Spain - Military Personnel
The 2003 Strategic Defense Review noted that “Human resources constitute the key element in Defence. Therefore, the necessary actions must be carried out to achieve asufficient number of highly motivated and prepared personnel. ... ensuring Armed Forces effectiveness requires military personnel with professional qualities compatible with the demands of the missions to be carried out. Quality shall be achieved by an adequate selection process adjusted to the commitments to be developed, with integral and rigorous training and permanent motivation that fosters a willingness to assume the risks inherent to this profession.”
The maximum number of soldiers, sailors and marines is set annually in the Law on the State’s General Budget, taking into account not only available resources but also international conditions and internal sociological variables. The dimensions will be set in accord with the criteria mentioned and determined periodically as approved personnel figures, for officers and for soldiers, sailors and marines. The concept of reserves included in the Law established a procedure for obtaining the necessary numbers to meet the demands of the moment. Specifically, volunteer reserves will be developed in cooperation with other Public Administrations, allowing for greater interconnection between Society and the Armed Forces while providing additional resources in a manner that is gradual and proportional to the demands of a conflict situation.
With Law 17/1999, the Armed Forces Personnel (Regulations) Act (Régimen del Personal de las Fuerzas Armadas), the Spanish government in fact suspended conscription, originally aimed at ending conscription in 2003, but later brought it forward to 2001. Since 2002 the armed forces consist of professional soldiers only. Still, conscription is only suspended. Article 4 paragraph 2 of Law 17/1999 allows for the call-up of all forms of reservists if the needs of the national defence can not be met by professional soldiers only. The call-up of “compulsory reservists” (according to Article 178 possibly all Spanish citizens between 19-25 years), which basically would reintroduce conscription, requires the approval of congress. According to the law, this possibility is not limited to an emergency or war.
With the incorporation of women, old barrier and prejudices were broken down, and at the same time the Armed Forces were enriched and modernized. By 2008 there were more than 16,000 women in the armed forces. In Spain the process of women entering in the armed forces was both rapid and broad ranging, which led to a special incorporation model. This Spanish model is characterized by openness and equality between men and women. Women are present in all corps and scales, and in all destinations, without distinction. Women have the same tasks and responsibilities as their male colleagues, receive the same training, receive the same salaries and are subject to an identical disciplinary regime.
In a little over 20 years Spain's military evolved towards the total professionalisation of military staff, the incorporation of women into military ranks and increasing participation in international missions. Today it can be stated that formal equality is ensured in the Armed Forces.
The professional Armed Forces model will be established with the numbers of professional military soldiers, sailors and marines authorised by current legislation, in accord with defence needs and budgetary possibilities. However, it is important to set a staff reference size that should coincide with the maximum legally authorised number.
The process of personnel integration is the set of activities that develop the general personnel policy and orient it towards the objectives of the organisation while encouraging individual participation and responsibility. The full professionalisation process along with the need to improve efficiency will significantly transform the relations between organisation and individuals, closing a gap between the two, which may have existed at some point. It will be necessary for individuals to internalise the organisation’s objectives in order to meet them and in consequence, the organisation must promote measures that contribute to this.
After the 2003 Strategic Defense Review, the resource planning process was to be carried out with special emphasis on: redefining the rate of cadre in relation to neighbouring countries; empowering the category of non-career officers1 for greater flexibility in determining and adjusting staff; having technically prepared civil personnel available to respond to the needs of the Armed Forces, which requires training activities to incorporate and maintain them in adequate numbers; adopting and developing the concept of reserves, both in their quality and availability in order to permit a supplementary influx of human resources in an agile, constant and timely fashion.
The military plans for a greater link between the Armed Forces and certain reserve elements, especially volunteer reservists. Through involvement in exercises and other activities, they could reach greater integration in the Armed Forces and greater readiness for use in a short time frame. A reserve and mobilisation system would allow progressive and selective filling of ranks for the Services or generation of forces if necessary to meet security and defence needs.
Even in the highly technical and automated Armed Forces of the future, the key and determining factor will still be the quality of its human resources. In this regard the final objective of the personnel policy is not only to meet the numerical needs of the Services, but most of all to recruit and retain quality personnel who will receive regular training.
This Armed Forces model represents a profound change from the prior “mixed” model, and gives greater attention to occupational aspects of the military service record. This necessary factor should not hinder the relationship between the military institution and its members, through personal adherence to its characteristic values: primarily, serving Spain within the framework established by the Constitution and the Law.
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