Hungarian Security Policy
The Hungarian government aims to make their military one of the “most decisive” armies in the region, István Simicskó, minister of Defense, said 15 February 2017. The minister said that the potential of the national economy ensured opportunities “unprecedented in the past 25 years” to develop the armed forces. He said his ministry had elaborated medium and long-term strategies to enable the army to give appropriate responses to “challenges of the present and the future”. Under that program, dubbed Zrínyi 2026, the government will change soldiers’ personal equipment in terms of clothing and weapons, as well as modernize the Air Force.
Defence Minister István Simicskó announced 22 December 2016 that the new National Security Strategy had been completed, and was now before the Government. Once the Government has discussed it, they would like to present it to a five-party consultation, similar to other issues, he added. The Minister reiterated: the security environment has changed in recent years, the number of unstable countries is on the rise, and the threat of terrorism has significantly increased.
The 2012 National Military Strategy is one of the important tools of the modernization of the Hungarian Defence Forces; it provides mid- and long-term guidance for the Hungarian Defence Forces, determining their role in defending Hungary and asserting her interests. For that purpose the Strategy sets the main principles of using and maintaining and gives directions for developing the armed force. It also determines the purposes and means by which the Hungarian Defence Forces shall become a modern force with flexibly and efficiently applicable capabilities and a balanced structure.
In 1989, after forty years under a communist political system, the Hungarian Republic was re-established and the country started a long journey tocreate a western style political, economic and military system. Hungary at first gained membership in NATO's Partnership for Peace Program, then joined NATO in 1999, and finally five years later became a member of theEuropean Union.
The law determines the conditions under which a Hungarian unit can be deployed abroad. If Hungary receives a NATO (Article 5) or UN request, the government can send troops anywhere for six months without approval of the parliament. After six months the government has to ask the parliament to extend the time in accordance with the request of the international organization. The second possible way is to send troopsat the request of an allied country, but in this caseo nly with the approval of the entire parliament.
The Hungarian Defence Forces protect Hungary, ensure the sovereignty of the airspace of the Republic of Hungary, and participate in restoration after natural disasters and emergencies. In addition to that, they are ready and have the means to efficiently and productively participate in international peace establishing, peacekeeping, and humanitarian operations.
The stability of the Balkans continues to be in a fundamental national interest. It is also reflected by the fact that two-thirds of the Hungarian troops participating in peacekeeping are serving in the West Balkans. And despite the fact that the number of international forces has decreased, the Hungarian commitment has not changed.
The Afghanistan commitment was the Hungarian Defence Forces' most complex, most significant, and most challenging crisis management task. In addition to the Provincial Reconstruction Team, the Hungarians successfully operated the Kabul international airport as the leading nation between October 2008 and March 2009. In 2009, in cooperation with the military of the United States of America, they set up an Operational Mentor and Liaison Team (OMLT).
The annual assessment and tasking meeting of the Hungarian Defence Forces was held on Tuesday 11 February 2010 in Szolnok. At the event Defence Minister Dr. Imre Szekeres evaluated the tasks carried out in the last four years. The defence minister said the last period was about renewal. Since 2006, fundamental changes have taken place in the Hungarian Defence Forces, as a result of which the old-fashioned mass army disappeared, and an all-volunteer, professional military that is capable of responding to the challenges of the 21st century has stepped into its place. The last four years went by in the spirit of national consensus - emphasized the defence minister, adding: during the entire term, parliamentary parties have unanimously supported the bills proposed to Parliament. The other key to renewal was that the commitments of the country were realistic and viable, and they did not exceed our load-bearing capacity.
With the elaboration and approval of the National Military Strategy, the government has filled a more than a decade-old gap. Imre Szekeres said "I consider the creation and adoption of the National Military Strategy one of the most important achievements of the term. The birth of the strategy is an extraordinary event in the life of the Hungarian Defence Forces, for Hungary has not had a modern military strategy since the change of the regime. This fundamental document specifies the military tasks of the Republic of Hungary and the main directions of the development of the Hungarian Defence Forces in the long run."
The organizational changes fundamentally changed the military. Transformation was a priority because only a modern military organized on a voluntary basis is worth developing, and because only such an army is capable of carrying out its basic tasks professionally. The changes began in the summer of 2006 with the transformation of the Ministry of Defence, the organization of which has become more transparent and less complicated. Following that, the establishment of the HDF Joint Forces Command began, which was completed in six months. During the next three years it had been proven that the new integrated medium-level managing body of the defence forces ensured fast decision-making and preparation on the basis of simpler and uniform principles.
The professional all-volunteer military faced much higher requirements, the trainings of the troops were a lot more extensive and they know a lot more. These changes made it possible to radically renew the training and preparation system of the Hungarian Defence Forces, in compliance with the transformed organization and set of requirements. This introduced basic training for each member of the Hungarian Defence Forces. Further task and capability-oriented trainings were gradually built on this knowledge.
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