Minister Vulin presented the Defense and National Security Strategies of the Republic of Serbia at the National Assembly
At the Tenth Session of the Second Ordinary Session of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Minister of Defense Aleksandar Vulin presented two of the most important strategic documents in the field of defense – the Defense Strategy of the Republic of Serbia and the National Security Strategy.
Addressing the MPs, Minister Vulin said it was a great honor for him to “present to you today two umbrella documents defining the strategy, not of self-defense, but of our country’s policy strategy."
“The Republic of Serbia is closely monitoring the changes in the environment and adapting its defense and security policies to those changes in order to best protect its national and defense interests, such as the preservation of sovereignty and territorial integrity, military neutrality, care for the Serbian people outside Serbia, European integrations and an effective rule of law. These are the basic starting points for drafting strategic documents,” Minister Vulin said.
He noted that the drafting of the documents was initiated in 2016. “In September 2017, harmonized versions were drafted, which we came out with, after obtaining the approval of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of Serbia, President Vučić, we introduced them to the public and anyone could say what they thought of them. The National Security Strategy of the Republic of Serbia is the highest strategic document, whose implementation protects the values and national interests of the Republic of Serbia. The document examines the situation in the strategic environment, outlines security challenges, risks and threats, formulates national interests and goals, establishes national security policy, structure and principles of functioning of the national security system and a way to implement the strategy,” Minister Vulin said.
Minister Vulin emphasized that the document identified for the first time national interests and the basics of the national security system. “In particular, the illegally and unilaterally declared independence of the territory covered administratively by the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija is unacceptable for the Republic of Serbia. We consider this to jeopardize the national values and interests of our country. I would like to emphasize once again that for the first time the state of Serbia has collected her strength and courage to publicly declare before the whole world and to say what our national interest is,” said the Minister of Defense, adding that “The Strategy establishes 7 national interests: preserving the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia, preserving the internal stability and security of the Republic of Serbia and its citizens, preserving the existence and protection of the Serbian people wherever they may live.”
“The sentence I have now uttered has never found “its place in the sun”, in the history of the modern Serbian state. Never has the Serbian state, never the state of Serbia, said that its national interest is to preserve the lives of Serbs no matter where they may live. And never, as in the document in front of you, has it been said that Republika Srpska and its preservation is a priority of our foreign policy. The state of Serbia in this way very clearly declares what her national interests are and what must be defended. It seems that nobody has remembered this before us. The previous Strategy was done in 2009. The next interest is the preservation of national minorities, their cultural, religious and historical identity, the preservation of peace and stability in the region and the world, the European integrations and membership of the Republic of Serbia in the European Union, economic development and overall prosperity, as well as the preservation of the environment and resources of the Republic of Serbia,” said the Minister of Defense.
Minister Vulin emphasized that every national interest is realized through the implementation of goals, and for each of the goals, measures for its achievement are defined.
“The national security system is defined as an integral whole of elements that include all the most important structures of the state and society, whose activity ensures the protection and implementation of the national interests of the Republic of Serbia,” emphasized the Minister of Defense.
In presenting the Defense Strategy of the Republic of Serbia, the Minister of Defense said that it was a strategy document arising from the National Defense Strategy. “From it, as an umbrella document, we bring a document that directs the development of normative, doctrinal and organizational parts of the defense system, the planning and financing of the defense and the engagement of defense resources of the Republic of Serbia. It contains positions on the security environment, identifies challenges, risks and threats, all that are important for defense; it defines the defense interests and goals, the strategic concept of defense, the structure and principles of functioning of the defense system, as well as how the strategy is implemented,” said Minister Vulin.
“The strategic concept of defense expresses basic views on how to engage the defense system, and is based on the model of total defense. The model of total defense has been mentioned earlier in previous strategies, but nothing has been done about it. We said, we are introducing professional Armed Forces, it will be small, well-trained and organized, well-armed and when it comes to the first strike, it will deter it and then, who will come?” the Minister of Defense wondered.
“Because after that, after this first part of the concept of total defense, in which not a single dinar was invested, and related to which nothing was done, there is no one to come. The data of those called to the reserve is tragic. Our citizens were no longer trained and it is precisely what the concept of total defense says: that every citizen of Serbia, in accordance with his / her capabilities, health, education, has the right and obligation to participate in the concept of defense of his / her country; thus the way they can. Not everyone would carry weapons, but there is room for all. Now, we introduced it, wrote it and simply stopped working on it and we did nothing. Absolutely nothing! This is now our way of taking the matter of our security into our own hands again, and it is not something that anyone should be concerned about, because this is a right and an obligation; even countries around the world that have a much more peaceful existence than we do also take care of these elements and do everything in their power for their country to be safe and secure,” said Minister Vulin.
In order to achieve and protect national interests, six defense interests have been identified – the protection of sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and the protection of the security of the Republic of Serbia and her citizens; maintaining peace and security in the region and the world; enhancing national security and defense through European integration processes; military neutrality of the Republic of Serbia and cooperation and partnership with states and international organizations in the field of security and defense.
“This document emphasizes the view that Kosovo’s independence is absolutely unacceptable to the Republic of Serbia. Here we arrive at another key element of the strategies before you. Our firm commitment to insist on the military neutrality policy. Military neutrality is the position of the citizens of this country, the position of The National Assembly, the Government and the position of the President of the Republic; it is what this document also reinforces – our determination to remain militarily neutral. Thus, you will notice that for the first time in this document, in addition to our cooperation with the NATO Pact through the Partnership for Peace framework, which we consider to be the optimum level of our cooperation and it excludes membership – our cooperation with the “CSTO”, i.e. the Collective Security Treaty is also included. Some also call it the Eastern NATO. This is the first time, because no paper in our country so far – though they contained views on military neutrality – did not lead, and did not propose a balanced policy, namely cooperating with both the East and the West. Do include joint activities with the West, but have them both with the East. This is the first time that an official proposal, that an official Strategy is presented to the citizens of Serbia saying that there will be cooperation with the East as well as with the West, defining it very clearly and precisely. Let me give you an example, let me say dear citizens that the joint
activities with the Russian Federation between 2000 and 2012 have been – nonexistent, so we did nothing, and I will tell you that we now have 96. So, you see, a difference has been made without compromising the principle of military neutrality, because we also cooperate with the Western countries, taking into account first and foremost the citizens of Serbia and what our interests are. Not, therefore, what someone else’s interests are, but what our interests are,” the Minister of Defense said.
“The Serbian Armed Forces are now organized, managed and led by those who listen to the voice of Serbian citizens only and no one else,” concluded the Minister of Defense Aleksandar Vulin.