Round table: The importance of the DCBI for the reform of the security sector of the Republic of Moldova
On October 7, the Information and Documentation Center on NATO organized a round table on “The importance of the DCBI for the reform of the security sector of the Republic of Moldova”. The purpose of the event was to bring to the public’s attention aspects related to the reform of the security sector, NATO’s contribution to the progress made in the modernization of the armed forces, the benefits of the initiative and the next steps to be taken.
– Elena Mârzac, Executive Director of the IDC on NATO
– Barbora Paclíková, Defense Capacity Building Coordinator, NATO Liaison Office in the Republic of Moldova
– Gheorghe Donica, Senior Officer, Defense Policy and Defense Planning Directorate, Ministry of Defense
– Viorel Cibotaru, independent expert, Minister of Defense in 2015
A safe and stable environment is vital for sustainable development. The idea of the concept of security sector reform is to provide support for the reorganization of the security sector in accordance with democratic norms and the rule of law, in order to ensure the security of the population. The Republic of Moldova needs external assistance to take over good practices, expertise and techniques for counteracting or resolving threats and risks to its security.
Elena Mârzac addressed the role of civil society in reforming the security and defense sector. The director of the IDC on NATO notes that:
– The involvement of civil society, academia and the media in the security sector is a condition for the formation of political will, which can only be developed through active cooperation between the civil and government sectors.
– The main mission of civil society is to initiate debates on security and defense issues, to monitor and provide alternative analyzes on certain aspects of security.
– Increasing awareness will serve as an important step in encouraging public debate and promoting political and social change.
– The efficiency of communication with the public on security issues depends on the volume and accuracy of the information made public by the Government, Parliament and development partners.
– Two-way communication – dialogue – is important because (i) it ensures permanent participation and control by citizens, (ii) it increases public confidence in the functioning of state institutions, (iii) it offers control over potentially mismanagement and (iv) ensure public support and legitimacy for the legislature and government policies.
– The ability of citizens to obtain the necessary information about the initiatives and policies of institutions with responsibilities in the field of security and defense and to analyze the impact of these programs, policies and decisions on them is a fundamental element of the concept of good governance.
– A democratic society requires debates on issues of major social importance, and free access to information is a fundamental premise for the active participation of citizens in the decision-making process, especially in such complex areas as security and defense.
– In today’s security environment, strategic communication is used to gain credibility, legitimacy and support for citizens.
– The result of an effective strategic communication will essentially contribute to the reform of the security and defense sector, the legitimacy of the implemented policies and actions.
– The development of countermeasures and the dissemination of narratives must be a joint effort, requiring the active involvement of all state institutions and civil society.
– It is important to know the advantages that the Republic of Moldova can benefit from various cooperation and their awareness will contribute to objective reflection.
Referring to the cooperation with NATO, Elena Mârzac states the following:
– The cooperation of the Republic of Moldova with the North Atlantic Alliance during the 25 years has evolved over time and has included several collaboration tools adjusted to its needs.
– The cooperation is in the interest of the Republic of Moldova, but also in the interest of NATO, due to the geo-strategic position of our country.
– NATO partnerships are beneficial to all parties involved and contribute to improving security for a wider international community.
– The partners are part of many of NATO’s core activities, from policy-making to defense capacity building, interoperability development and crisis management.
– NATO programs also help partner countries to develop their own institutions and defense and security forces.
– The Moldova-NATO Partnership is based on the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP). A first plan was signed in 2006 and is usually renewed every 2 years. The new IPAP for the next 2 years is to be approved.
– The cooperation of the Republic of Moldova with NATO within the PfP takes place in both the military and civilian sectors. In the military field, the Republic of Moldova benefits from NATO support in order to continue the process of reforming the army and creating a modern, mobile and cost-effective military force. The Republic of Moldova, in cooperation with NATO, focuses on advancing the process of reforming and modernizing the security and national defense sector, in accordance with the new developments and requirements of the security environment.
– Cooperation with NATO is not against the national interest of the Republic of Moldova in ensuring the country’s sovereignty and integrity under conditions of neutrality and is based on the need to modernize the security and defense and related sectors.
– The Republic of Moldova has benefited from access to the defense planning mechanisms provided by the North Atlantic Alliance, which have had a positive impact on the development of our defense and security capabilities.
– Other priority dimensions in capitalizing on the partnership with NATO are supporting civilian authorities, developing science through the Science for Peace and Program, collaborating with the media, civil society and academia through public diplomacy programs.
Elena Mârzac states that NATO initiatives and projects address all categories of citizens and respond to the challenges and threats facing our country, in particular, but also the threats at regional or international level (ecological problem, terrorism, illegal trafficking, cybercrime, assistance in crisis situations etc). Developing capacities to respond to these challenges, and working with partners is essential in strengthening national security and involvement in ensuring regional security.
The North Atlantic Alliance implements projects that address civil society as well, in an attempt to respond as coherently as possible to the challenges and threats that the organization faces both in the geographical area covered and outside it.
The director of the IDC on NATO mentions that each partner determines the pace, scope and intensity of the partnership with NATO, as well as the individual objectives. NATO support for the country’s reform efforts and for capacity building in the defense and security sector has been intensified through the Defense Capacity Building Initiative (DCBI). With reference to this topic, Elena Mârzac underlined the following:
– Starting in 2014, the DCBI strengthens NATO’s commitment to partners and helps stabilize projects, providing support to nations seeking assistance from NATO capabilities.
– DCBI can include various types of assistance, from strategic advice on defense and security sector reform and institution building, to the development of local forces through education and training, advice and assistance in specialized areas such as logistics or cyber defense .
– The DCBI package responds to the government’s request to assist in the process of transforming the defense, strengthening and modernizing the armed forces of the Republic of Moldova and reforming its national security structures.
– The Defense Capacity Building Program of the Republic of Moldova is a priority national interest in the context of the latest changes and geopolitical challenges taking place in the region, requiring the necessary measures to strengthen the security and defense sector.
Barbora Paclíková, Defense Capacity Building Coordinator from the NATO Liaison Office in the Republic of Moldova, referred to NATO partnerships and mentioned 3 reasons why the Alliance is building them:
1. NATO believes that cooperation and dialogue lead to greater security for both the Alliance and its partners. Joint cooperation builds trust between the parties. With the Republic of Moldova, NATO has been collaborating since the 1990s and in this case, the partnership is based on 3 important principles:
– NATO fully respects Moldova’s independence and territorial integrity, sovereignty and freedom.
– Cooperation with NATO is based on Moldova’s request. NATO does not impose any activity or cooperation.
– The activities within the cooperation belong to the Republic of Moldova – the pace and content of the relationship depends on the Republic of Moldova.
2. On the operational segment, NATO and its partners work together in international operations and peacekeeping missions. Before participating in these missions with partners, NATO ensures the learning and certification process for them.
3. NATO wants to help partners become more effective in solving their own security problems.
Regarding the DCBI, Barbora Paclíková mentions that the Republic of Moldova requested this assistance package from NATO. In addition to our country, there are other partners that receive assistance under the DCB initiative, for example Georgia, Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia. For the implementation of the DCBI in Moldova, NATO provided its consultants to assist Moldova in the reform processes. In Phase I, a program of advice and assistance was provided in support of the Republic of Moldova’s reforms in the field of defense, including by developing strategic documents and identifying the structure of optimal forces and necessary military capabilities. Thus, the National Defense Strategy and the Military Strategy of the Republic of Moldova were developed and adopted. Likewise, the program focuses on reviewing military risks and dangers to the state, reviewing and modifying the legislative and normative framework at the strategic level, evaluating the command and control structure, existing capabilities, estimating economic development, etc.
In Phase II of implementation, Barbora Paclíková mentions that the Republic of Moldova is provided with assistance and technical advice in the development of the armed forces (force structures, capabilities and infrastructure, doctrine, education). The DCBI package also provides assistance in other areas, including defense education, strategic planning, human resource management, civilian professional development and standardization of training and logistics, matters related to cybersecurity, good governance, corruption prevention, as well as the role of women in peace and security. Also in Phase II, NATO launched a capacity-building program for civilian employees in the security and defense sector. This program is addressed not only to the Ministry of Defense, but also to the Ministry of the Interior, Finance, Foreign Affairs and European Integration, the Parliament and practically any institution involved in the processes related to national security. Within the DCBI, there is a fund to which the Allies can contribute bilaterally to the assistance of the Republic of Moldova.
Gheorghe Donica, Senior Officer from the Defense Policy and Defense Planning Directorate, mentioned that DCBI is an important mechanism for strengthening the defense capabilities of the Republic of Moldova, as well as developing interoperability with NATO, the Allies and its partners. DCBI will lead to the transformation of the national army by 2030. Gheorghe Donica also mentions that one of the biggest problems for the Army is the lack of resources.
The DCBI Phase II package provides technical advice on some key elements for the military such as:
– development of ground forces
– development of the air force
– creation of structures and capabilities,
– adequate infrastructure
– development of command and control capabilities,
– decision-making in collaboration with SIS and the General Inspectorate of Carabinieri of the Ministry of Interior.
– development of doctrines
– development of education
Those areas will lead to the updating of the way in which NATO will assist us in the long run, states Gheorghe Donica. The DCBI package also provides assistance in the area of transparency and accountability in the security and defense sector. Gheorghe Donica mentions that the collaboration with NATO does not harm the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova and that there are many neutral states that have been collaborating with the North Atlantic Alliance in various fields for decades. Cooperation with NATO does not require accession to the Alliance.
Viorel Cibotaru, independent expert, Minister of Defense in 2015, mentions that the international and national context imposes on the agenda of civil society the need to discuss security issues. The DCBI has emerged as a necessity to provide rapid assistance from NATO to its partners. From his position as Minister of Defense in 2015, Viorel Cibotaru talked about the incipient period of DCBI. NATO wanted to know what kind of assistance Moldova needs, how it will assimilate it and whether it will contribute to the goals of strengthening security at the Alliance’s border. In Phase I, DCBI contributed to shaping the vision of the Republic of Moldova from a legislative and strategic point of view. In this Phase, the Republic of Moldova had to define:
– How it sees the strategic goals of the state;
– What are the commitments to its security;
– What are the attitudes towards international events.
The problem facing the National Army, says Viorel Cibotaru, is its slow modernization, namely the change of military equipment. In his opinion, it is necessary to acquire:
– New types of weapons
– Air defense capabilities
– More ammunition
Currently, the condition of the equipment and endowments does not correspond to the risks to which Moldova is exposed. Making a difference between IPAP and DCBI, the latter:
– Strengthens the interoperability of the regular armed forces.
– Provides the Republic of Moldova with experts, various assistance programs and opportunities for modernization of technology. The role of Romania, Poland, the Baltic countries and the USA was very important in this respect.
In the opinion of Viorel Cibotaru, the exponents of the political class are slowing down the reform of the armed forces. In the new regional context and the Nagorno-Karabakh war, the Republic of Moldova must take care of three factors:
– Defending the citizens;
– Having a very close relationship with Romania and Ukraine;
– Being useful in the mission of maintaining collective security.
Defense spending is extremely low (0.35% of GDP) and 80% of it is paid for staff salaries and maintenance. Viorel Cibotaru mentions that the political discussions about the acquisitions for the Army must be public and transparent. Regarding expenditures as % of GDP, Viorel Cibotaru said that in 1998 the defense spending was planned to reach 2.4% of GDP in 2014.
In an intervention, Oazu Nantoi, Member of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, considers that the Republic of Moldova must move from writing strategies to their implementation, in order to become a credible partner.
Ina Bogatii, representative of the General Inspectorate of Carabineers of the Ministry of Interior, wanted to know if the Ministry of Interior can be co-opted in Phase II to develop a cyber security laboratory within the Ministry of Interior, which will be operational with the Ministry of Defense, but also if there are any other programs in which the Inspectorate may be involved, for example, for doctrine, education, Resolution 1325, etc. In this context, Barbora Paclíková, Defense Capacity Building Coordinator from NATO Liaison Office in Chisinau, mentioned that the Office is open to all discussions that lead to strengthening the defense of the Republic of Moldova.
Carolina Miscoi, head of the Carabineers Inspectorate of Cooperation and Missions, addressed Barbora Paclíková in the context of the reform of the Carabineers Troops and the decision of the Supreme Security Council to allow the participation of the Carabineers in international missions. The Cooperation and Missions Department is interested in collaborations in the segment of institutional development, professionalization, strategic planning, training of mission staff, empowerment in project identification, and education especially in language learning in the pre-mission detachment period.
Finally, the participants in the round table agreed to organize another event in the context of the reform of the Carabineers Troops to talk to the public about the mission and objectives of the General Inspectorate of Carabineers.