Center for Strategic Decision Research


Romania and the Membership Action Plan:
Speeding up Military Reform

His Excellency Victor Babiuc
Minister of Defense of Romania

The imperative to build up a new European security architecture calls for expansion of the stability found in the Western region towards Eastern and Southeastern Europe, areas that are facing difficulties from their transition to modern democratic societies. The Southeastern European states, concerned about quickly reversing the security deficits that have continued to grow since the end of the Cold War, view NATO’s enlargement as the only opportunity to achieve their own security arrangements. Romania has unreservedly asserted its adherence to Western values, and its fundamental foreign affairs goal is Euro-Atlantic integration, which it regards as the cornerstone of its national security policy.


In support of NATO enlargement, I would like to emphasize the significance of the NATO Summit held in Washington in April 1999, where the “open door policy” was reasserted and the candidate countries’ orientation efforts towards becoming full NATO members began. MAP, or the Membership Action Plan, was launched when the Alliance decided to accept new members. The Annual National Programs on Preparations for Integration (ANPPI), which derived from MAP, now direct the aspiring nations’ strategies for accession. The presence of MAP reflects the North Atlantic Alliance’s interest in extending the candidate countries’ engagement to a wide PFP operational mission range. That means encouraging stronger cooperation between the candidate states and the Allies, and also requiring the Partners to commit to adapting their military systems to Western standards. The ANPPI enables the Allies to provide more effective support to the candidate nations and, by being prepared and assessed every year, also ensures that the programs are compatible with budget resources and that priorities are jointly agreed to by both the aspirants and the Allies.

In addition to the reassertion of the open door policy, another outstanding outcome of the Washington Summit was the new perspectives opened by the decision to speed up the development of the European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI) within NATO. ESDI will not only support stronger security on the Continent, but will also encourage closer connections between the candidate countries and Western security structures.


The Washington Summit was propitious for Romania; acknowledgment of our efforts and progress has strengthened our commitment to integration. The Romanian government has set about drafting an ANPPI, which will be coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The main decisionmakers and team that will contribute to the program’s preparation, approval, and implementation have already been determined, and will include representatives of the ministries most involved with preparation for integration: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Justice, the Romanian Intelligence Service, the Ministry of Transportation, and the Ministry of Water Resources, Forestry, and Environmental Protection. We intend to complete the first draft of the ANPPI by early July 1999 and to submit it to the NATO International Secretariat by September. The Ministry of Defense is coordinating the preparation and implementation of the ANPPI’s defense section. This section is focused on the Armed Forces’ Reform Plan, which was drawn up by Romanian professionals with the help of U.S. and British experts; a Pentagon team led by General H. Kievenaar worked alongside the Romanian experts. The plan envisages the establishment of a new force structure as the pillar of the military system’s accommodation to NATO structures. This force structure will be low in number yet more flexible, meeting the mobility and operability criteria of the multinational structures that will enable it to carry out a wide spectrum of missions, ranging from collective defense to humanitarian efforts.

Since the adoption of Romania’s National Security Strategy on 18 June 1999, the ANPPI draft has promoted the passing of the other documents that underlie defense planning: the White Paper for Defense and the National Military Strategy. These reform projects, which are immediate ANPPI priorities for the year 2000 and, in the longer term, priorities for the period 2005-2010 as well, are consistent with the budget resources that may be allotted for defense. The estimates of Romania’s economic development and the resources annually earmarked for defense show that the military reform process will develop under budgetary capping. Therefore, we are not going to take major steps to upgrade equipment by purchasing competitive military items in the coming years. We will proceed with our restructuring program instead, anticipating, by the year 2003, the completion of the new Romanian army forces structure—well-balanced in size and with an effective relationship between its services.

On 18 June 1999, Romania’s Supreme Council for National Defense (CSAT) also adopted “The Concept on the Romanian Armed Forces’ Restructuring and Upgrading” (FARO-2005-2010), which envisions an army of 112,000 for the year 2003. This project, based on the funding resources’ analyses and forecasts, began with Romania’s NATO integration prospects. But before the end of 1999, we will disband the army commands and reduce the army corps from 8 to 4 and the brigade and battalion commands also by half. The new, functional structure of the forces will eventually include an operational component, which will comprise Surveillance and Early Warning Forces, Crisis Reaction Forces, main and reserve forces, and a territorial component.

Seeking a balance between the operational and command structures, in May 1999 the Romanian government adopted a new organizational structure for the Ministry of National Defense. The downsizing of military strength and the increased complexity of commanding, determined by PFP requirements and the current multinational peacekeeping missions framework, made this revamping of the Defense Ministry necessary. The restructuring has helped to simplify the command and to differentiate administrative responsibilities and structures from operational ones. Three hundred positions have been cut from the Ministry’s central structures, and another 600 will be cut by the end of September 1999.


In addition to armed forces revamping, another Romanian ANPPI priority is the acceleration of training to make personnel compatible with NATO requirements, particularly command and operational personnel who are to participate along with the Allies in Alliance missions, including PSOs. To this end, we are considering an increase in the number of English-speaking military and civilians in the armed forces as well as furthering the specialization of personnel participating in various missions, in accordance with CJTF provisions. Such changes are being considered in order to meet the requirement that Partners join the efforts of the European allied states, supported by the U.S., to consolidate the ESDI within NATO. We are willing to contribute effectively to strengthening the European Allies’ ability to identify, prevent, and manage crises on our own continent, without always waiting for the U.S. to harness its huge capabilities. I believe that the NATO candidate countries can and must adapt their own security interests to the strategies for settling European issues by Europeans. To this end, our priority list includes our continuing engagement in regional cooperation initiatives, with the aim of rendering operational the command and execution modules within the multinational forces: the Multinational Peace Force Southeastern Europe (MPFSEE), the Central European Nations’ Cooperation in Peacekeeping (CENCOOP), the U.N. Standby High International Readiness Brigade (SHIRBRIG), and the Romanian-Hungarian Battalion.


I would like to conclude by saying that Romania plans to effect military reform by first ruling out loss-making, non-competitive elements. Reform will thus be oriented toward enabling Romania’s newly emerging force structure to meet both our national security demands and the imperatives of joining efforts with the North Atlantic Alliance.


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