Montenegro - Ministry of Defence

Following independence, and unlike most other ministries in the Government of Montenegro, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) -- led by Minister of Defense Boro Vucinic -- had to build its organization from the ground up. Developing its human resource capacity is proving to be perhaps its biggest challenge. Other challenges include prioritizing requirements, building the legal and regulatory framework for its volunteer force, and establishing a functioning procurement system.

Within the defence system, the main elements of defence system are: Assembly of Montenegro, President of Montenegro, Government of Montenegro, Defence and Security Council, Ministry of Defence and Army of Montenegro. According to the Constitution of Montenegro, the Army defends the independence, sovereignty and state territory of Montenegro, in accordance with the principles of international law on the use of force. The army and the security services are subject to democratic and civil control. The Parliament has the authority to declare the state of war, or the state of emergency, and to adopt strategic documents, such as the National Security Strategy and Defence Strategy. It also oversees the Army and the security services.

The President of Montenegro commands the Armed Forces, on the basis of the decision of the Defence and Security Council, which consists of the President of Montenegro, the Speaker of the Parliament and the Prime Minister. The Defence and Security Council decides on commanding the Armed Forces of Montenegro, analyses and assesses the security situation in Montenegro and decides on taking adequate measures. Besides, the Council appoints, promotes and discharges from duty the officers of the Army of Montenegro, proposes to the Parliament the proclamation of the state of emergency and proposes the use of the Army in international peace-keeping operations.

The Assembly of Montenegro passes laws, decision and other documents for defence system; declares state of emergency and state of war; decides on engagement of the Army, Police and civil protection in peace and humanitarian missions abroad; performs oversight of the Army and security services; passes the National Security Strategy and Defence Strategy; decides on defence budget.

The President of Montenegro chairs the Defence and Security Council; commands the Army in accordance with decisions made by the Defence and Security Council; decides on employment of the Army in accordance with the law; issues decision on mobilisation development of the Army; issues orders on introduction of measures on readiness and mobilisation.

The Government of Montenegro defines and runs defence policy; recommends the National Security Strategy and Defence Strategy; issues Defence Plan, Strategic Defence Review; issues legally binding decrees during the state of emergency or state of war in case the Assembly is unable to convene. The Government defines draft laws and issues by-laws. It ensures material and financial assets for the needs of defence system. Based on defence planning documents, provisions of special regulations and Defence Plan of Montenegro, the Government defines, harmonises and controls defence preparations of all public administration authorities.

The Defence and Security Council issues decisions on commanding the Army; analyses and evaluates security situation in Montenegro and issues decisions for relevant measures to be taken; recommends to the Assembly declaration of state of war or state of emergency; recommends engagement of the Army in international forces. The Defence and Security Council of Montenegro consist of the President of Montenegro, Speaker of the Assembly and President of the Government.

The Ministry of Defence recommends and implements defined defence policy; develops the Defence Plan of Montenegro and harmonises defence plans of other actors in the area of defence; makes assessment of danger of war and other dangers; establishes multilateral and bilateral co-operation in the area of defence; performs duties of organisation, equipping, arming, development and employment of the Army and other duties in accordance with the Constitution and law. The Minister of Defence is a civilian person.

Defence of Montenegro is the main state function and it is an honor, right and duty of nationals and citizens of Montenegro to participate in preparation for defence and to engage in accordance with the law. Co-operation and joint action by the Army, Police, National Security Agency and Emergency Forces, national Prosecutorís Office and courts is of outmost importance for defence system. In crisis situations and during the war, co-operation and joint action by civilian and military health services is very important, as well as operation by business entities, which continue to produce and provide services for the needs of population and the Army. Elements of the national security system perform their tasks in defence system of Montenegro in accordance with the Constitution, law and Defence Plan of Montenegro.

In practice, the constitutional and legal provisions related to the democratic control of the armed forces are enforced and observed. The Minister of Defence is a civilian, and 80 percent of the persons working in the Ministry of Defence are also civilians. The Minister is also responsible for submitting Regular annual report to the Parliament on the situation in defence area, as well as to participate in the work of Parliament and to answer parliamentary questions. The Minister of Defence was present at the Parliamentary session dedicated to discussion on the adoption of Laws on Defence and Army.

The establishment of the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces of Montenegro has increased the interest of Montenegrin citizens for defence issues. In response, the Ministry of Defence has set one of its priorities to be providing the public with objective and timely information about the defence system and security. Consequently, the Ministry has established a PR position in the Cabinet of the Minister. This person cooperates with different departments in the Ministry and works on informing the public about the activities in the system of defence and Army of Montenegro.

The Ministry of Defence has been publishing information about all relevant events, visits, agreements, it replies to journalistsí questions, in line with the Law on Media and the Law on Free Access to Information. It also organizes regular and extraordinary conferences for journalists, briefings for journalists and other forms of communication to citizens. The Ministry of Defence maintains a website where it publishes announcements, legal documents, and other materials relevant for informing the public. The Ministry of Defence publishes a specialized monthly journal that covers the topics pertaining to the area of security and defence.

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