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Serbia - Military Personnel

Serbia, seemingly buoyed by the prospect of arms shipments from Russia and Belarus, has eyed bringing back compulsory military service. The proposal, which came from the Serbian Defense Ministry, has been shelved for the time being by Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic as too expensive. "I was almost glad that we are a poor country and don't have the money to pay for bringing back the draft," journalist Veselin Simonovic wrote in Blic 03 February 2017.

Serbia abolished conscription on 01 January 2011. Conscription was enshrined in Article 57 of the 2003 Constitution and was further regulated by the 1993 Defense Law. The length of military service is 9 months. All men between the ages of 18 and 35 were liable for military service. In practice men were seldom called up after the age of 27. Reservist obligations applied up to the age of 60. Since 2000, reservists were in practice seldom called up for reservist duties.

Professional members of the Serbian Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Serbia are professional military personnel and civilians serving in the Serbian Armed Forces. Professional military personnel are officers, non-commissioned officers and professional soldiers. Civilians are military servants and military appointees.

As of 2010, of the total number of professional members of MoD and SAF, 19.23% are officers, 22.78% are non-commissioned officers, 22.98% are contract soldiers and 35.03% are civilians. In the structure of the Serbian Armed Forces, the staff categories are as follows: officers 18.81%, non-commissioned officers 29.43%, professional soldiers 34.19% and civilians 17.56%, which is approximate to the general structure of personnel of the Serbian Armed Forces for 2010, defined in the Strategic Defense Review (15% officers, 25% non-commissioned officers, 45% soldiers and 15% civilians). The structure of the ranking officers in the defense system is as follows: second lieutenants 6.76%, 15.4% of lieutenants, 22.81% of captains, 23.99% of majors, 21.87% of lieutenant colonels, 8.55% of colonels and 0.59% of generals. It is important to emphasize that the percentage of junior officers (second lieutenant - captain) was raised to 44.97%, which is an increase of 5.97% compared to 2007.

Reserve service is regulated by the Law on Conscription, Labour and Material Obligations, which was adopted in 2009. Reserve units include: reserve component of the Serbian Armed Forces; reserve component of civil defense and other defense forces; non-assigned conscripts. Reserve forces of the Serbian Armed Forces are divided into active reserve and passive reserve.

Active reserve is a trained reserve force of the Serbian Armed Forces, included to man the units of the Serbian Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defense, in order to carry out tasks in the certain period of time. A member of active reserve may be a conscript younger than 60, who meets general and specific requirements set by the competition, related to military qualifications, medical psychological and physical ability to be placed in a certain position for which the contract is signed. Members of active reserve man commands, units and institutions of the Serbian Armed Forces, which are designated as having a higher degree of operational and functional capability.

Passive reserve include members of the reserve force, who have wartime posting in the commands, units and institutions in the Serbian Armed Forces, the Ministry of Defense, government agencies, civil defense and other defense forces. Members of passive reserve are generally deployed on a geographic basis and are engaged to perform tasks of assisting population and saving material goods due to natural disasters and other accidents.

Bearing in mind the prior importance of human resources for defense, the Ministry of Defense has been made continuous efforts to develop such human resources management system that enables efficient selection of personnel, monitoring and career development, proper structure per age and ranks, developing of human resources structure in accordance with projected missions and tasks and training of personnel to continue their career outside the Armed Forces.

Also, measures are taken to make the work in the military sector attractive to qualified personnel, primarily through legislative reform, education system and personnel training, significant improvement of the living standards of the members of the Armed Forces, objective evaluation of work results and career development in line with that. After the Law on Defense and the Law on Serbian Armed Forces were adopted and entered into force the conditions have been created for improving the functioning of the defense system as a whole, as well as the sub-system of human resources management. The adoption of a number of decrees, regulations and decisions, improved the financial status and standard of employees, enabling greater interest in working in the MoD and the Serbian Armed Forces.

By undertaking a series of steps to reduce the number of persons in the defense system and to achieve the required structure of personnel in accordance with needs, a relatively favourable environment has been created based on which medium and long-term planning of human resources can begin, based on modern scientific principles.

The basic vision of human resources management in the defense system is the creation and implementation of sustainable policies, based on realistic resources and tailored to the needs of the defense system. Implementation of such policies will provide meeting the needs of the defense system for qualified personnel, who by the accomplishment of the tasks within the defense system also accomplish their personal goals. In other words, implementation of the principle the right man at the right place can be achieved not only by proper selection, management and continuous improvement of personnel, but also by appropriate support to each employee in the defense system.

Human resources management system that currently developed in the MoD and SAF is aimed at achieving the objectives of equal opportunities, predictable career, providing support to families of professional members in their daily lives and preparation of professional members of the MoD and SAF for civilian life, after the termination of professional service. Ministry of Defense has developed Personnel Management Program that defines long-term development trends in the area of human resources. In accordance with orientation to professionalism, this program gives the frames of predictable career as a function of quality personnel management. Ratings for all employees in the defense system according to accepted Criteria for Professional Soldiers Ranking were carried out, and provided a clear definition and delineation of promising from non-promising personnel.




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