Ceremony in Ljubljana to mark Slovenian Army Day
The central ceremony honouring the 25th anniversary of the independent Slovenian army will take place at Ljubljana's Gospodarsko razstavišče fairgrounds with President Borut Pahor as keynote speaker.
Despite continuing debates about the desolate state of the Slovenian Armed Forces, Defence Minister Andreja Katič said ahead of the anniversary that in the last 25 years "we have built an army that can compare to those of all other members of NATO and the EU".
Katič listed among the the historical roots of today's army the Slovenian forces led in WWI by General Rudolf Maister, the WWII and its national liberation movement and the independence war, which was fought for Slovenia by "members of the Tactical Line, the Territorial Defence and police".
Meanwhile, former Territorial Defence regional chief of staff Srečko Lisjak remembered the developments 25 years ago, claiming for the STA that the Yugoslav army had stood no chance of defeating the Slovenian Territorial Defence in what ended up being a ten-day war.
He argued the forces had been reasonably well equipped and trained and also had the advantage of the Slovenia Territorial Defence having had their completely own development concept that had not been tied to that of the Yugoslav army.
As to the latter, he said its problem had been that it had failed to follow modern development trends and that its soldiers, coming from different republics, did not have the sense of loyalty required.
Lesjak feels that Slovenians could not have afforded to think about independence had they not developed their own forces, a view shared by Tone Krkovič, who led the Tactical Line, a well-equipped paramilitary unit formed on 17 May 1990 as Yugoslav authorities wanted the Territorial Defence disarmed.
"This demand meant the first declaration of the aggression of the Yugoslav army," said Krkovič, who argues that the Tactical Line, which became par of the Territorial Defence after it was already under Slovenia's command, had in fact been the first truly armed Slovenian military force.
He thus feels that 17 May and not 15 May should be celebrated as Slovenian Army Day.