Defence Ministry: Long-term Negligence of Defence Behind NATO's Criticism

10. augusta 2018 20:30
Bratislava, August 10 (TASR) - NATO's criticism directed towards the Slovak Armed Forces is nothing new for the Defence Ministry, stated ministry's spokesperson Danka Capakova on Friday in response to the NATO summarising evaluation report that was published on Facebook by Martin Dubeci of the non-parliamentary Progressive Slovakia (PS) party. Capakova added that the long-term shortage of funding as well as neglecting the defence area as such are mainly behind the poor state of the Slovak Armed Forces. The ministry refused to comment on the authenticity of the published document, as it "respects the regulations of the National Security Authority and NATO", according to which a summarising evaluation report can be made available to certain people, but not to the general public. NATO in the report stated that the building of a heavy infantry brigade, which was supposed to be the main priority of the Slovak Armed Forces, has been too slow and that the number of soldiers and military doctors is insufficient. According to Capakova, the Defence Ministry management has been approaching towards the modernisation process systematically in line with the Long-term Defence Development Plan with an emphasis on the construction and development of the Slovak Armed Forces until 2030, approved by the Security Council and the Government. The fact that the commitment to build a medium-sized infantry brigade has been shifted since 2004 is the result of the previous inconsistent modernisation process, stated the spokesperson. Capakova also said that when compared to the previous reports, NATO has evaluated the defensive plans more positively over the last two years. "The defence experts have mainly highlighted the ambition to meet the commitment of spending 1.6 percent of gross domestic product on defence in 2020 and 2 percent in 2024 as well as Slovakia's flexibility in the process of elaborating its own evaluation report," she said. tz
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