Šarkić: Montenegrin soldier can stand shoulder to shoulder with his colleague from NATO

#BojanŠarkić #Nato #Soldier

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State Secretary in the Ministry of Defense Bojan Šarkić gave an interview to Pobjeda, in which he stated that by the end of May, a document on Integration Plan for the Army will be presented to NATO. He underlined the participation in international missions and operations, saying that it contributed to improved possibilities of the Army and made a soldier from Montenegro equal with the one from NATO.

“After signing the Accession Protocol at the meeting of foreign affairs ministers of NATO in Brussels in the second half of May, a process of ratification will begin. It is expected that the process will last for several months, keeping in mind that the parliaments of all member state need to ratify the Protocol. Montenegro remains on the road of reforms. As far as the Ministry of Defense is concerned, we will continue developing systems of defense in order to reach defined potentials, which will make our Army able to effectively perform tasks on national plan, or ones that come as an obligation with NATO membership. They will be able to contribute to the international peace through their participation in international operations lead by NATO, UN and EU. The Integration Plan is ready, and it will be officially presented to NATO in the end of May”, said Šarkić.

He explained the role of Montenegro at the NATO Summit that will be held on July 8th and 9th in Warsaw.

“After signing the Accession Protocol, Montenegro will have a status of the ‘invited’ and it will attend all the meetings of the Alliance. That means that Montenegro will be an observer in Warsaw, without a right to participate in decision making”, Šarkić said.

Montenegro is celebrating a decade of independency this year. Šarkić underscored key results and challenges in the defense area.

“As a key result I would point out the complete reform of Montenegro’s Army. Obligatory military service has been cancelled, and professional army has been introduced. Structure and concept of the Army changed as well. Through introducing modern democratic principles, the Army is under full civil control and democratic supervision. In the moment of regaining independency, there were 6 000 soldiers on Montenegro’s territory. This number decreased to 1 950 over ten years. By shifting from brigade to battalion organization, a more efficient structure in the Army has been accomplished, adjusted to a wide range of safety challenges and standards of modern armies”, Šarkić said.

Through the process of European integration, and accepting NATO standards, Army of Montenegro has achieved a high level of interoperability with NATO, which enables the accomplishment of its missions: Montenegro’s defense maintains an active cooperation with allies and partners and it contributes to peacekeeping in the region and the world, also assisting civil institutions in the crisis situations.

“Great effort has been made to modernize Army of Montenegro. A Navy Operative Center has been built, which improves the protection and supervision of the coast. At the same time, reconstruction of Air Operative Center is at its final stage, which will improve continuous monitoring of the situation in the air space of Montenegro. There is a plan to get two medium multipurpose helicopters and a modern radar for air observations. In the process of modernization, a significant effort was made with the land forces. Two infantries were sent to participate in NATO operations. One of them has reached expected standards, while the other is well on its way to achieve interoperability. It is important to note that all the units of the Army have been improved with modern artillery, military equipment and logistical support”, said Šarkić.

According to him, one of the greatest risks for safety in Montenegro is the surplus of killing tools in Army’s storages. Today this number is significantly lower than in 2006.

“Total surplus of killing tools was at 11 000 tons at the beginning of integration process, and today this number is 2 112 tons”, Šarkić said.

He explained what is the Army like after many reforms.

“Today’s risks are international terrorism, cyber danger, climate change, natural disasters, social issues such as migration, international organized crime etc, to be a good soldier means much more than it used to. Soldier of Montenegro’s Army today must speak English language, be well versed with modern equipment and artillery, go to many specialization courses and participate in international mission and operations”, Šarkić said.

He underlined that international cooperation and participation in international operations enables constant education and experience exchange with fellows from other countries.

“Participation in international missions and operations contributes greatly to Army’s improvement, and it made a soldier from Montenegro equally efficient as one from NATO. Soldiers of Montenegro’s Army are currently placed with their colleagues from NATO in Afghanistan, Liberia, Somalia, Mali, contributing to stabilization and safety of these states and region at large”, Šarkić concluded.

Source: Cafe Del Montenegro