Slovak Republic - Ground Forces
Land forces consist of two mechanized infantry brigades, one with two mechanized battalions (BMP-1), a tank battalion (T-72), and a combined artillery battalion. The other brigade has three mechanized battalions (BMP-2). Each maneuver brigade is or is planned to be task organized with combat support units, such as an artillery battalion, an engineer battalion, a logistics support battalion, and an air defense battery. Other land forces include a separate NBC battalion, engineer battalion, ISTAR company, signal battalion, and command support battalion.
The Ground Forces Headquarters was established by the Act of the National Council of the Slovak Republic No. 3/1993 Coll. on the Establishment of the Army of the Slovak Republic as amended. The Ground Forces Headquarters is located in Trencín.
At the head of the Ground Forces Headquarters there is a Commander of the SR AF Ground Forces. The SR Minister of Defence appoints and dismissed the Commander of the SR AF Ground Forces on the proposal of the Chief of the SR AF General Staff. He is subordinated to the Chief of the SR AF General Staff. The Commander of the SR AF Ground Forces responds for combat and mobilisation readiness and building up of the ground forces, for their modernisation and preparation for defence of the state sovereignty and integrity of the Slovak Republic in accordance with the Acts of the National Council of the Slovak Republic and with military and political documents of the State. The Deputy Commander of the SR AF Ground Forces deputises for the Commander of the SR AF Ground Forces in full extent of his rights and duties.
The SR AF Ground Forces are a main element of the Armed Forces. Their task is:
- To guarantee defence of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Slovak Republic,
- To guarantee or participate in ensuring the protection and defence of political and economic centres, areas and facilities during military and non- military threats to the State,
- To fulfil tasks connected with protection of population,
- To ensure disaster relief after extraordinary events,
- To ensure measures within search and rescue,
- To ensure operational capabilities in peace and humanitarian missions outside the SR territory.
The year 2005 saw extensive restructuring taking place in the largest component of the Slovak Armed Forces – the Ground Forces. On the last day of September 2005, the Bardejov-based reconnaissance battalion and the Štúrovo-based electronic warfare battalion officially terminated their activities. Both garrisons ceased their operation within the Ground Forces. On October 1, 2005, the Ground Forces saw the newly formed ISTAR company starting its operation. The 5th Special Purpose Regiment in Žilina came under the Ground Forces command. To some extent, this unit was obliged to assumesome tasks that used to be executed by the Bardejov-based reconnaissance battalion and by the Štúrovo-based electronic warfare battalion. Though not entirely, as some of the specialised activities were covered by the ISTAR company. Up to that time, G-2, i.e. Department of Land Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare, has had no experience in this area.
Some experts, due to their concerns over the changing social security legislation, considered the possible implications for their families and decided to quit. There were similar developments during the reorganisation scheme of the Jelšava-based artillery brigade and the subsequent establishment of the joint self-propelled artillery unit based in Michalovce, and a rocket launcher unit in Rožnava. On the other hand, the Ground Forces succeeded in meeting their target: the Ground Forces reduced the number of garrisons and saved financial costs that were necessary for maintaining the facilities. Furthermore, the Ground Forces better utilised the existing capacities of other garrisons. They are no longer half empty as they used to be in the past. At the same time, the Ground Forces managed to transform the engineer battalion in the Michalovce garrison into a company.
The first unit of the Slovak Armed Forces tobe capable of functioning in international operations under NATO command outside the borders of Slovakia is the Martin-based Immediate Reaction Battalion. The Martin-based battalion was obliged to demonstrate its ability to successfully participate in international task forces under NATO command. A military exercise, which was part of the affirmation process, took place in the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany in December 2005. It showed that the battalion was ready to fulfil its tasks during the planning phase and to conduct real operations. At the end of September 2005, the Ground Forces Command presented NATO with positive proof that both the battalion and the command component conformed to the requirements.
The 2006 Comprehensive Defense Assessment summed up the performance of obligations towards NATO as follows: “In view of its quality and timeliness, the performance of Force Goals is negatively infl uenced by post vacancies, poor English language skills, training restrictions and its quality, and inadequate material and equipment support." The target troop levels and required equipment due by 1 January 2008 had been achieved by redeploying personnel and transferring communication and information equipment from other units, whose operational readiness was thus lowered.
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