Report to the President of the Republic about the State in the Serbian Armed Forces

Friday, 1.12.2017 | News

Today, the President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić received reports from the minister of defence and Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces about the state in the SAF.

Today, the President of the Republic of Serbia and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces, Aleksandar Vučić, received reports from the minister of defence and Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces about the state in the Serbian Armed Forces, and on that occasion he was informed about the plans for the procurement and armament to be provided for the Serbian Armed forces, its full manning and development.

In the presence of Minister of Defence Aleksandar Vulin and Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces General Ljubiša Diković, President Vučić addressing the gathered reporters after the meeting, pointed out that at that rather important meeting as he called it, all the problems with which the Serbian Armed Forces were faced had been reconsidered, and that many solutions were passed, as well as proposals for the measures to get out of the crisis in certain areas.

- We established that the armed forces are ready to discharge their tasks, but it has to be incomparably better equipped, even stronger, because if you wish to preserve the military neutrality, then you have to rely on your own powers and to be confident that you will be able to protect your country – President Vučić stated.

- We are working on it, and the improvements are already visible and 10% of increase in salaries of the men is not enough, but it is better than it used to be. We will work on making it even better, we have agreed with the Government of Serbia that before the end of the year, meaning in next two weeks, all professional members of the Serbian Armed Forces, all the people employed in security sector, which means armed forces, police and Security Information Agency will receive a bonus in the amount of 10 thousand dinars, and we will year after year increase the salaries of the members of our armed forces, but we will ask seriousness and responsibility, and something that is one of minor problems, which means that along with better tactical and technical qualification, and significant physical fitness, we will require better physical fitness, we will ask the greatest possible responsibility. That is why, we as a state will allocate more money as well. We have talked about resolving the housing issue, and soon, the representatives of the Serbian Government and I, as the President of the Republic of Serbia come out with a plan of housing construction. We wish 30 thousand people from the security sector, who do not have resolved the housing issue, to resolve it in next three years in the most favourable manner possible and the Chief of the General Staff and all the people in the Serbian Armed Forces believe that it will additionally contribute to stronger motivation of the people both to stay in the Serbian Armed Forces, and to enable additional admission of men in our armed forces – President Vučić stressed.

He added that by the end of the year, another 300 soldiers were to be equipped and on that occasion he called upon all interested to answer the call to join the armed forces as professional soldiers, and this year the total of 1763 of them is going to be admitted.

- That competition for the admission of professional soldiers is permanently open and it will continue to be permanently open. We need more and more soldiers because we do not have adequate manning, particularly in certain parts of the territory, and that is going to be improved by different measures for motivation and stimulation. The manning is always sufficient to protect our county and you do not have to worry, but we want to be stronger and more powerful. We will also have to round up the concept of the active reserve, because in this area we do not fully know what we have in terms of territorial force and it was very good that this year, when we called up people of the age between 35 and 42, one company at the time, at the level of our brigades, that we managed to freshen up the knowledge of these people. Those are very responsible, serious and disciplined men, and I think that today we have been informed that there was not a single problem there - President of the Republic emphasised.

According to his words, it was necessary to define the organic posts which require dominant physical force, so that they would pay attention that the women in the armed forces, who find it very difficult to overcome infantry hurdles, which are the basic condition for certain organic manning, are assigned to the units where they could discharge their tasks in the best possible manner, and the focus was primarily on strengthening our Special Forces.

- There were two things from the earlier period that were quite bad for us, and they were introduced by order of some other powers, some foreign countries in the period 2005-2006, when we were ordered that all our units needed to be detached, namely to separate the infantry from the tank units, to separate the tank units from anti-armour units. We will again establish the so called joint battalions and brigades, since our armed forces naturally prepare as if, as the wiser used to say, the peace will last for a thousand years, and if somebody attacks us to be capable of defending our country. But the infantry alone cannot defend it, or the tankmen, or the anti-armour units, but they all have to react together and jointly. Back in those years, we were forced to separate those units, so we will change that in the upcoming period. Back then, by order of certain Mister Moor, the moral education was abolished in the Serbian Armed Forces, which is of crucial importance for us and that has nothing to do with political parties or that type of political education, but it has to do with the direction of a country, it has to do with love to the fatherland, it has to do with patriotism. We were told then that the Serbian Armed Forces did not need patriotism, because patriotism was the one jeopardising everyone in the surroundings of Serbia. Starting from the 1st January, we will reintroduce the moral education in the Serbian Armed Forces – President Vučić estimated adding that then, the soldier would know why they were there, what they protected, who they protected and they would know that the freedom was the greatest value of the Serbian society, the Republic of Serbia and that their job was to defend and protect the independence, sovereignty and integrity of our country.

President Vučić also underlined that on that day they talked about the introduction of education of our personnel in military high schools, where there were many problems, since certain people were required to work with materiel and weapons. As he said, certain step forward had been made in the previous five years with the armourers in the Military Grammar School, even with the air force technicians, since that cadre was required both in civilian sector and abroad as well, where the salaries are higher than in the Serbian Armed Forces, but as President Vučić concluded, the solution to this problem was also discussed during the talks.

Speaking about education, President Vučić emphasised that the education of our pilots was going to be deepened and expanded both for fighter and combat aviation, and for helicopters as well that would be also used for humanitarian purposes for the transport of our soldiers and for the transport of our units.

- Technological falling behind will be overcome in two ways – one being the speedy development of our defence industry. This year we paid more than 40 million, and not all of it has been spent, because not all of them have presented their projects – President Vučić stressed adding that the technological falling behind could be replaced by tremendous progress of our defence industry and he announced an incoming visit to the MTI and TTC, where he would talk about increasing the salaries of engineers and point to the significance of cooperation in that area in order to provide accelerated fielding of arms and equipment in our armed forces.

According to him, everything that we require is going to be provided, primarily air defence weapons and further strengthening of our Air Force.

- I wish to inform you that in this year, as you know, we have procured six new MiG 29 planes, and many have forgotten that after 30 years we have bought two Mi-17s, two extraordinary transport aircraft which are the most sought after in the world, and that we plan to buy additional six transport helicopters, and transport-combat helicopters. We are in the process of negotiations with “Rosoboronexport” and we are also expecting the arrival of another six X-145 helicopters in our armed forces and these are the Airbus’s French-German helicopters that will arrive by the beginning of 2019, all nine of them – six for the armed forces and three for the police, so that we will dramatically increase our manoeuvring capabilities for the transport of our soldiers and our police forces. One year ago they practically did not exist, and today we are quite seriously and dramatically increasing them – President Vučić stressed.

He highlighted that during the meeting they talked about developing a concept of defence and the new doctrine in the forthcoming period, and about the necessity of new investments in defence, which within the overall budget must reach 20 per cent, and in the period to come they have to be significantly higher, even reaching 25 per cent.

- Missiles for our aircraft will also be procured, for both planes and helicopters, so that we could fully protect our sky, but, besides additional manning by professional soldiers, we will also need to work on the enhancement of expert and specialised knowledge in our armed forces, and on the reduction of the average age of experts. We managed somehow to lower the age of professional soldiers at 32.9 and the situation is better than it used to be. Just like we invite primarily the younger population, just like we invite young men to voluntarily serve the military service, we also invite the younger population to join the military, because the armed forces will guarantee a better liver, and also the realisation of the most sacred goal that each of us could have and that goal is the protection and defence of our country – President Vučić  emphasised and added that in that manner the people could provide the existence for themselves, because the plans for the housing construction go into direction of the most favourable conditions for the members of defence system.

- Our country is on its European path, our country is military neutral, and in order to be military neutral, we have to be strong. Our armed forces are stable, our armed forces are good. Today, we agreed with the Government of Serbia to pay money before the end of the year so that each soldier, and the territorial forces in Serbia have two sets of uniforms and two pairs of boots. We have never had that – President Vučić concluded adding that after that day’s meeting with the military leadership he was certain that our armed forces would shine with the new modern shine, the shine of success and qualification and that it would be strong enough to preserve peace, provide stability and protect the citizens of that country.

Today’s meeting was also attended by the members of the board of the Minister of Defence and the Board of the Chief of General Staff.

Answering the reporters’ questions, President Vučić underscored that our choice of military neutrality was the most difficult since “our choice is to be the master of our own yard, to preserve our country, to protect our Serbia and have our own armed forces and that is a difficult task and that is why these armed forces need to be trained, steadfast and strong”.

- We will attack no one, we only want to have strong armed forces to defend at any time our sky, our soil, our rivers, our lakes. We cooperate with NATO, and we have good partner relations and we will continue that, and we have good partner relations with Russians, and we will continue that, but we are interested in Serbia – President Vučić stated.

Speaking about the military budget for the next year, President Vučić pointed out that it had been increased to 70 billion.

Asked whether the Serbian Armed Forces would have the first female general in the following year, President Vučić highlighted that he would be pleased to pass such a decision when he had received such proposal from the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defence.

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