Slovak Armed Forces
To provide for the defence of the newly constituted Slovak Republic in 1993, the Army of the Slovak Republic (renamed the Slovak Armed Forces in 2002) was established as an attribute of sovereignty and independence. Moreover, the Army was to play an important role in UN peace-keeping missions, military operations, and international organisations.
The Constitution of the Slovak Republic states that the Slovak President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Slovak Armed Forces, while command and control is exercised in practice by the General Staff of the Slovak Armed Forces, which provides technical and specialistsupport, expertise, and guidance. The General Staff is headed by the Chief of the General Staff of the Slovak Armed Forces (Chief of Defence).
Exposed to the global financial and economic crisis, the Slovak Armed Forces underwent a major reor-ganisation as of 01 July 2009. In accordance with a military strategic development document known as Model 2020, the reform process intended to make the Armed Forces more economically viable and to retainhighly qualified personnel.
The reorganisation of the General Staff of the Slovak Armed Forces brought a reduction in the number of individual staffs, from eight down to three. The new structure of the General Staff now comprisesthe following staffs headed by a Major General: Operations Staff, Operations Support Staff, and Strategic Planning and Capability Development Staff. Apart from the General Staff with its subsidiary organisational elements, the structure of the ArmedForces in the target configuration includes three Services with their HQs: HQ Land Forces, HQ Air Force, and HQ Training and Support Forces. The reorganisation of the Slovak Armed Forces created suitable conditions for improving the entire system, based on balanced tasks, resources andstructures.
The changes introduced as part of the Slovak Armed Forces' optimisation scheme allow higher quality performance in the execution of defense and security tasks as well as sustained participation in international crisis response operations. According to the scheme, the number of personnel in the Slovak Armed Forces is not to exceed 14,000 troops. What is significant, extraordinary attention is being paid to retaining highly skilled, experienced, and competent military personnel withgood prospects.
The Slovak Armed Forces aspire to be flexible, modern, ready to respond promptly to any threats, and deployable in multinational and expeditionary operations. As of 2009, Slovak professional soldiers were in service with NATO under KFOR and ISAF andwith the EU as part of the ALTHEA operation. They also served with INFICYP and with the four observation mission. Slovakia is actively involved in other operations and missions; at the end of 2008 and during the first half of 2009 over 600 members of the Slovak Armed Forces were serving abroad in different parts of the world.
Over the first 15 years of the independent Slovak Republic’s existence, more than 11,000 troops participated in international crisis response operations. Unfortunately, 54 servicemen and women never came back home. On 19 January 2006, the Slovak Armed Forces experienced their greatest tragedy. Returning home from KFOR, a military transport aircraft went down at the Hungarian village of Hejce. A total of 42 personnel died in the accident.
As of 2009 the Armed Forces had certified two mechanised battalions, a national support element, an Mi-17 helicopterflight, an engineer platoon, and other smaller units, yetstill more troops are undergoing training. Furthermore, Slovak the Armed Forces had pledged to contribute, in 2009, 24 personnel to the NATO Response Force (NRF-13) and to ensure a contribution to the Czecho-Slovak EU BG – up to 422 personnel in the second half of 2009.
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