Ministry of defence Republic of Serbia

Celebration of Completion of Courses of 11th Class of ASDS and Officers of 65th Class of GSC

Today, in the House of the National Assembly, Envoy of the President of Republic and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces Aleksandar Vučić, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Nebojša Stefanović PhD presented replicas of Serbian medieval swords to attenders of 11th Class of the Advanced Securities and Defence Studies and officer sabres to three best ranking attenders of 65th Class of General Staff Course.

Congratulating the attenders, Minister Stefanović stated that “you have completed your professional advancement in complex geopolitical circumstances and challenging and difficult times for our country, in which we, more than ever, need wisdom, strategic thinking and ability to predict the challenges that the future brings, as well as to come up with a response to them, and that is precisely what you have been trained for at our high educational institutions”.
- You had an exceptional opportunity to attend these programmes of professional advancement, and in the days ahead, you will be in a position to justify the confidence that the Ministry of Defence and Serbia have given to you. And that will not be easy. These are the days in which our country will face additional pressure due to the war in Ukraine, the days in which we will have to fight even harder to continue with our European integration, given that the EU is burdened by its own problems, and these are also the days in which we are threatened by new “Storms” in our Kosovo and Metohija. But there is one thing that they have forgotten, and that is the resolute message of President Aleksandar Vučić that Serbia desires to build peace, but it will never allow anyone to carry out pogrom of its people any more - the minister stated.

According to him, we will face difficult, challenging days, that will require all our strength, concentration and skills, but at the same time they will be somewhat similar to many days that our ancestors faced, and that Serbia faced over the centuries.
- Why? It is so because Serbia endeavoured, just like today, to preserve its freedom, be independent and autonomous, and to make decisions exclusively in the interest of its own people. Not then, and not now, did we fully measure up to the will of the great ones who tried to achieve their interests. But our job never was to measure up to the standards of others, no matter how great and powerful they may be, but exclusively to measure up to the standard of the Serbian people, and the standard of our mother land. After millions of losses in the two world wars, Serbia does not have children to sacrifice any more, and today, it desires to protect its own, to live in peace and build the roads of prosperity - Stefanović stated.
The minister reminded that Serbia is militarily neutral and that it intends to remain so.
- Which does not imply political neutrality, because we wish it to be a part of European community of peoples. We are convinced that Serbia does belong there. We want it to be stated loud and clear that Serbia is a factor of peace and stability in our region, that it is the one that builds the bridges of understanding and new forms of cooperation through the initiative the “Open Balkans”, and that Serbia is the one that left aside injustice and differences for the better future of its children. We do not want to live stuck in the past, on the dead end of Europe, but we have not forgotten the injustices and we do not wish for new ones to happen to our children - Minister Stefanović explained. 
He stressed that while some in the region wave and shout that Serbia is getting armed and threatens to destabilise the region, they are precisely those who are getting ready for new “Storms” and new instabilities.

- Serbia respects territorial integrity of all states, but it also asks that our territorial integrity be respected. In all that, there is nothing else for us but to be wise and able to protect our own, to fight to preserve our only fatherland. In order to be able to do so, we have to have strong armed forces. Not to threaten anyone, or to attack someone or wage somebody else’s wars, but to deter with the might of our armed forces anyone from even thinking of being able to jeopardise our people - the minister of defence said.

 As he stated, it is precisely why we invest in modern equipment and materiel, and why we endeavour not to fall behind the contemporary world, which largely turns to the robotics, unmanned vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles, artificial intelligence, and that is why we invest in our men too.
- We invest in them because the knowledge and skills, with all that equipment, is an extremely important resource in all the battles of the present, and the future. It was the same throughout the history, and the battles were not won by the best guns, or sabres, but the people like our Mišić, Putnik, Bojović and other great names, as well as their strategies and skills. That is why, esteemed attenders, do not forget that along with this great honour, your country has bestowed a great responsibility upon you. From this day on, you have to fight even harder to contribute to the preservation of our Serbia - Stefanović said.
The minister called upon the attenders of the high professional advancement courses not to forget that the struggle has to be waged each day for safer, economically stronger and more secure Serbia, for the safe future of our children and peaceful old age of our parents.

- A great responsibility is in front of you, as attenders of these prestigious studies, never to betray the confidence of our people and bring shame to your flag. I believe that this is nothing else but a motivation for your further work, and I expect that you will direct the knowledge you acquired towards the protection of interests of our Serbia, always and everywhere - Minister Stefanović said.
He greeted the attenders of the professional advancement from abroad as well.
- I wish to greet the officers from foreign armed forces, who by very coming to attend the professional advancement in the Republic of Serbia, confirmed in a very specific way the friendship of their native countries towards our country. Your presence is confirmation that the Republic of Serbia and its armed forces enjoy good reputation abroad, but it is at the same time confirmation that Serbia is a peace-loving country steadfastly oriented towards the cooperation with all well-meaning partners, in keeping with the interests of its people, a country oriented towards the preservation of peace and stability in both our region and the whole world by making visible and concrete moves. It is confirmation that Serbia, headed by Aleksandar Vučić, is not a country that does idle, pompous talking, but it leaves it to others to evaluate it by its great deeds. Long live the Serbian Armed Forces! Long live the Republic of Serbia! - The minister of defence said at the end of his address in the House of the National Assembly.

The officer sabres were awarded to the attenders of the General Staff Course by Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces Lieutenant Colonel Petar Cvetković.

In the House of the National Assembly, Lieutenant Colonel Aleksandar Dumić, the most successful in the 65th Class of the General Staff Course addressed the present on behalf of the attenders.
- The duties for which we attended the professional advancement require officers capable of coming to grips with serious challenges it their future structures and organisational units, but they also have to be aware of geopolitical and security challenges that our fatherland faces, and along with it the Ministry of Defence and Serbian Armed Forces. Being sent to this level of professional advancement for us represents recognition and moral and professional satisfaction for responsible work during the service so far, but at the same time, it imposes an obligation to perform our future tasks even more successfully - said the first ranking officer of the General Staff Course Lieutenant Colonel Dumić.
Head of the National Defence School “Vojvoda Radomir Putnik” Colonel Mićo Suvajac pointed out that our country has always expected from the officers to continuously educate themselves and be a reliable support to the society.
- The attenders of 11th Class of the ASDS make the most numerous generation so far, which speaks of a great interest in our School and University. Composed of members of parliament, state secretaries, senior officers from the armed forces and police, officials from the Government and Security Information Agency, officials and officers from B&H, it represented a cohesive group with a wide spectrum of knowledge - Colonel Suvajac stated.
The celebration in the House of the National Assembly was attended by the President of the National Assembly Ivica Dačić, ministers in the Government of the Republic of Serbia, members of the Board of the Minister of Defence and Chief of General Staff, representatives of religious communities and diplomatic corps, as well as the families of the attenders of the professional advancement.

This year, 20 attenders completed the Advanced Security and Defence Studies, out of which 17 attenders came from state institutions, six of them being from the Ministry of Defence and Serbian Armed Forces, while three attenders came from abroad, while 27 officers from the country and three from abroad completed the General Staff Course.
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