Ministry of National Defence (MoND)

The Ministry of National Defence (MoND) is the specialized body of the central public administration, subordinated the Government, that conducts the national defence activity, in agreement with the provisions of the law and the strategy of national security, with a view to safeguarding national sovereignty, state independence and unity, territorial integrity and constitutional democracy. The Ministry of National Defence is responsible to the Parliament, the Government and the Supreme Council of National Defence for the implementation of provisions of the Constitution, laws in force, decisions of the Government and the Supreme Council of National Defence, of international treaties ratified by Romania.

According to Law no. 346 from July 21, 2006 (art. 12), the General Staff provides for: force conduct, organization, planning and making operational, gradual increase of readiness levels; RAF’s mobilization; conduct of joint operations; HQ and troops’ training; basic and specialty training of the active-duty and reserve military personnel; military personnel individual career management; armaments planning; standardization in the military field; implementation of the C4ISR, logistic and infrastructure system; conduct of the international military relations; religious assistance in the MoD; signing technical agreements with other states armed forces; promotion of the military culture and civil education values.

According to the Law, the General Staff is a central structure directly subordinated to the minister of defense. The General Staff provides for the command, organization, planning and making the forces operational, the readiness and mobilization of the armed force, conduct of the joint operations, training of the commands and troops, basic and specialty training active-duty and reserve military personnel, individual career management of the military personnel, armaments’ planning, standardization, implementation of the command and control, communications, computers, intelligence, IT, surveillance, reccoinaisance, logistics and infrastructure, conduct of the international military operations, religious assistance in the Ministry of Defense and the signing of the technical agreements with other states’ armed forces, promoting the military culture and civic education specific values. Also, according to law, the Genral Staff „trains and conducts the military structures that participate in missions outside the border”.

The General Staff was established 12/24 November 1859 by Order no. 83 issued by Ruler Alexandru Ioan Cuza. The General Staff was temporarily disestablished 1/13 May 1865, and its tasks taken over by Ministry of War, Ist Direction. The C.O.-s that were part of the General Staff were assigned to the 4th Territorial Division HQs as well as to other units, thus establishing the Staff Corps. November 29 / December 11 1882 the Great General Staff was established following the High Decree no. 2945/1882, which was made up of three sections and subordinated to the Ministry of War; its main duties and components are specified.

The Romanian Ministry of National Defense has been plagued by a series of ministers who were unable, or unwilling, to fight for the resources necessary to modernize the armed forces and support their deployments around the world. Despite the apathy of previous ministers, the Romanian military has proven to be a strong NATO ally in Afghanistan, Iraq and in the Western Balkans.

On 07 May 2012 Corneliu Dobritoiu was appointed Minister of National Defence. Previously [2006-2009] he had served as State Secretary and Head of Defence and Planning Policy Department, Ministry of Defence. He was Counselor of the President of the National Liberal Party [2009-2012] and Deputy State Secretary and Head of Defence Policy and Planning Department, Ministry of National Defence [2004-2006 ].

On 23 December 2009 retired four-star General Gabriel Oprea brought both military and political know-how to the Ministry of National Defense (MoND). After serving for over a decade as a logistics and legal officer in the Army, Oprea continued to serve as a military academic at the National Defense College. While well respected as a soldier and an academic, Oprea's real talents became evident once he entered politics. This is evident in his rapid rise through the retired ranks. Despite retiring as only a Captain, Oprea has been promoted to the rank of four-star General, and finally Minister of National Defense and head of a growing and increasingly powerful group of Parliamentarians, due to his political skill and knack for picking the winning side in Romania's rough and tumble political battles.

Gabriel Oprea graduated from the Logistics Department of the Sibiu-based School for Active Duty Officers in 1983 and served as a logistics officer in a Bucharest-based unit until graduating from the Bucharest Law School in 1990. He then served as a military justice officer until his retirement from active duty with the rank of Captain in 1993. It is unclear how and when Oprea advanced from captain in 1993 to major, lieutenant colonel, colonel. He was promoted to brigadier general (one star) in November 2001, he received his second star in 2003, the third in 2008 and the fourth in 2009. The first two stars were awarded by President Ion Iliescu of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) while Oprea was serving in the PSD. The second two stars were granted by President Basescu, after Oprea began to distance himself from the PSD.

When the PSD formed a coalition with President Basescu's Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) in December of 2008, Oprea, with the support of Nastase, was chosen as Interior Minister. Despite receiving the position, Oprea was uncomfortable with his position in the PSD. He was closely allied with the increasingly isolated Nastase, and was opposed by the ascendant PSD president Mircea Geoana. Oprea would soon gamble his political future by challenging the PSD. He quickly lost the trust of the PSD by naming Virgil Ardelean, a Basescu favorite, as head of the Interior Ministry's in-house intelligence service and by refusing to name PSD members to the plum positions within the ministry. The PSD accused Oprea of being President Basescu's Trojan horse within the Cabinet. Chairman Geoana called Oprea to confront him about the appointments but Oprea "rudely" told him he was not accountable to the party for his work as minister. Less than a month after he took office, the PSD withdrew its political support for Oprea and he resigned from his position as minister.

On the presidential campaign trail in 2004, Traian Basescu called Oprea a "member of Adrian Nastase's personal mafia" and accused Oprea of serving as front man for Nastase's business deals and doing his dirty work for him. Yet, by the end of 2009, Oprea had become Basescu's political ally and his nominee for an important cabinet position. In October 2009 President Basescu awarded Opera his fourth-star and praised him as the "first minister" who resigned rather than appoint incompetent people for political reasons.

Following his departure from the PSD, Oprea became the leader of a growing group of "Independent" MPs who had defected from the PSD and the National Liberal Party (PNL) to support President Basescu. In the lead-up to the December 2009 presidential election, Oprea used his extensive network of business and political associates to actively campaign and raise money for Basescu's re-election. Following Basescu's victory, Oprea formally participated in the consultations to form the government on behalf of the Independents in Parliament (around 25 and growing).

Join the mailing list