Slovenian army focussing more on combat readiness

Ljubljana – The Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) focus more on combat training and combat tasks during military exercises this year than before, Major General Miha Škerbinc, SAF force commander, said at a news conference on Thursday. The army is planning over 90 different training and military exercises at home and abroad in 2022.

Compared to previous years, three things about training and military exercises are considerably different this year.

Apart from more focus on combat tasks and combat training, there is an increased focus on tasks related to defending Slovenia’s national territory and Europe’s territory, and tasks related to the operationalisation of the concepts of the new military strategy, Škerbinc said.

Among the key tasks this year he also highlighted the consolidation of the unity and cohesiveness, arguing that only a united army can be effective in defence.

“A united, professional and trustworthy army is also a cohesion factor for national unity and resilience, which is becoming vital in these critical times in the world.”

At a time when the world is heading towards “a security cataclysm”, Škerbinc said it was important that the SAF had highly trained and equipped soldiers.

In the past, the SAF mainly carried out tasks in peacekeeping missions and operations abroad while focussing on protection and rescue at home.

Over the past six years, the most extensive non-military tasks were working with the police in protecting the border against illegal migration, said Škerbinc.

“This has to a certain extent led to lowering our capacity for our priority mission, which is and always will be the preparedness to wage armed fight.”

Asked how the SAF’s training is affected as it has been waiting for Boxer armoured carriers for years, he said that “for me personally, there is a war going on in Europe, and the military threats are becoming more and more real. As a SAF general, I’m worried about the SAFT’s readiness and capability to carry out defence tasks.”

For this year, the SAF is planning 93 different exercises at home and abroad, in which some 5,000 SAF members will take part.

Colonel Igor Šepec, chief of training and exercises, said raising the SAF’s combat profile, intensifying field and combat training and establishing SAF tactical excellence were among the key goals in training and military exercises.

Slovenia will host the 10th international military exercise Adriatic Strike 2022 between 23 May and 5 June, which will bring together 650 troops, of whom 400 from 25 allied and partner countries.

Among the more important exercises is also the Preskok 22 series, which consists of 18 deterrence exercises in Slovenia and several other countries.

More exercises were planned for this year than last year, but due to the Covid-19 situation and the situation in Eastern Europe, the exercises in the first quarter of this year were postponed to later dates.