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Army of Yugoslavia [VJ] / Army of Serbia and Montenegro

The sucessors of the Yugoslav Peoples Army (YPA) were the Army of Yugoslavia [VJ] and the Army of the Serb Republic [VRS], though in practice the distinction between these formations had declined with time. The Army of Serbia and Montenegro, once used as a political arm of the dictatorship, was subordinated to civilian control within the Ministry of Defense. The country began the process of re-integrating into the European community through its readmission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in November 2000 and its admission to the Council of Europe in April 2003. Membership in NATO's Partnership for Peace and future accession to the European Union are the primary goals of Serbia and Montenegro's foreign policy.

The Army of Serbia includes ground forces with internal and border troops, air defense forces, and Civil Defense. Civilians fit for military service are estimated at about 2,088,595 (2001 est.). The 2002 estimate for military expenditures as a percentage of GDP is 3.6%. The Ministry of Defense has undertaken significant reform initiatives, which if continued, would help move Serbia closer to full Euro-Atlantic integration.

When Boris Tadic assumed the position of state union Defense Minister after the assassination of Zoran Djindjic in March of 2003, he immediately undertook a military house-cleaning. He pledged full cooperation with the ICTY, dismissed Milosevic-era generals and senior officers, disbanded the ''Military Commission on Cooperation with The Hague'' (which, contrary to its name, obstructed cooperation with the Tribunal), and signed an order placing all army and MOD personnel under the obligation to apprehend and/or report any information on fugitive war crimes indictes.

Tadic also implemented a sweeping agenda of defense and security reform, subordinating the military to civilian control for the first time in more than fifty years. Serbia and Montenegro is in the process of adopting new National Defense and Security Strategies, creating a framework to right-size and modernize the military services. These strategies identify NATO not as the enemy but as the objective.

Defense Minister Tadic and Army Chief of Staff Krga visited AF South. In December of 2003, Admiral Johnson returned the courtesy, presiding over the first visit of a U.S. naval vessel to Serbia and Montenegro with a call at the Port of Bar on December 16 and meetings with Defense Ministry and military officials in Belgrade the following day

On 19 June 2003 Serbia and Montenegro formally requested an invitation to join NATO's Partnership for Peace in a letter to then Secretary General Robertson. Belgrade was aware that two outstanding issues needed be resolved before it could be invited into Partnership for Peace: full cooperation with the ICTY and Belgrade's claims against eight NATO allies in the International Court of Justice. If these issues were resolved, the United States would support Serbia and Montenegro's membership in the Partnership for Peace.

On 23 June 2006, Ambassador Michael C. Polt spoke of the cooperation between the U.S military and the Serbian military in the global war on terrorism and in combating the increasing number of threats like narcotics smuggling and human trafficking. Also in 2006, the U.S. Air Forces Europe began sponsoring training for the Serbian Air and Air Defense forces in the United States, dealing with safety, logistics and maintenance, pilot training, and search and rescue. The U.S also opened attendance to the U.S. Air Force academy at Colorado Springs to applicants from Serbia.

The Serbian Government, in August 2006, decided that the Serbian Army would send contingents to the multilateral forces in both Afghanistan and Lebanon. An idea to send Serbian troops to Afghanistan was initially proposed by Prime Minster Zoran Zivkovic in the summer 2003 during his visit to Washington DC. This stems from the fact that integration into NATO is defined as a priority in the National Defense Doctrine, which was voted on by the parliament of then Serbia and Montenegro in 2005.

In September 2006, an agreement signed in Columbus Ohio kicked off a partnership between the state of Ohio and the Republic of Serbia. It heralded the promise of a new State Partnership Program between the Ohio National Guard and Serbia's military forces that, officials said, could lead to improved security and economic growth for the Serbian people and pave the way for Serbia's entrance into NATO and the European Union. Tadic also signed a Status-of-Forces Agreement with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on 7 September 2006 that permits regular military exchanges and exercises between the U.S. and Serbia and opens the door to the partnership with Ohio.

In November 2006, Serbia was invited by the United States to join the NATO Partnership for Peace and accepted this invitation in December of 2006. Since then, Serbia and the U.S. signed two other significant bilateral military agreements: the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA) and an agreement on non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias

Page last modified: 21-09-2013 18:52:11 ZULU