Ljubljana – Maj-Gen Robert Glavaš, the chief of the general staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF), spoke to the press on Monday about the main future goals, which include recruiting new, young staff, further developing the system of military education and investing in modernisation of transport vehicles and infrastructure.
Glavaš said that the main goals was to attract new staff, with the SAF today numbering 6,365 permanent members and 723 members in the contractual reserve.
This number is sufficient to implement all tasks required by law, although the SAF have actually been understaffed in recent years, he said, adding that a positive trend was nevertheless expected to be recorded this year.
A long-term development plan envisages 7,000 permanent soldiers and 3,000 in the contractual reserve. “If we drop below 6,000 in two consecutive years, in 2024/2025 we will have to take a strategic review of the defence sector and consider solutions.”
Among the important achievements in 2021, Glavaš noted the decision to further develop military education. The plan is to establish a school for non-commissioned officers whose graduates would have publicly recognised education.
There is also a plan for education of officers that would include cooperation with faculties around Slovenia, which would incorporate a military module in their curricula, meaning that certain content from the officer school would be introduced.
According to Glavaš, in addition to recruiting soldiers, it is also important to recruit girls and boys who would like to be employed in the SAF as officers.
“Currently, after completing the first Bologna degree, a member can get employment in the army only if they complete military service and officer training, which means about a year and a half of additional education,” he explained.
The mentioned cooperation with faculties would reduce the average age of officers, Glavaš said, adding that establishing a higher military education institution would also be of exceptional importance.
The SAF have also drafted legislative changes under which a secondary military school would be formed to attract students of the appropriate age, especially those who have dropped out of secondary school.
The army leadership is looking for possibilities to attract students by means of scholarships, enable them to complete their secondary education, and provide them with the opportunity to find employment, Glavaš said.
He also labelled as a turning point the agreement with the Defence Ministry regarding modernisation and further development of the SAF, with investments mainly going for purchase of armoured vehicles, transport aircraft and helicopters.
Military facilities will also need to be reconstructed in order to provide SAF members with adequate accommodation, Glavaš said, noting that work was being completed in Postojna, and work would soon start in the Ljubljana and Maribor barracks.