Slovenia - Military Personnel

The beginnings of the Slovenian Armed Forces date back to May 1991, when at the 710th Pekre Training Centre (TC) and the 510th Ig TC an experimental military service of the first generation of the Slovenian military in the modern history of Slovenia began. In this period, Slovenia was formally still a republic of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Nevertheless, following a successful independence referendum on 23 December 1990, the Slovenians were in their minds already bidding Yugoslavia farewell. The initial joy that overwhelmed the first conscripts as they were arriving to the Pekre TC was soon outshone by unpleasant developments, when the leaders of the Yugoslav People's Army (YPA) on 23 May 1991 attempted to prevent these intentions with aggression. Members of the 710th Pekre TC did not give in and on 2 June 1991 solemn swear-in ceremonies of the first peacetime soldiers in the Republic of Slovenia took place at both training centres. On 26 October 1991, after the ten-day War for Slovenia, which followed the declaration of independence on 25 June 1991, YPA members left Slovenia permanently.

Upon gaining independence, Slovenia organised its military defence in a way it was organised in the former common country, i.e. with conscription. Defence forces of the Republic of Slovenia (at the time called "the Territorial Defence") were composed of unit staffs with peacetime and wartime establishments, the peacetime establishment being manned with members of the active component and the conscripts. Their development quickly followed an example of western armed forces.

After successful resistance to the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) following the 10-day war of independence in 1991, Slovenia faced the challenge of establishing independent armed forces. The Slovene Armed Forces underwent a major reorganization from 2003 to 2005, with the goal of changing from a conscription-based territorial defense force to a professional, deployable, and combat-capable military within NATO.

A substantial reduction was made in the wartime strength of the SAF from 76,000 in 1999 to around 39,000 members in 2002. The transition to a professional army with contractual reserves would enable a further reduction in the size of the wartime strength of the SAF to about 18,000 members when Slovenia joined NATO. At the end of 2003 the SAF had 24,500 members, of which the professional army numbered 6,376 members, and 1,183 people were employed in the defence part of the MoD. In 2003 a total of 981 new employees were recruited into the SAF and 186 employees left.

As of 2004 it was planned that by 2008 the SAF would have around 15,000 members, of which the professional force would number around 8,000 members, while around 1,100 people would be employed in the defence part of the Ministry of Defence. In the period 2010 to 2015 the level of employment in the defence system would not increase; new recruitment would be oriented towards increasing the quality of personnel. It is estimated that in 2015 the SAF would have up to 14,000 members, of which the professional force would number at least 8,500 members while around 1,000 people would be employed in the defence part of the Ministry of Defence.

The SAF met its downsizing goal by transforming itself from a primarily conscripted, territorially oriented defense force of 87,000 personnel with 95 percent reserves. By 2006 the SAF was a professional volunteer force consisting of approximately 7,300 (44%) active duty personnel, 1,300 (8%) contracted reserves, and 8,000 (48%) conscripted reserves, and was 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.

Conscription ended earlier than expected, in October 2003, and compulsory reserve service ended in 2010. As of 2009, Slovenia's professional force included 7,094 soldiers and 4,302 reservists. As of January 2010, Slovenia's professional force included 7,593 soldiers and 1,712 reservists. The force structure consisted of one fully professional motorized infantry brigade and two cadre/reserve force mechanized brigades. The professional brigade represented Slovenia's deployable reaction force.

The current force structure consists of one fully professional motorized infantry brigade and two cadre/reserve force mechanized brigades. The professional brigade represents Slovenia's deployable reaction force. The Slovene Armed Forces also include a small air force, equipped with helicopters and turbo-prop fixed wing aircraft, and a naval attachment, including a coastal patrol boat. The United States provides bilateral military assistance to Slovenia, including through the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program, the State Partnership Program (aligned with Colorado), the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, the EUCOM Joint Contact Team Program, and the Regional Counterterrorism Fellowship Program (CTFP).

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