The President of the Republic of North Macedonia and Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Stevo Pendarovski, today at the Army House in Skopje, was informed by the Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Vasko Gjurcinovski, about the state of affairs and combat readiness of the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia in 2020.
The first briefing on combat readiness after full membership in NATO was attended by the Minister of Defense, Radmila Sekerinska, the generals in the Army and representatives of the President’s Office and the Ministry of Defense.
During the briefing, President Pendarovski was informed of the situation in the Army in the following functional areas: personal management and morale, operations, training and exercises, logistics, planning, communications, budgeting and civil-military cooperation. The projected and implemented activities regarding the training, the engagement of the Army in the assistance of the institutions in dealing with Covid-19, the course of the transformation and integration processes that take place in accordance with the NATO standards and other segments of the work of the units that affect the combat readiness were discussed.
General Gjurcinovski said that with special commitment and professionalism of all members of the Army, all assigned tasks are implemented in support of the institutions in dealing with the epidemiological crisis caused by the Covid-19 virus, the preparations and participation in international operations age successfully implemented as well and that the fulfillment of all planned tasks related to full integration into the NATO structure will continue at an unabated pace.
The increase of combat readiness in the current year is planned, especially in the field of morale of the members of the Army based on the improvement of living standards and living and working conditions by renovating the facilities in the barracks.
Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska said that as a NATO member, North Macedonia has an obligation not only to achieve but also to advance NATO standards in line with the allies, which means constant investment in the Army’s combat readiness. She stressed that the priority is to invest in human potential, influx of young soldiers motivated by the improved conditions, higher salaries and modernization of the Army. The continuous increase of the defense budget by 0.2% in the last 3 years, in order to reach 2% of GDP by 2024, enables that – the Minister said.
“Strengthening the Army’s combat readiness is our national and NATO priority. The Light Infantry Battalion will grow into a Light Infantry Combat Group in a few years. Primary focus in building this NATO capability is staffing, equipping and training. The high level of combat readiness is demonstrated every day by our peacekeepers engaged in peace support operations”, Minister Sekerinska said.
The President and Supreme Commander, Stevo Pendarovski, in his address to the participants in the briefing said:
“The past 2020, with all the challenges it brought to us, is historic for the Army, due to the membership of the Republic of North Macedonia in NATO, an act that fulfilled one of our main strategic goals as a state and valorized the overall efforts of the members of defense since independence to this day. As Commander-in-Chief, I am proud of the high professionalism and commitment shown by the members of the Army in the past year as well. The declared state of crisis once again confirmed the readiness of the Army to respond quickly to the needs of the institutions and to provide support when needed. Investment in modernizing and equipping the Army must continue. One of my top priorities remains to reach the set goal in the coming years, to set aside 2% of GDP for defense.”
The combat readiness briefing is a planned annual obligation of the Chief of General Staff to the President of the Republic of North Macedonia and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.