Army of Montenegro celebrates its first decade: Military integration in NATO next step

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Ministry of Defense and Army of Montenegro have been completely transformed, and the best testament to successful reform work is an invitation to NATO Montenegro received last year. Next period will be marked by NATO integration, further improvements and reforms as well as modernization, said Minister of Defense Milica Pejanović-Đurišić and Army Chief Admiral Dragan Samardžić.

Celebration of the first decade of Army of Montenegro and Day of Army was marked on Friday. Minister Pejanović-Đurišić said for Pobjeda that the defense sector has gone through an in depth change during the past ten years.

The number of soldiers decreased from 6.000 to 1.950, obligatory military service was canceled and professional army introduced. Key accomplishment was modernization and construction of Navy operational center, founding of Aircraft operational center, participation in international missions and operations and education on international military academies, as well as decrease of surplus artillery in military storages from 11.000 tonnes to 2.112 tonnes.

Ministry of Defense said that invitation to NATO is a true testament to goals accomplished and tasks defined in strategic documents, that “represented a basis for institutional foundation of modern system of defense”.

“During the demanding process of interior transformation, defense demonstrated dedication and determination, as well as professionalism and competence”, Pejanović-Đurišić said.

She said that this jubilee year makes „the gratification for results accomplished a further motivation for efficient and timely implementation of defense policies, plans and programs”.

“In this way we can improve institutional mechanisms of integration, and prosperity and safety of our citizens, as well as democratization of Montenegrin society in general”, Pejanović-Đurišić said.

Admiral Dragan Samardžić said that after ten years, the Army has 20% of soldiers who have had international experience, a structure and numbers that fit Montenegro’s needs. Process of modernization of equipment has already gone far.

“In the Army we have land units whose development and evaluation was implemented in compliance with NATO standards. The Navy has a modern system of supervision of Montenegrin waters. Project of air supervision is currently being implemented. Aircraft operational center has started intelligence exchange with NATO”, Admiral Samardžić said for Pobjeda.

Although the Army decreased their numbers over the past decade, it improved its capabilities and interconnectedness with partners and allies.

“We have a clear vision and precise plans of how to modernize the Army and it improve its capacities in order to create a sustainable system that will be a part of collective system of safety, ready to respond to any and all safety risks and challenges”, Samardžić said.

Infantry troops met all NATO criteria

Infantry troops underwent important reforms as well. Two troops were engaged in NATO missions. One troop met all NATO criteria, while the other is on its way.

Graduating from brigade to battalion organization provided, as pointed out, more efficient structure units of the Army, adapting a wide range of security challenges and standards of modern armies.

Eight women officers in the Army of Montenegro

Since 2006, education on international military academies was completed by 65 individuals, 8 women officers and 57 men officers. Currently in academies in Greece, Italy, Macedonia and US there are 31 cadets, 24 male and 7 female. After graduation, they will have a secured job in the Army, and a chance to continue their education in training centers, with the possibility of international employment, Ministry of Defense stated.

Since regaining independence, Montenegro did not have any women in the Army. Today there are 8 female officers and 9 cadets, one of them in prestigious West Point academy in the US.

Shoulder to shoulder with NATO troops

In 2009, the Parliament of Montenegro has decided to start a process of international participation in missions and operations.

So far, 364 officers of the Army of Montenegro have taken part in such missions, which is of great significance when it comes to development of professional efficiency in the Army and contribution to international peace and stability. Keeping in mind international terrorism, climate changes, natural catastrophes, migrations, international organized crime, cyber dangers, Ministry of Defense said that education for soldiers is much wider than it used to be.

Soldier of the Army of Montenegro today must speak English language, have modern equipment and artillery, go to many specialist courses and take part in international missions. Ministry of Defense said that participation in such mission has brought about a chance for Montenegrin soldiers to stand shoulder to shoulder with their colleagues in NATO. Army of Montenegro, along with other NATO members, is currently contributing in peace and stability in Afghanistan, Liberia, Somalia and Mali.

Source: Cafe Del Montenegro