operations. As the conflict developed,we identified and removed the system's deficiencies, whichusually turn up during the deployment phase. I'm pleased to saythat our feedback has helped to improve the system, which iscapable of detecting toxic chemical agents and measuring theconcentration of toxic agents without having to be in direct contactwith them. Many other militaries deployed as part ofOperation Iraqi Freedom in Kuwait were envious of this system atthe time. On the other hand, back then we were using outdatedBRDM vehicles. Today, however, we are using the Aligator 4x4CBRN vehicle,” concluded L. Svatik.NBC troops in Upper NitraAn international CBRN workshop under the auspices ofMaj. Gen. Miroslav Kovac, Commander of the SlovakTraining and Support Forces at the CBRN Training andTesting Centre (TTC) was held recently in ZemianskeKostolany. The theme of the workshop is best captured in itstitle: Slovak Armed Forces – Challenges and Lessons Learnedfrom Handling Toxic Chemical Agents.Besides Slovak Armed Forces personnel, the internationalevent saw the participation of specialists from Slovenia, Germanyand France. Among the prominent guests were Mr. DieterRothbacher from the Organisation for Prohibition of ChemicalWeapons (OPCW), based at Haag, Col. Jiri Gajdos from NATO'sInternational Staff in Brussels, and experts from Centre ofExcellence CBRN Vyškov, Czech Republic.According to Lt. Col. Miroslav Ofcarovic, the event's coordinator,the workshop was aimed at exchanging specialist experience.In their attempt to respond to the threat of the proliferation ofWMD, the Slovak Armed Forces are developing their CBRN capabilities.During the workshop practical demonstrations with chemicalagents were staged by members of the CBRN Defence Battalionfrom Roznava in co-operation with specialists from CBRN Base inCerenany and TTC personnel. The workshop participants, groupedinto two working groups, were also tasked to evaluate the technicalcapabilities of the Slovak Armed Forces as part of the waragainst international terrorism.MOBLAB AND VYMOB SYSTEMS DEMONSTRATEDSoldiers – specialists in toxic chemical agents, presented,among other things, how to processand transfer information onthe unfolding chemical situationwithin the CBRN information systemand the MOBLAB system(ensuring communication betweenthe sample-collecting vehiclesand the MOBLAB container, aswell as information transfers viaCBRN mobile emergency stations).Also, the mobile evaluationunit (VYMOB) for collecting, processingand disseminating informationon the radiological andbiological situation was successfullydemonstrated.The participants were keento familiarise themselves with theALIGATOR 4X4 CBRN RECEIVES POSITIVE FEEDBACKBoth Brig. Gen. Dusan Lupujlev and Col. Jiri Gajdos praisedthe performance of the Aligator vehicle. “Having a thoroughknowledge of similar vehicles in use with NATO militaries, I mustsay that the Aligator is one of the best CBR reconnaissance andsampling systems of its class,” said Brig. Gen. Lupujlev.Dipl. Ing. Karol Lizon, the CBRN Section Chief from CBRNBase Zemianske Kostolany, emphasised the importance of exchangingCBRN information. He went on to highlight the contributionof the Training and Testing Centre in Zemianske Kostolany, whichbelongs among the best equipped CBRN training establishmentsworldwide. For this reason, it has recently attracted specialists fromAustria, Hungary and Slovenia.Report and photos Jozef Ziak24S L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S


An innovator from Western SlovakiaThe Slovak Research and Design Institute ofElectrical Technology Nova Dubnica received oneof the four PRIX awards at the IDEB 2008International Defence Equipment Fair in Bratislavafor its Weapon Station ZSRD 07. This is a light,remote control system designed to be integratedon any wheeled or tracked armoured vehicle platform.However, it is most suitable for light armouredvehicles. The latest lessons learned from armedconflicts indicate that weapon stations of this typeare capable of providing effective protection forinitial entry forces.The gyro-stabilised station is equipped with a PKP7,62mm machine gun. The weapon system is remote-controlledand holds 200 rounds. The sighting and observationsystem consists of an infrared camera, surveillance camera,and tracking camera, with the option of attaching an externalIR rangefinder. But the Institute is not resting on its laurels.For this year’s IDET 2009 in Brno, it has come up withmore improvements.EUROPE’S SECOND LARGEST MANUFACTURERThe company has completed the ZU 23M Anti-AircraftGun modernisation project, developed electronic systems forrecovery tanks, as well as modular components for armouredfighting vehicles (fire control computer, integrated diagnosticsystem, control and monitor unit, smoke grenade controlunit, control handles for shooters).Over the past years the Nova Dubnica-based Institute hasrisen to become Europe’s second largest producer of mobilemonitoring systems. So far they have 60 systems to their credit.Recently, the company’s latest product was handed overto the border police of one Balkan state. The system is designedfor vehicles such as the Land rover, Mercedes Sprinter,Nissan Patrol, upgraded UAZ, Volkswagen Transporter, andHummer H 1.The monitoring system is installedinside vehicles, without giving away themission purpose. If required, the systemcan be extended out of car (in no morethan 5 minutes). The system providescontinuous monitoring, detection,observation, coordinates acquisition,target visualisation (people and vehicles),and is capable of daytime andnight time operation.The system also features a recordingand replaying device, control unit,extendable and retractable telescopicpole with a sensor head (placed abovethe vehicle when in operating mode)and two operator consoles.The daughters of a Slovak motherThe Institute is based in the Povazieregion, Western Slovakia. The monitoringsystem may be applied to protectlarge facilities (airfields, ammunitiondepots, barracks, military bases).Recently, the company’s products havebeen increasingly used by the CzechArmy. The Institute is unique insofar asit has established a chain of daughtercompanies abroad. The original government-ownedcompany was founded in1968, and in 1994 it was transformedinto a joint stock company. Two yearslater, in 1996, a daughter company,EVPU ZVS, was established in Dubnicanad Vahom (Slovakia). In 1998, thecompany expanded by the founding ofEVPU CR in Hradec Kralove (CzechRepublic); in 2001, EVPU Defence inUhorske Hradiste (Czech Republic); in2003, EVPU Ningbo (China); and in2008, SI Plus in Moscow (Russia). Thecompany currently employs 500 highlyqualified experts.Report Jozef ZIAKPhoto EVPUS L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S25


NATO’s state-of-the-art weapons systemsPolitically speaking, the North AtlanticAlliance represents mutual cooperation as well asdiversity. This is also true of NATO’s weapons systemsfielded with Alliance armed forces. In fact,the systems are as diverse as they are compatible,reflecting efforts to achieve standardisation andto promote joint development capacities in allareas.The changing nature of threats and conflicts thatthe Alliance has been faced with in recent years hashad an impact on NATO’s assets. So, let’s take a look atsome interesting systems.E-3D AWACSAs the biggest NATO-funded defence programme,the E-3D AWACS (Airborne Early Warning and ControlSystem) aircraft serves as an outstanding example ofthe spirit of Alliance cooperation. Historically, the NATOAirborne Early Warning & Control Force (NAEW&CF)was created in January 1980. Today NAEW&CF fallsunder the command of SHAPE, Mons, Belgium. It consistsof two operational elements called Components –the multinational NATO E-3A Component inGeilenkirchen Germany operating seventeen E-3DAWACS aircraft and three Trainer Cargo Aircraft (TCA),and the Royal Air Force (RAF) E 3D Component atWaddington in the UK, with seven E-3D Sentry aircraft.The AWACS system is based on the Boeing 707-320Bflying platform.NATO AWACS aircraft have been, in line with theMid-Term Modernisation Programme, extensively modifiedand updated to accommodate modern mission systems.The project was headed by the Boeing team andwas completed by the end of 2008.The upgrade ofelectronic equipment (display stations, navigation systems,open architecture PC-based mission systems,digital data link), combined with the ability to integratedata from various sensors and sources, has created thenecessary conditions for advanced battlefield airspacemanagement. At the same time, it has increased thenumber of targets that can be tracked and evaluatedsimultaneously, while reducing the involvement of operators.The NATO E-3A aircraft is powered by four TF33Pratt & Whitney 100A turbofan engines, each rated at93.41 kN (21,000lb). The aircraft has a wingspan of44.45 m (145 ft 9 in), a length of 46.68 m (152 ft 11in), and a height of 12.7 m. Maximum level speed atoperating altitude is 853 km/h (530 mph). Maximumtake-off is 147 429 kg (325,000lb). The diameter of thecircular radome above the aircraft fuselage is 9.1 m (29ft). The primary radar is the AN/APY-1/2 ODR. The rodomerotates continuously, each rotation lasting 10seconds, and the radar can scan at distances of morethan 400 km. The E-3D AWACS, with fuel tanks carryingup to 89 610 l of fuel, can be airborne for over 10hours. The normal crew comprises 4 flight-deck crewand 10-man mission crew, but the exact number is missionspecific.LEOPARD 2The ‘old era Alliance’, which heavily relied on massiveuse of heavy vehicles such as tanks and artillery systems,is well represented by Germany’s Leopard MainBattle Tank. With 3,000 tanks manufactured, theLeopard 2 is the tank’s most widely used version. Thetank has been incorporated into the inventory of someNATO militaries and has also been in sevice with theSwiss and Austrian Armed Forces.Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) began to manufacturethe Leopard 2 for the Bundeswehr in 1979. Thelatest version, designated Leopard 2A6, features electronicupgrades and a L55 120mm gun, 1.3m longerthan its L44 predecessor, among other innovations.The turret dominatates the tank’s central section,with the engine and gearbox compartment in the rear.The armour protection at the front of the hull is placedat a 45-degree angle to the base, while that coveringthe sides and the rear at a 90-degrees.The engine is the MTU MB 873 diesel engine, providing1,100kW (1,500shp). Fitted with a Renk HSWL354 gear, the Leopard II has a top speed of 72 km/hand a range of 500 km. The running gear consists ofseven road wheels with the idler wheel at the front anddrive sprockets at the rear, and four return rollers perside. The upper part of the running gear has side protection.The driver’s compartment is at the front. The commandersits on the right side of the turret, with the loaderon his left. The gunner is seated in front of thecommander and operates the fully stabilised smoothboregun, which can fire APFSDS-T and HEAT rounds.The gun has thermal insulation and an elevation rangebetween -9° and +20°.BOXER MRAVSince the time the bipolar world came to an end,the NATO Alliance has had to cope with new challengesand tasks. As a result, the defence systems in usewith Alliance armed forces have been adjusted to meetthe requirements of the High Readiness Forces able torespond to a wide range of conflicts. Of course, thiswould not be feasible without international cooperation,and the Multi Role Armoured Vehicle (MRAV) servesas a case in point.The MRAV programme dates back to 1999, whenthe governments of the UK and Germany signed anagreement for the collaborative development of nextgenerationarmoured utility vehicles. The Nertherlandsjoined the project two years later, in 2001. Variousabbreviations have been used to refer to the vehicle,including, MRAV, GTK and PWV, and since 2002 thevehicle has also been known as Boxer. The project ismanaged by the EDA (European Defence Agency) andOCCAR (Organisation for Joint ArmamentCooperation). The prime contractor is ARTEC GmbH,26S L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S


which comprises Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW),Rheinmetall Landsysteme and Stork. The Boxer successfullycompleted German military trails in January2008, with the first batch of vehicles scheduled to bedelivered to the Bundeswehr in the autumn of 2009.The Royal Dutch Armed Forces will receive the BOXERat the beginning of 2011.Depending on the version, the 8x8 vehicle has amaximum permissible weight of between 30-39 tons. Itprovides a load capcatiy to 8t and has an internal capacityof more than 14m³. The Mission modules, which fitinto the base vehicle, provide static battlefield installationsto suit location and mission specific requirements,including an infantry module (2 crew plus 10 fullyequipped troops), command post module, medical unitmodule, and logistic centre module. The vehicle is fittedwith a 530kW MTU engine linked to an Allison automatictransmission. With a maximum speed of 100km/h, it has a road range of 1,000 km. It has all-roundindependent suspension and central tyre inflation system(CTIS).EUROFIGHTER TYPHOONThe Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine canarddeltawing multirole aircraft. It was designed and builtby a consortium of three separate partner companies –Alenia Aeronautica, BAE Systems, and EADS workingthrough the Eurofighter GmbH holding company formedin 1986. The project is managed by NETMA (NATOEurofighter and Tornado Management Agency) whichalso acts as the prime customer.The series production of the Eurofighter Typhoonis underway, and the aircraft is being procured underthree separate contracts. Referred to as ‘tranches’, e.g.tranche 1, 2, 3, each tranche signifies aircraft withgenerally improved capabilities. A total of 157 Tranche1, 284 Tranche 2, and 260 Tranche 3 aircraft will bemanufactured. The aircraft has entered service with theGerman Luftwaffe, the Austrian Air Force, the BritishRoyal Air Force, and the Italian Air Force. Saudi Arabiahas signed a €6.4 billion contract for 72 aircraft.Let’s look back at the history of the Eurofighterprogramme. The project known as FEFA (FutureEuropean Fighter Aircraft) was launched in 1983, withFrance, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and Italyas participating countries.The new aircraft was to have Short Take-Off andLanding (STOL) and Beyond Visual Range (BVR) capabilities.Although one year into the project France withdrewfrom the contract, the other countries decided tocontinue with the new EFA (European Fighter Aircraft)programme. The first flight of the prototypeEurofighter Typhoon did not take place until 10 yearslater, in March 1994, in Germany. The first aircraft enteredservice with the German Luftwaffe in August 2003,and in the same year also with the Spanish Air Force.The Italian Air Force took delivery of its first aircraft inDecember 2005, and the British Air Force in March2007.Compiled by Roman KMENTPhoto NATO, KMW, ARTEC GmbH, EADSS L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S27


The North Atlantic Alliance:A view beyond the horizon


My ‘Seven years with NATO’, five of which Iserved as the Representative of the SlovakRepublic to the North Atlantic Council, in otherwords, NATO’s top decision-making body, and aretrospective look at the Alliance ‘I’ joined in2003, and which Slovakia entered in the spring of20 04, may provoke even a reasonably observantand circumspect person to contemplate whereNATO is likely to find itself in the next 5 years.So what will the Alliance look like in the midterm,when it reaches the Beatles' “When I'm 64”?Despite the dynamics of changes framed by the1999 Strategic Concept of the Alliance, there is a prevailingsense of expectation that the transformationthe Alliance will undergo over the next decade isbound to be far deeper.In my opinion, in the first half of the next decadethe following 10 changes will be the most consequential...First and foremost, the Alliance will have a newstrategic concept by 2013, one that will mirror thesecurity environment after 9/11, and will provide lessonslearned from the ‘Iraq Case’ and the ‘AfghanistanCase’.It should be noted that work on updating thisdocument has constantly stimulated the deepest strategicthinking throughout all NATO capital cities andheadquarters. When adopted by Heads of State andPrime Ministers, the document will allow the Allianceto consolidate its sense of being, and to revivify itspolitical relevance. These revitalising foundations,which this political and military organisation builds on,take account of NATO’s ambitions, define and confirmits role, and determine its position in the internationalsystem, which has exposed a number of imperfectionsin the 21st century.Point 2: The reintegration of France into NATO’smilitary and command structures will be completed.Rather than dramatic changes on the military and operationalfronts of the Alliance, what we can expect is achange of climate, a higher degree of cohesion, and a‘peace dividend’ arising out of France’s comfortableposition in NATO and the EU. The new French administrationformed before the summer of 2007 hasshown how the Alliance can be more pro-active, whenconsensus among NATO’s most crucial members is reachedstraightforwardly.Point 3: We will witness – also as a by-product ofthe French return to the Alliance – a marked improvementin NATO–EU and NATO–UN relations. Inter-institutionalNATO–EU co-operation, or to be more preciseits atrophy, is becoming unsustainable in the increasinglycomplicated political and operational context inwhich both organisations are operating.While pursuing wider goals as well as its ownaims, the Western community’s readiness to respondand authority to advocate the said and much neededrestoration of the international system, can only growby bringing the relations of the two Brussels-basedorganisations onto the strategic level. In connectionwith the UN, the Alliance has become the most significantinternational organisation operating under theUN SC mandate, one often working in ‘outsourcing’mode – in the area of peace support operations andmissions. Today’s sporadic contacts between NATO andthe UN do not correspond to the reality as it is unfoldingacross the three continents.Point 4: The intention to withdraw fromAfghanistan, with a withdrawal timeline, will be madepublic.The Alliance will do this without giving anyone apretext to accuse it of weak points. At the same time,the Afghan political and security structures will need tobe robust enough to ensure the state’s self-sustainability(and to draw an analogy with Iraq, ‘the threat ofwithdrawal’ may become a significant external stimulusfor stronger domestic leadership). For NATO,Operation ISAF is existential. There are many reasonswhy the Alliance should manage its withdrawal fromAfghanistan very carefully. At the end of the day,however, NATO will be leaving Afghanistan with avaluable lesson: the engagement of the internationalcommunity in Afghanistan has demonstrated thenecessity to adopt a fundamentally different approach,one that is more creative, more holistic, and whichinvolves all concerned parties in post-conflict reconstructionand stabilisation.Against the backdrop of the Afghan experience,one more justified and vital prediction is that of a‘more introverted’ NATO, an Alliance more preoccupiedwith spearheading its internal transformation, asstipulated by Article 5 on the collective defence ofallied countries, and at the same time – not contrary tothis – an Alliance more attentive to its immediate securityenvironment: finalising its Balkan agenda, engagingin resolving frozen European conflicts, and becomingmore emphatic towards threats emerging frombeyond the Mediterranean Sea.Point 5: There will be a curtailment of NATO’soperational tasks in the Balkans on the one hand, andthe broadest possible use of NATO’s instruments vis-àvisthe region on the other.Besides the three well-established NATO membersfrom the Western Balkans (Albania, Croatia andMacedonia), I can see Bosnia and Herzegovina andMontenegro in the last rounds of the MembershipAction Plan (MAP), and I would like to believe thatSerbia will normalise its relations with NATO, whileKosovo will, by 2013, be in the ‘overtaking’ lane headedfor NATO membership.Point 6: Ukraine already works as a MAP participant,and taking NATO leaders at their word, when inthe spring of 2008 they unanimously named Ukraine,as well as Georgia, future NATO allies – and though itmight appear paradoxical, the main reason for invitingUkraine to join NATO’s MAP will be the one which I ammore sceptical about when it comes to Georgia’s candidacy.Point 7: The partnership concept, conceived asthe Alliance’s most significant post-Cold War interfacewith the rest of the world, will be changed by 2013(Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, MediterraneanDialogue, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, ‘new’ partners,NATO-Ukraine Commission, NATO-GeorgiaCommission, NATO-Russia Council, etc.). Partnershipswill continue to be founded on internal and externaldifferentiation. Consequently, on the one hand we willbe able to increasingly observe the above-mentionedcountries aspiring for NATO membership; on the other,there will be the category of new partners raising theirvoices more forcefully. This category will be definednot so much by whether or not they come from theEuro-Atlantic area, but by the fact whether they are‘willing and capable’ to support NATO operations andmissions,Point 8: By 2013 NATO will undertake, with growingconfidence and competence, the agenda of nonmilitarythreats, including, notably, the protection ofinformation networks against possible attacks, energysecurity, or even climatic changes. However, theAlliance will have to spell out the added value of thenew agenda and look into the means of complementarinesswith regard to the institutional players whohave the primary expertise and responsibility in thoseareas.Point 9: Realistically, I am not convinced that theEuropean allies can catch up, technologically anddoctrinally, with the United States, although there area number of favourable indications that the gap willnot deepen even more.We can, however, support the argument that intoday’s economic ‘bad mood’ we cannot expect to seehigher defence expenditure, and this assertion can bebacked by the pressure France is exerting to consolidateEuropean defence capabilities within the frameworkof the EU’s increasingly dynamic security and defencepolicy. Moreover, there will (might) be some interestingbonuses, when EU-NATO relations are harmonised,particularly in the field of expeditionary forces (theNATO Response Force and the EU Battle Groups). Thesame is true of multinational initiatives, where the endresult is that selected groups of weapon systems willbe modernised.And finally, point 10: Although I expect that nochange will take place in the principle of consensusapplied in NATO’s decision-making (and life has frequentlyconvinced me of the inviolability of this principle),the Alliance, with its membership three timeslarger than its mechanisms are designed for, but, andwhat perhaps even more importantly, the Alliance withmembership stretching the borders of a common‘ideological’ and experiential (albeit not a value) basis,will soon have to address, creatively, its consultationand decision-making mechanisms.In an attempt to use my personal experience withthe Alliance for extrapolating the changes which NATOwill undergo in the mid-term, I would like to highlight,among other things, the years-long trust, which I gainedin Brussels – Evere, in the ‘intelligence’ of this‘organism’, in other words, in its openness to stimulifrom the outside environment and in its ability to preserveits functionality and relevance.At the same time, I rely on the reader’s tolerance– I have limited myself to presenting a qualified predictionof only those changes the Allies will have fullcontrol of, i.e. security megatrends. Issues such as thequality of Euro-Atlantic relations with the Arab-Islamicworld, with China and Russia (though even there theAlliance will play the role of a receiver and giver, respectively),I leave for the more experienced...Igor SLOBODNIKPhoto Pav ol VITKO(NATO flag flying over the last Talibanstronghold in Kandahar)S L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S29


Profile: Paul Strassmannattacks on a train has remained in my memory forever.During this incident we escaped death by a hair’sbreadth. We had just approached the track and reacheda suitable place near the ballast, when it beganto rain. We wrapped ourselves up in camouflage blanketsand waited for the trains to pass by. Finally, ourtarget turned up: It was a long military transporttrain.”“Under normal circumstances it would take us 9minutes to set the explosives. However, as the rainsilenced the roar of the coming train, we were leftwith some 5 minutes to do our job. So I quickly handedBatko three copper tubes with an impact detonatorinside them and some surgical adhesive tape toattach them to the outside rail. While two groupswere feverishly fastening explosives to the railwayline, the others were providing cover. Once planted,we just waited for the train to come closer, watchingthe approaching locomotive’s headlights.”“Meanwhile, Batko removed the ballast betweenthe sleepers (crossties), and placed two boxes withexplosives there. My task was to attach one detonatorto the wireline cable and the other to the top of theFrom Trencin to the Pentagon, and NASAPaul Strassmann was born into the family ofa Jewish businessman in Trencin, WesternSlovakia. His father, Adolf, was an officer and servedwith the 71st Infantry Regiment Trencin.Capt. Strassman went through the hardships ofthe Russian and Italian fronts (including, notably,the bloody fighting at the Piava river), where hewas wounded. He then joined the CzechoslovakArmy. Later on, in 1938, as a reserve officer in therank of Captain, he was ready to defend hishomeland, if drafted.In the past, his family owned a wholesale business(the building no longer exists and was replacedby the Cultural and Methodical Centre of the SlovakArmed Forces Facility) as well as a brick factory on theoutskirts of Trencin. The hitherto peaceful life of littlePaul was suddenly interrupted in 1939, when anti-Jewish legislation was adopted, expropriating Jewishproperty. However, the worst was yet to come – thedeportation of the Jews to concentration camps. Ofhis extended family, a total of 19 family membersperished in the camps (including Paul’s parents). OnlyPaul and his older sister survived.COMMANDER BATKOShortly after the Slovak National Uprising (SNU)broke out, to be exact, on 2 September 1944, the 15-year old boy was in hiding near Trencin. Living on theedge of the forest at Mnichova Lehota, for the firsttime he came across partisans. At that moment hehad no idea that soon he would become a member ofthe Stalin – Jegorov partisan group.“A small lorry stopped on the road and a groupof about 7 people ran up to it. It was led by a smallman with his arm cut off just below the elbow. He hada red badge on his cap. This was my future commanderBatko, nicknamed ‘Job’s mother’, as he wasalways swearing like this. I hopped into the lorry andwe drove to our base, although the road at Zavad waspatrolled by German troops. We did this several times.Batko’s approach showed elementary disrespect forsecurity measures and demonstrated excessive courage,which could have cost us our lives.”“A few days later we received orders to attackthe Trencin – Zilina railway tracks near the village ofOpatova. This was a strategic transport link used bythe Nazi troops to move their personnel, weapons andequipment across the Central Povazie region, andlater, after the SNU was suppressed, back to the front.Our task was to find a bend where the centre of gravityof the locomotive’s wheels would be on the innerside of the railway track. The trick was that when thelocomotive’s front released the safety pin, an explosionfollowed, damaging the rail. If properly executed,this would derail the locomotive and the carriages,”recalls Paul Strassmann.HOW TO BLOW UP A TRAINPaul Straussmann says that training how to deraila train hardly took them half an hour. His task was toassist Batko in setting up the explosives. “One of therail. However, I had forgotten to close the backpackwith our detonators. As I was running behind Batko, Idropped all we had – some 100 detonators. The locomotive’sheadlights were coming closer and closer. Iquickly put some copper detonation cylinders in mypocket, picked up my rifle, and ran to escape the locomotive’sbroad cones of dazzling light. Then I mademy second mistake. Instead of following a path, I hita muddy field. I got stuck in the mud, my legs did notanswer my call. I managed to move some 25m, whenmy legs gave out. I threw myself into the mud just asthe locomotive hit the explosives, which sent metalflying all around me.”“Although no shrapnel wounded me, I felt theburst of the exhaust steam. I forced myself to standup and tried to get away. Then I heard a hail of bulletscoming from the train. Shortly after that, Germanflares lit up the sky over the surrounding countryside,and machine gun fire started to bark. I had to run inthe interval between two flares. It was a true miracleI didn’t get hit. This may have been because I wascovered in mud and was indistinguishable from thefield. In the end, our group came together at the edgeof the forest. Nobody had suffered any injuries.Although some explosives had failed to detonate, wemanaged to disrupt the railway transport,” says PaulStrassmann, with vivid memories resurfacing in hismind.He goes on to add that he kept the copper cylindersin his trouser pocket. When he took them out ofthe pocket, everybody was thunderstruck – even a30S L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S


small detonation could have activated them. Luckily,there were no stones in the muddy field he had runacross. All it would have taken was a single impactand the detonators would have exploded. Paul hadmany more such nerve-wracking stories that occurredduring the autumn and winter of 1944.CORPORAL IN THE CZECHOSLOVAK ARMYAs the war front was getting closer, the Germantroops stepped up pressure on the resistance groups.The Pavlov Group marched through the mountainsand, on 25 March 1945, linked up with the Red Armyunits. At this time Paul visited the CzechoslovakArmy’s recruitment centre in Poprad and, after a shortrecovery vacation in the High Tatras, joined the Army.Thanks to his good command of German, he, alongwith other Czechoslovak soldiers, was sent toSudetenland in May 1945. His military career finishedwith the rank of Corporal in Bratislava. After the warhe began his English studies at Charles University inPrague. The coincidence and the fact that he was apartisan helped to change his life completely.CHANCE OR DESTINY?“In December 1947, I was at home when thethen Communist Party’s District Committee Chiefcame to visit me. He was not a good man, but bychance he helped me. He said: ‘Paul, a new era isdawning, but for those from bourgeois families itwon’t be so easy. As you are a former partisan, I wantto give a piece of advice: You’d better leave thiscountry now!’ I knew he wasn’t joking, and so, on 8February 1948, I went to the United Kingdom, andthen, after a few months, on to the United States,”recalls Paul Strassman.In America he was admitted to the most prestigioustechnical university, the Massachusetts Institute ofTechnology (MIT). He studied IT technology, and oneof the first students to write a thesis on computers:The Use of Computers. In 1955, when computersbegan slowly to be introduced into everyday life, therewas a high demand for such specialists. Paul workedhis way up through companies such as General Foods,Kraft Corporation and Xerox, where he held senior ITpositions.In 1985, he retired, but continued to work as aconsultant for such companies as General Electric,Citicorps, IBM, General Motors, Texas Instrument...When the Cold War ended and the Soviet empirebegan to crumble, it was clear that defence expenditurecould now be decreased. And that’s what U.S.Congress pushed for. At that time Paul began to workas an advisor for government bodies in Washington.GREY HEADSIn the Pentagon he became a member of a groupof seven people (so-called grey heads or senior advisors).These worked out a plan how to save 70 billiondollars between 1989 and 1995. “We made recommendationsand consolidated funding mechanisms. InDecember 1989, I was appointed Director of ITTechnologies. In other words, I was responsible for ITtechnologies, finance consolidation, personnel managementand logistics for U.S. national defence. Thebudget for these units accounted for 10 billion dollarsper year. The military equivalent of my civilian positionin the Pentagon was equal to the rank of LieutenantGeneral,” says Paul Strassmann.As a Slovak native he keeps returning to hishometown and to his sister. In the spring of 2008, hedid not miss the Holocaust conference, which washeld in Trencin on the premises of the Cultural andMethodical Centre of the Slovak Armed Forces, justwhere his father’s wholesale business used to stand.Throughout his life he has given lectures as aguest professor at U.S. universities, including theUnited States Military Academy at West Point. In2002, he took up a post at NASA (NationalAeronautics and Space Administration), which wasundergoing budgetary restructuring at the time. Hemanaged to save them half a billion dollars, for whichhe received a top civilian award. Today he works as aconsultant for the U.S. Navy. When the 15-year oldJewish boy joined the partisans in September 1944,he had no idea where life would take him...Report Jozef ZIAKCourtesy of Paul StrassmannPaul Strassman as a 15-year old member of the Czechoslovak armyPaul Strassman (left)S L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S31


NATO Secretary Generalon a farewell visit to SlovakiaOn 17 July 2009, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer paid his last official visitto the Slovak MoD, shortly before finishing his term in office. He was welcomed by DefenceMinister Jaroslav Baska, CHOD Gen. Bulik, Slovak Ambassador to NATO Frantisek Kasicky, andother MoD representatives.The Slovak Defence Minister and the NATO Secretary General touched on a number oftopics, including global financial crisis and the co-operation of NATO member states in implementingmultinational projects. The Secretary General praised Slovakia's commitment toNATO operations and professionalism during the country's 5-year membership in NATO, especiallylauding its contributions to Kosovo and Afghanistan. Slovak Defence Minister JaroslavBaska then thanked the Secretary General for the role he has played in strengthening globalsecurity and promoting international peace.Jaap de Hoop Scheffer led the North Atlantic Alliance since 5 January 2004. During histerm of office the Alliance saw its biggest enlargement by new member states, includingSlovakia. Prior to leaving his office, he managed to renew military co-operation with Russia.Mr. Scheffer was succeeded on 1 August 2009 by the Danish Prime Minister Anders FoghRasmussen as the new Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.Photo 1st Lt. Peter GARAJRemembering the fallen in NATO operationsOn 12 June 2009, NATO defence ministers attended a remembrance ceremony atNATO HQ, commemorating those soldiers who have lost their lives w hile on duty.During the ceremony NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Danish DefenceMinister Søren Gade and Chairman of the NATO Military Committee AdmiralGiampaolo Di Paola unveiled a monument w hich w as donated by Denmark in memoryof NATO's fallen personnel. The Secretary General thanked all NATO and Partnerservice personnel w ho have been operationally committed under NATO, and paidspecial respect to those who did not make it back home. “This monument that w ehave placed at the main entrance to our HQ w ill alw ays remind us of those who laiddown their lives so that we can live in peace, and of the decisions we take in thisbuilding,” said Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. A wreath w as then laid on the monument inhonour of the fallen, and a minute of silence w as observed.NATO Secretary Generalon a farewell visit to SlovakiaThe preparation of the CZE/SVK BG EU, which had lasted more than threeyears, culminated on 10 July 2009, when an activation ceremony of the jointCzecho-Slovak BG took place in Michalovce, Slovakia. At the same time a two-yeartraining cycle of the participating units and military and civilian personnel earmarkedfor the EU BG's HQ was brought to a successful end. Attending the ceremonywas Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Baska, Chief of Defence Gen. Bulik, MoDofficials, and nearly 400 soldiers assigned to the CZE/SVK BG EU. These soldiers,alongside the personnel engaged in international crisis response operations,belong among the best equipped and trained units of the Slovak Armed Forces,guaranteeing that our international obligations towards the EU will be duly honoured.The CZE/SVK BG EU was put on standby on 1 July. Over the next 6 months itwill be available for a quick deployment. EU BGs must be trained and equipped soas to respond to emergencies whenever the EU makes a political decision to do so.The force must be deployable within 10 days and perform a variety of missions,including, notably, stabilisation, reconstruction, support to security sector reform,conflict prevention, humanitarian operations, evacuation operations and separationof belligerent parties by force.Report Capt Lenka BUSOVAPhoto 1st Lt. Maria SAKACOVA32S L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S


Slovak-Dutch co-operationunder spotlightSpeaking on his working trip to the Netherlands between 30 June and 1 July 2009, Defence Minister Jaroslav Baskahighly rated the military co-operation between Slovakia and the Netherlands. For Slovakia, co-operation with the Dutch counterpartsis seen as the most crucial among all NATO forces.MILESTONES IN SLOVAK-DUTCH CO-OPERATION:• In 2002-3, the co-operation between Slovakia and the Netherlands was stepped up in SFOR in Bosnia andHerzegovina. Two rotations of Slovak Air Force personnel from Presov operated from Bugojno airfield, with Dutch soldiers astheir main coalition partners.• In 2002, a Memorandum of Understanding on establishing a Partnership for Peace (PfP) Training Centre with a JuniorStaff Officers' Course (JSOC) for Central and Eastern Europe was signed between the United Kingdom of Great Britain andNorthern Ireland, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Slovak Republic. The first course was launched in 2004. TheCentre was staffed by British and Dutch officers, who were paid by their respective armies and deserve the credit for gettingthe Centre up and running. 10 three-month courses were organised between 2004-7, and a total of 431 junior staff officersfrom 22 European and Central Asian countries graduated from JSOC.• In September 2008, an International Staff Officers' Course (ISOC) was opened at the PfP Centre in Liptovsky Mikulas,providing ten-week programmes. It was launched as a national project founded on the Memorandum of Understanding betweenthe Slovak Republic and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Dutch partners significantly contributed to the start ofthe course, educating lecturers and helping with teaching aids. ISOC is aimed at training officers ranked 1st Lieutenant toMajor in skills required for multinational staffs according to NATO standards and procedures.• An exceptionally fruitful co-operation between Slovak and Dutch is underway as part of ISAF, where the Dutch are theLead Nation. 57 Slovak personnel are currently operating alongside 1,200 Dutch soldiers in Uruzgan province (a total of 245Slovak Armed Forces personnel are deployed in Afghanistan). Slovak soldiers perform guard duties at Deh Rawood and TarinKowt bases. In July 2009, Slovakia dispatched a three-member medical team to operate on the Dutch-led military bases inUruzgan and Kandahar.• Dutch soldiers have regularly participated in Exercise ANTROPOID. Earlier this year, Slovak and Dutch soldiers stagedin Trencin a photo exhibition entitled 3D Afghanistan. Also, they have conducted a number of joint exercises.AWARDSOn his visit to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Baska presented the Memorial Medalof the Slovak Defence Minister 3rd Grade to Air Commodore G.M. Bergsmo (former commander of the Dutch contingent inISAF), Lt. Col. W.C. Roepers (former Chief of Staff of the Dutch contingent in ISAF), and Capt. H. Vaalburg (former commanderof Camp HOLLAND in Tarin Kowt), the former and the latter are pictured here with Defence Minister Baska and DCHODLt. Gen. Peter Gajdos). Also recognized was Mr. Hans van Baalen, the Chairman of the Defence and Security Committee,Lower House of the Dutch Parliament, receiving the Memorial Medal 1st Grade, and Mr. R. Swarbol, receiving the MemorialMedal of the Slovak Defence Minister 1st Grade. Slovak and Dutch service personnel have been involved in numerous jointprojects, with Afghanistan at the core of their co-operation. During his visit to the Netherlands, Defence Minister Baska reiteratedthat the Dutch MoD is Slovakia's strategic partner in Afghanistan, praising the Dutch effort to reconstruct the wartornregion.Report and photo Pavol VITKOIn memoryof French partisansThe first annual Luis Cros Memorial Event, named for a French partisan who fought in Slovakia in the SlovakNational Uprising, was held on 13 September in a small village in southwestern Slovakia, Mala Cierna.A 13-km tourist hiking path and a 24-km cycling trail were selected for the nearly 150 participants, including,notably, Defence Minister Jaroslav Baska (pictured here first from right) who gathered to commemorate the event. “Inline with the Government Goals we are committed to developing and strengthening the democratic and patriotic traditionsinherent in the culture of our MoD and society. The Louis Cros Memorial Event commemorates an epoch-makingmilestone in the history of the entire Slovak National Uprising (Slovenske narodne povstanie – SNP), in which Slovakiajoined with the Allies against the Nazis. And the morale and the pride of the Slovak Armed Forces are firmly anchoredin this tradition,” said Defence Minister Jaroslav Baska during the commemoration ceremony.Louis Cros, a French citizen, was imprisoned in WWII and forced to work in a Viennese armaments factory. Afterthe factory was bombed, he was transferred to work in an armaments factory at Dubnica nad Vahom. However, he anddozens of his friends managed to escape the closely guarded facility, joining the anti-Nazi resistance movement duringthe Slovak National Uprising.On 21 March 1945, L. Cros and five French comrades were arrested by a Nazi patrol. One of his friends was killed,another seriously wounded, while Cros himself was lucky enough to get away with light injuries, and lived to see theend of WWII. Before passing away in January 2009, he wrote a book of his memoirs, Words of a Song, where he reflectsupon the Slovak National Uprising.French combatants in the SNP distinguished themselves by fighting to take a gorge at Strecno, near Zilina. Duringthis year's 65th anniversary of the SNP all were commemorated by Prime Minister Robert Fico and Defence MinisterJaroslav Baska. A French Partisans' Memorial, listing the 58 French partisans who laid down their lives in the SNP, wasunveiled to mark the occasion. More than 100 French citizens died on Slovak territory during WWII.That France was aware of the heroism of its several hundred partisans fighting in the SNP is best illustrated by themilitary order of General de Gaulle of 9 December 1944. Among others, the order says: “Fighting away from our motherland,often finding themselves alone amid enemy troops, French combatants, thanks to their commitment, courageand moral power, deserve the respect and recognition of their Slovak and Russian co-fighters. They are a living exampleof French patriotism...”Report & Photo Pavol VITKOS L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S33


Slovak public on Slovakia's NATO membershipWhen Slovakia became a NATO member inMarch 2004, the scope of the Slovak public’s awarenessbegan to widen by encompassing security issuesbeyond Slovakia's borders. The Slovak Armed Forceshave enjoyed positive public ratings over the longterm, making it a highly trusted institution. There hasbeen a gradual change in the public attitude towardsthe roles that Slovakia and its Armed Forces undertakein the field of international security and within theirobligations towards NATO.Most Slovak citizens see our membership inNATO in a positive light. Only a small percentage ofAppraisal of Slovakia's membership in NATOinelderly people view NATO negatively. An opinion pollon Slovakia's membership in NATO was conducted bythe MVK, s.r.o. and ASA, s.r.o. independent agenciesbetween 2008-9 (June, October and December 2008and April 2009). Using a sample of roughly 1,100 respondentsaged above 18 (and aged above 16 in Dec.2008), the survey revealed that the percentage ofthose in favour of NATO stands at 60%, while thenumber of opponents has decreased to 10 %.It follows from the overview that the overwhelmingmajority of Slovak citizens are in favour ofNATO, and their support has been growing steadily,June 2008 October 2008 December 2008 April 2009positivenegativedeclined to comment or no opinionwhile the number of NATO opponents has been onthe decrease. Interestingly, a large number of respondentsdeclined to express their opinion or didn’t knowhow to assess the situation.The results of the poll suggest that age has a roleto play in respondents' opinions. Respondents in theyoungest age category (up to 20) tend not to expresstheir opinions on this issue. The eldest category of respondents(60 plus) are opposed to NATO membership.Nevertheless, the economically active population(aged between 21 and 60), by far the largest group ofrespondents, view NATO in a very positive light.The vast majority of Slovaks feel confident aboutthe North Atlantic Alliance. The 2009 poll results haveconfirmed that Slovakia's adult population (76%)believes that NATO is doing a right job in the world.60 % of all respondents consider NATO a trustworthyand credible partner. A majority of respondents agreethat our entry into NATO was a major milestone in thehistory of Slovakia. Needless to say, many survey respondents(60%) believe that NATO membership hasincreased Slovakia's defence expenditure. To conclude,regular opinion surveys have demonstrated thatSlovakia's membership in NATO is viewed positively inthe eyes of the Slovak public. Slovak citizens subscribeto the opinion that the North Atlantic TreatyOrganisation enhances peace and security in theworld, adding to the prestige of Slovakia. What’smore, NATO is believed to have boosted the militarycapabilities of the Slovak Armed Forces and attractedforeign investors.Report Karol CUKANIllustrative photo Bernard ROŠTECKÝ34S L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S


A truly exceptional soldierThe military veteran Maj. Gen. Anton Petrak (Rtd), aged 96, passed away in the Central Military Hospital, Ruzomberok, on 7 February 2009. A funeral service with full militaryhonours was held for Maj. Gen. Pertak at the Crematorium of the Capital City, Bratislava, 17 February. Deeply moved, the invited guests took leave of one of the greatest personalitiesof Slovak history. They paid tribute to an elite soldier, an exceptional man, a hero of the anti-Nazi resistance movement. The funeral service was attended by Slovak andforeign ambassadors, soldiers, Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Baska, members of the Slovak Anti-Nazi Combatants’ Association, his friends and family members.Col. Fillingham, our English fellow soldierWho of the former members of the CzechoslovakArmoured Brigade fighting alongside the Brits would notremember Col. Fillingham, MC, a unique and unforgettablepersonality at the Czechoslovak Foreign Army LiaisonHeadquarters No. 22, also known as 22LHQ. It was a combinedstaff of British and Czechoslovak officers who oversawthe cooperation between the British and CzechoslovakArmies.Since the moment he was assigned to our Army as atraining and managing officer, Col. Fillingham worked withthat sense of responsibility so characteristic of the Brits, andpromoted a zero tolerance policy against laziness and allnon-military practices that the Czech and Slovak volunteers,who had been defeated in France or come from differentcamps to join the Czechoslovak foreign troops, broughtwith them to his homeland.From the very first moment, he was for us the embodimentof the professional British officer – a Major with astick, boots, a sharp moustache, and a typical British smile.Within the scale of smiles, it was difficult to tell whether itwas ironic or foxy. All members of the Czechoslovak brigadegot to know him during their four years’ service inBritain.When we were exercising hard, he seemed to be everywhere.He never missed a single exercise. He was alwaysinterested in what was going on, and his brief orders andquick decisions were given and made in the military culture.His presence at the top places of 22LHQ led one to believethat something unexpected was bound to happen, whileour reaction was always the same: “Watch out, Fillingham’scoming, I wonder what he is up to.” He would often turn upwith “an enemy” in the staff vehicle, who, in turn, playedthe role of a “paratrooper” wreaking havoc on the brigadestaff, at which Col. Fillingham just smiled, as everyone wascompletely taken aback.He was there for all our soldiers, catered for all ourneeds in wartime Britain, even looking out for vacantEnglish courses and schools to educate us. Let my memorybring one reminiscence of him just as thousands of us sharedthem.During one military exercise, just after we had returnedfrom a company commander’s language course, his omnipresenteyes kept looking at me. Noticing this, I straightenedmyself up and saluted him in the British way, as prescribed,with my right hand moving towards the cap’s visor andthe outside of the hand towards the person being saluted.For a few seconds he turned away only to look back at meagain. I felt like a trespasser and wondered what I mighthave done wrong. When he finished talking to someone, hesuddenly started walking towards me. I stood at attentionand saluted him. He smiled at me and said in English: “Youare saluting in the British way, did you learn it during yourEnglish course?” adding “I saw your assessment report –very good.” He would hold his stick and make a circle on thelawn. I told him that I did it on my own motivation, and thatI liked the British drill procedures, though they were not partof our training. When he walked away, my friends gatheredaround me, asking about what I had done wrong. They didnot want to believe me when I explained the details.Col. Fillingham, who participated in two wars duringhis life, has remained in our hearts and minds as a greatman. He worked dedicatedly for our army, for which he willbe forever remembered in our hearts and in the history ofour resistance movement, because his interest in us wasgenuine and never waning. When the Iron Curtain fell andpulled us apart, he regularly got in touch with our ex-soldiersliving in Britain.Although the way to win the hearts of people – especiallyif they speak a foreign language – may be a long one,the result – a warm-hearted welcome – is at the end of it.So, while remembering the moment when we met him inCholmodeley Park some 68 years ago, let us join in payinga tribute to him: “Colonel Fillingham, farewell”.Czechoslovak Brigade, present arms!Maj. Gen. Ing. Anton PETRAKMajor General Petrak was actively involved in and cooperatedwith the Slovak MOD’s Media CommunicationDivision. This is his last contribution he sent us before passingaway.S L O V A K A R M E D F O R C E S35


OCTOBER 2009

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