Montenegro Needs Younger Army, Report Says


News
14 Oct 14

Montenegro Needs Younger Army, Report Says

Defence Ministry report says Montenegro’s military does not meet NATO standard in terms of the size and age structure of soldiers.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN

Podgorica

Montenegro needs more officers and younger professional soldiers in its armed forces, if they are to meet NATO requirements, a new Defence Ministry report says.

According to the annual report on the state of the army, the peacetime size of the armed forces is 2,000 troops, which is deemed “in line with the needs and capabilities” of the small Adriatic country.

The problem is that only 13.8 per cent of the staff are officers, which is not in accordance with the best practices of developed countries, the report said. The ratio of officers to other staff needs to be around 22 per cent.

The average age of officers is also 39, compared to around 29 in most NATO countries.

“There is an urgent need to resolve the current situation, and find mechanisms that will allow for an ongoing influx of younger staff,” the report said.

With average monthly salaries of about 450 euros, military personnel in Montenegro alao have the lowest wages in the region. Nearly 1,000 troops do not have adequate housing, the report noted.

Defence Minister Milica Pejanovic Djurisic on Monday conceded that the current structure was not perfect. However, the ministry was “working hard” to educate and train new officers, she maintained. As of today, 28 young people are studying for the position of officer, she added.

As a candidate for membership of the Western military alliance since 2009, Montenegro is obliged to organise and structure its armed forces according to set principles.

Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)