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Ministry of Defense

Before independence, the Soviet armed forces were in charge of defense and with increasing difficulty attempted to force the young men of Latvia to register for the draft. Latvia was able to create a Ministry of Defense only after September 1991, when Latvia was formally recognized as an independent state by the Soviet Union. In November 1991, after the creation of the new Latvian ministry, Talavs Jundzis, a Popular Front of Latvia deputy and chairman of the Latvian Supreme Council's Committee on Defense and Internal Affairs, became the first minister of defense in Latvia since June 1940. The Latvian Ministry of Defense, unlike that of Ukraine and other former Soviet republics, did not receive or appropriate any of the armaments existing on its territory. All armaments were for sale, but only at world market prices. The Latvian armed forces, however, were successful in obtaining their headquarters and several other abandoned buildings.

The Ministry of Defence is the leading state administration office in the field of national defence. Its mission is to elaborate and implement the national defence policy, plan and submit recommendations about the financing required for the enhancement of the defence capabilities of the National Armed Forces and co-operation with the NATO and other international security and defence organisations in the field of national defence, as well as to manage the defence personnel and provide their military training. In accordance with the procedures defined in the legal documents, the Ministry of Defence is to co-operate with other state administration institutions in order to elaborate and implement a unitary national policy.

Based on the goals set by the Declaration on the Work of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Ministry of Defence implements the national defence policy as defined by the Government and the Ministry of Defence. The Ministry of Defence produces the Annual Activity Plan in order to implement the defence tasks set by the Government. Activities covered by the Plan are co-ordinated with the Annual National Programme for NATO Membership, Reform Implementation Plan for NATO Membership and priorities and tasks set by the Minister of Defence, which are implemented by the Ministry of Defence, institutions subordinated to it, and the National Armed Forces. It is the competence of the Ministry of Defence to produce the Military Threat Assessment, National Defence Concept and National Defence Plan.

One of the key tasks of the personnel policy is to improve the MoD structure and increase its administrative capacity. The purpose of the MoD enhancement is to provide the most efficient implementation of the tasks entrusted to the Ministry. Therefore, the Plan and NATO Integration Department was re-organised in 2003 to create two new departments: the Defence Policy and Planning Department and the Integration Department.

The State Agency for Properties of Defence subordinated to the Ministry of Defence was established in 2004 in order to improve the work of the MoD in the field of procurement and provision. Since 2004, the Agency has been managing all the national tenders in the field of defence. The MoD Procurement Department has been transformed into the Provision Policy Department, and elaboration of the procurement policy is now within its competencies.

It is very important to have a qualified staff in order to provide the efficient work of the MoD, especially during the increased work load conditions and during times when a part of the MoD’s civil servants is transferred to work abroad in different NATO structures.

Increase of the MoD’s personnel qualification level is based mainly on academic study programs. The most popular fields of MA or second degree studies of the MoD staff are political science, legal studies, management and economics. Each year MoD staff has an opportunity to study for the MA in Global Security or MA in Defence Resource Management in the UK or USA. Besides, MoD staff attend diverse courses and seminars in both Latvian training centres, e.g., State Administration School, and abroad on regular basis. Part of MoD employees expand their knowledge at the military course for civil servants organised by the BALTDEFCOL.

Employees nominated for the diplomatic service abroad are sent on a special training course, which is organised by the Attaché Department in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Great attention is paid to foreign language teaching, mainly English and French, to the MoD’s personnel. Foreign language training courses are held both in the Ministry and at the language schools abroad (Canada, UK, Slovenia, Luxemburg and Hungary). Good language skills is one of the criteria set to the applicants who want to work at the Ministry. In 2004, the MoD has to teach English to 60 of its civilian employees so that they obtain the Level 3 of NATO STANAG 6001.

The Cabinet of Ministers has approved the new By-law on the Ministry of Defence in April 2003. It defines the functions, tasks, competence and structure of the Ministry of Defence, as well as the competence of its officials. The By-law states that Military Enrolment Centre, Military Intelligence Service, State Agency for Properties of Defence and Latvian War Museum are institutions subordinated to the MoD. The MoD is a state share-holder of the non-profit organisation, state limited liability company “Tevijas Sargs” (“Guard of Motherland”).

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Page last modified: 08-11-2012 17:06:06 ZULU