Slovenia - Land Forces

The Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) continues the process of transformation, including downsizing, modernizing, restructuring, and reorganizing, in order to meet NATO Force Goals and its military commitments to the EU. The SAF, again in the midst of changing its force structure, is primarily a ground-based force with limited air and naval assets, with approximately a division-size force composed of two major commands subordinate to the General Staff: the Forces Command; and the Doctrine, Development, Training and Education Command (DDTEC). Forces Command is composed of combat, combat support, and combat service support elements. Within Forces Command, the First Brigade provides combat forces, the 72nd Brigade provides combat support (CS) forces, and Support Command provides combat service support (CSS). DDTEC is generally responsible for all training and doctrine development missions, similar to the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC).

The SAF is meeting its downsizing goal by transforming itself from a primarily conscripted, territorially oriented defense force of 87,000 personnel, of which 95 percent were reserves. By 2006 the SAF was a professional volunteer force currently consisting of approximately 7,300 (44%) active duty personnel, 1,300 (8%) contracted reserves, and 8,000 (48%) conscripted reserves, and iwa restructuring to become an expeditionary force capable of meeting its NATO and EU responsibilities and obligations. The goal of the SAF was to downsize the force by 2010 to 8,500 active duty personnel and 5,500 contracted reserves.

The overarching goals of the SAF include strategic integration into NATO and the EU, stabilization of the SAF structure and organization, development of SAF capabilities for national defense and integration within NATO and the EU, improving education and training at the individual and collective level, developing better logistics capabilities, and improving command and control (C2) support systems.

Shortly after joining NATO in 2004, Slovenia accepted or partially accepted 44 NATO Force Goals (NFGs), rejecting none. Slovenia's primary NFGs in 2004 included an infantry battalion to be provided in rotations for up to six months by 2012, a Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) battalion for the NATO Reaction Force by 2009, and several combat support and combat service support assets. In March 2006, Slovenia received 54 additional NATO Force Goals & Updates. It accepted or partially accepted 53 of these and rejected one (Force Protection for Deployed Air Units.) With the additional 2006 NFG Updates, Slovenia was asked to further increase the number of deployable combat and combat support units. A new high readiness reconnaissance company was planned by the end of 2012 and a military police company in 2008.

As of 2002 the program for the additional restructuring and equipping of reaction forces includes the additional equipping of the 10th motorised battalion and the 17th military police battalion, and the formation of the 20th motorised battalion with battle vehicles, anti-armor systems, infantry armaments, engineering equipment, transport vehicles and other equipment. The limited cost of the program was SIT 29.5 billion (131 million euros). Improvements in air defence will occur through the introduction into operational use in 2003 of the ASOC system and the ROLAND battery. 20 additional light armoured reconnaissance vehicles will be introduce into operational service in 2003.

The SAF's modernization and procurement objectives are focused on NATO interoperability. Procurement in FY 2005 was focused on equipping combat units and enhancing command and control capabilities; continuing the process of upgrading individual soldier combat gear and protective equipment; continuing the procurement of wheeled-vehicle transportation assets in order to upgrade SAF logistics support capabilities; investing in the upgrading of Cerklje airbase, the sole military airfield in Slovenia; and improving helicopter transport capabilities and determining fixed-wing transport needs for the future. The Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) assisted the SAF by supporting some of its procurement objectives, specifically with funding in the areas of High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) spare parts and Command, Control, Communications, Computer and Intelligence (C4I) systems.

The Slovenian Ministry of Defense's (MOD) announcement on June 12, 2006 that Finnish defense contractor Patria won a 330 million USD (263 million Euro) contract to supply 135 8x8 armored vehicles to the GoS, was by months of simmering allegations beginning with complaints of non-transparency in the tender review and selection process, talk of significant cost discrepancies between the tender amount and what the GoS would eventually pay, disputes about how the quality of the two competing vehicles and the overall bids were compared, and allegations that (in a cost cutting maneuver) the contract allows for the delivery of vehicles that are not properly equipped.

The 01 September 2008 Finnish TV program accusing PM Janez Jansa of accepting a bribe of up to 21 million euros in connection with the Slovenian Ministry of Defense 258 million euro deal to buy 135 Finnish Patria armored motorized vehicles (AMVs) has started a firestorm in Slovenia in the run-up to national elections on September 21. PM Jansa has repeatedly denied the accusations flat-out, attributing them to a pre-election smear campaign. While one might expect such explosive allegations to hurt Jansa politically, many Slovenes seemed to have the opposite reaction: they saw Jansa as a victim.

It was quite a surprise that Patria was chosen, becouse Valuk and Krpan (Pandur 8*8) have 70% of interchangable componennts so logistics would be easier. Conspiracy theories abound, including one that General Dynamics, which also bid on the AMV deal, stood to gain if the contract were annulled, and so could be behind the accusations. The losing (and only other) bidder in the controversial tender was a company with U.S. interest -- Slovenian defense company Sistemska Tehnika (ST), which is 70 percent owned by Slovenia-based Viator & Vektor (V&V) and 12.7 percent owned by Austria-based Steyr-Daimler-Puch, which, in turn, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the General Dynamics (GD) corporation.

By September 2009 a reprogramming of the Slovenian 8x8 vehicle deal had been in media focus for quite some time. Informal discussions with the MoD indicated that a substantially lower number of vehicles and an enhancement of armament would be the relevant issues. By September 2009 13 vehicles had been delivered to MoD and paid to Patria so far and approximately the same number of vehicles was at this moment in various stages of completeness. On 05 September 2012 the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Slovenia (MoD), Rotis Plus d.o.o. and Patria signed a Settlement Agreement governing the AMV vehicle supply contract and the related offset agreement signed in 2006. The settlement includes a change of the fleet size to consist of 30 Svarun vehicles that have already been delivered and closing down the rest of the project and thus the supply contract.

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