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Land Forces Command

A transition to a professional force of 12,000 to 15,000 volunteers was planned at first, but when fighting erupted in 1991 between supporters of the central government in Chisinau and supporters of separatist regions, males between eighteen and forty years of age were mobilized, and the size of Moldova's military was temporarily expanded to meet the demands of the Transnistrian conflict. In early 1995, the armed forces totaled some 11,000 volunteers, and there were plans to gradually create a professional army, similar to that of the United States.

At the beginning of 1994, the Moldovan army (under the Ministry of Defense) consisted of 9,800 men organized into three motor rifle brigades, one artillery brigade, and one reconnaissance/assault battalion. Its equipment consisted of fifty-six air defense missile complexes; seventy-seven armored personnel carriers and sixty-seven "look-alikes;" eighteen 122mm and fifty-three 152mm towed artillery units; nine 120mm combined guns/mortars; seventy AT-4 Spigot, nineteen AT-5 Spandral, and twenty-seven AT-6 Spiral antitank guided weapons; a 73mm SPG-9 recoilless launcher, forty-five MT-12 100mm anti-tank guns; and thirty ZU-23 23mm and twelve S-60 57mm air defense guns. Moldova received some arms from former Soviet stocks maintained on the territory of the republic as well as undetermined quantities of arms from Romania, particularly at the height of the fighting with Transnistria.

By 2007 the situation in the National Army of the Republic of Moldova can be assessed as alarming. The disregard (intentional, most of the times) of the problems of the country's defence system led to its technical and human decay and ruination. These negative trends are in particular obvious in relation to the military personnel. Despite some unsystematic measures to stop the exodus of qualified personnel from the army, the losses are huge. The officer and sergeant personnel of the National Army represented around 2,000-2,200 persons, and annually up to 150-200 persons leave, the highest number of resignations being recorded during the last years. The National Army is facing thus a real risk of remaining without inferior and medium level officers due to the fact that the "Alexandru cel Bun" Military Institute, the only military education institution in the country, educates annually around 70 officers. Statistics show that out of each graduation class slightly above half of the officers still remain in the military service after a year or two. Employment of personnel who graduated civil education institutions (around 20-30 persons annually) does not solve the problem, given that most of them are employed in the logistics units.

In compliance with the Military Reform Concept, in May 2004, the Supreme Security Council approved the Concept of restructuring and modernising the National Army until 2014. This document represented the conceptual basis for the development and implementation of state programmes and plans in the defence area. To elaborate this document, the National Army Action Plan for Building and Development for 2005- 2008 (NAAPBD) was drafted as part of the SAPBD. Both documents represent the legal basis for initiating, drafting and accomplishing programs of restructuring, modernising and improving the National Army, which should be implemented in the final stage of the military reform. Implementation of these programmes will ensure the achievement of goals (levels, standards, capabilities) of general and domain actions of the armed forces, as well as an integrated management of resources in relation to the pursued goals.

The army's restructuring and modernisation is based on three main elements: forces restructuring, professionalizing forces and procurement of arsenal and military equipment. In this respect, attention should be paid to the necessity of ensuring adequate social protection of personnel, efficient management of excessive equipment, arsenal and infrastructure etc.

As of 2007, in the framework of reform, the restructuring of the Ministry of Defence and the Supreme Command of the National Army is being finalised, and the structure of the Peacekeeping Battalion 22 is completely compatible with that in NATO armies. In this context, the Republic of Moldova has to adapt the National Army's structure taking into account the mission and tasks provided by the National Military Strategy, as well as the SDR results.

NAAPBD envisages restructuring the National Army from the existing five major units into two (one of which shall be in reserve) and reorganising the other into military units (institutions). Two commandments have been created: Rapid Reaction Forces Commandment (having in subordination the Special Destination Battalion and the Peacekeeping Battalion) and Air Forces Commandment. Now they have to achieve a proper level of interoperability and a superior degree of efficiency.

In the National Army reform framework, a special attention has to be paid to personnel management. In this respect, the Law on the status of military should be adopted and the Guidelines of Military Career approved, as well as a new system of management of military career should be put in place. Such a system, fully compatible with the Euro-Atlantic standards, shall be adapted to current and prospective needs of the National Army, and ensure transparency, equal opportunities and fairness in advancement of officers and sergeants in the military hierarchy by means of two essential instruments: the Guidelines of Military Career and the evaluation commissions. This is a high priority action, since human resources of the National Army are eroded.




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