“There are always confrontations in the context of reforms. We see this resistance from our enemies who do not want the Ukrainian army to be prospective and strong. The robust armed forces guarantee the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The Ukrainian army has changed,” General of the Army of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak, Minister of Defence of Ukraine, stressed.
We base our reforms on the NATO standards
I have had a lot of meetings in the NATO HQ. We discussed a lot of issues. We have elaborated absolutely new documents of defence planning over the past year. We are under completion of the elaboration of the Strategic Defence Bulletin which will become the Roadmap of reforms of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. We have developed these documents along with the NATO Liaison Office to Ukraine, scientists and NATO advisors working at the Ministry of Defence and General Staff. I have discussed with Alliance senior officials our reforms of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The Alliance supported practically all our plans. Surely, every person has his/her own opinion. I think we do the right thing. We have chosen the path and we follow it to change the Armed Forces. We’ll realize everything we have planned”.
Concerning responsibilities of the Ministry of Defence and General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
The reform is aimed at forming the system of management of the Armed Forces to be formed with new responsibilities and functions, as well as powers and reporting. This system and principles are completely new. This is a democratic civil control over the Armed Forces of Ukraine and avoiding the duplication of the functions of the Ministry of Defence and General Staff. It also includes the responsibilities on formation of defence policy and practical realization of reforms. I delegate a lot of powers to my deputies and heads of departments increasing their responsibility for decision taking.
Currently, 770 persons work in the Ministry of Defence and 300 persons support their work. 1,000 persons work here and only one person – the Minister of Defence – takes decision. Surely, the effectiveness of this system is low. It is necessary to change it. It will enable to take decisions promptly. We should separate the functions on enlistment, logistical support and training of the personnel. We must clearly understand the tasks of the Ministry of Defence and General Staff.
We need to change the system of defence planning and resource management. We base these reforms on the NATO standards, too.
This year the Special Forces will gain their combat capabilities
Our main units of the Armed Forces will gain combat capabilities, and we will introduce the joint troops training under the NATO standards. For example, we increase the number of joint exercises with the NATO nations, including the instructors training. This year the Special Forces will gain their combat capabilities.We’re going to optimize the nomenclature of armament and military equipment and we carry out our procurements according to the NATO standards. Our defence industry uses these standards, too.
It is very important to form a new logistic system. We base it on the logistics doctrines used in the Alliance. I met with the representatives of companies, including the U.S. companies, which could provide us a practical assistance in implementation of these approaches within the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Concerning professionalization of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
I mean new training system, new approaches such as formation of modern system of personnel management and staff concept. I took decision to reduce the strength of the Ministry of Defence Administration by 200 persons. We invite those who have experience and wish to join the Ministry of Defence. We’ll hire new people.
Concerning the reforms of military education and science
We also plan to reform the military education and science. We’ll announce changes in our National Defence University. We’ll base these changes on the experience gained in the east of Ukraine and experience of training of our partners.
According to the Roadmap, the Ministry of Defence will undergo reforms by the end of 2018, the Armed Forces – by the end of 2020
We have a plan. We plan to improve our normative legal base for defence reform and start an active phase of reforms of the Ministry of Defence this year. We’ll reorganize a quarter of structural units within the Ministry of Defence and General of Staff. We will reinforce Air Force, Special Forces, and Navy.
By the end of 2017, we’ll reorganize 80% of the Ministry of Defence, all units and tasks. We’ll reorganize tasks, divisions, structure, and personnel. We need to implement comprehensive changes. We were wrong in the beginning when we started the reform from the bottom: when we moved to a certain command authority we stopped. We recognize our mistakes; we understand them and we correct them. By the end of 2017, we’ll change the structural units and reorganize them by 40%. The Joint Operations Staff will have its combat capabilities by the end of 2017. We also plan to finish the reforms of the arms of the Armed Forces of Ukraine by the end of 2017.
In 2018, we would like to complete the reform of the Ministry of Defence; we would like to reorganize 90% of the structural units of the General Staff.
In 2019, we will complete the reforms of the General Staff and establish the command and control system of the Armed Forces of Ukraine according to the NATO standards, reform the military authorities and military units. By the end of 2020, we’ll revise the system in order to evaluate it.
At the end we would like to see the realization of the main NATO principle in our Ministry of Defence, as well as the implementation of the civil control over the Armed Forces of Ukraine. I mean the Minister of Defence will be a civil person, the title of the state secretary will be introduced; we’ll enhance the normative legal base of military security and defence of the state. We’re going to achieve a sharp separation of functions and tasks among all military authorities.
We consider the NATO principles and approaches. In the General Staff we will implement the structure harmonized with the NATO standards.
We need to form an efficient logistics system and we’ll do it. We need to revise the system of training and command, approaches, and abandon extrinsic functions.
The reform of the army is very expensive and important. It is very difficult to reform the army without reforming the defence industry and economy. It restricts possibilities. Everything depends on our economy which will move the defence industry forward.
We tailored the program of reforms and development of medical support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. It is positively praised by the NATO.