Since now Ukrainian servicemen will serve 12 months, not 18, as before, the new minister of defense Gricenko Anatoliy, presidentially-appointed last Friday, declared.
Presidential program «10 steps to meet the people», will be, for sure, carried out, - said Gricenko, adding, that he already gave the order about reduction of service term. He reported that transfer to contract army would be possible in 2010.
Gricenko considers that today Ukraine is in a favourable situation, which is lasting during ten years and, obviously, will stay the same during the nearest five years. The new secretary of defense asserts that, if no threat of war is on the scene, the requirements which are laid upon Military Forces diminish also. Under existing conditions «there is no sense to hold regiments, aviation or half of the ships in fighting trim », and armoured train on a side-track. The minister of defense reminded also, that very often Ukrainian Military Forces are compared with the former soviet army, which was on permanent war footing and which responded to an alarm and at any time could jerk up even to English Channel. «If to take that level of alertness and military efficiency a requirement, certainly, Military Forces are not ready for such tasks, but they not are needed», —Anatoliy Gricenko summed up.
Gricenko also promised changes in ministry regular unit. Thus he gave a hint that he intends to work with people having their own opinion. «I will rely on people who offer resistance. They are better than people who agrees with everything», - he said.
Besides, the minister marked that civil deliberative structures will be created at Department of defense. He reported about intention to «provide himself with the group of advisers, including supernumerary».
Gricenko also promised to pay attention to remuneration of servicemen labour and misbalance in the providing. «Here will be not surgical but therapeutic decisions, », - said Gricenko.
1:33 PM Victor Nebojenko, political scientist
I think, it was necessary to carry out this reform in army long time ago. By the way, these innovations will be also a PR -actions for ruling elite on the threshold of elections 2006 year. We will never move forward the reform without passing to sickly, but important contract principle of army acquisition. But it will demand radical alteration of the whole army. I am not sure, whether it was needed to begin exactly with this measure, why not with the serious analysis of all military spheres in Ukraine. But in itself such action is worth to be greeted.
As to creation of civil structures attached to Defense Department, I can hardly imagine how they can influence military industry. But these civil structures can work in the direction of civil control mechanisms creation... All the other problems the soldieries and the minister should solve together.
1:35 PM Igor Kogut, head of Council of laboratories of legislative initiatives
Government program concerning transfer to contract army and reduction of service term is the key element in a section «Safety». New minister realizes the state of our military efficiency. We are unable neither to feed nor to equip today's army. So I think today’s first task is to make professional army. I want to believe that the new minister will act in accordance with standards and principles of the European structures.
Concerning civil deliberative structures attached to Ministry, they are created not only to this ministry. The prime minister decided to create civil colleges in all organs of central power and to invite independent experts and representatives of civil organizations. I think, they are needed for a) legalizing the process, b) giving it a comprehensive estimation.
3:06 PM Nicolay Kruglov, PM (faction «Regions of Ukraine»)
If there is no evident external enemy and nothing threatens, reduction of service term seems to be a justified act. But then a question arises –if it is possible to make a full-fledged defender of Motherland of 18 years old boy for one year? To reduce the army is not a problem.
In former Soviet Union, before driving military equipment, a soldier studied in Voluntary Assistance Association of Navy, Aviation and Army. Will a year be enough for passing, the so called, course of young fighter? As former commander I know, what I am talking about. In the navy, to make a valuable soldier of a recruit, who will be able to serve the rocket or reactive launcher, is practically impossible for one year.
If the army is going to be composed only of professionals, then the next question arises - where and when will they be trained. So, we are going to take for professional service those, who served out only one year, but they are whatever but professionals.
Although if present guidance guarantees that it will be able to teach everything what is necessary during a year, then I vote for reduction of term. But I have some doubts about it. If a recruit comes after graduating an institute, it is possible. After graduating an institute or a technical school a man is more or less formed and you can make a “normal” man of him, a man who knows his place. But let it be the problem of defense minister and General staff.
Secondly, if civil deliberative structures mean civil rights and freedom control in the army, then I vote «for», but they should not be named deliberative. I do not think that the civil will be able to give efficient advices to military. Talking about military doctrine which the minister of defense has to realize before adopting it in Verhovna Rada, they can consult with civil organizations. In other cases soldieries will do without advices.
7:11 PM Leonid Grach, PM, chairman of the Crimea executive committee of Communist Party of Ukraine
The purpose of reform itself seems to me very doubtful. We live in a very poor country; actually under conditions of mass unemployment. In such situation a contract army will become a refuge for youths from poor families, who did not managed to find their place in society. But they will be offered a simple survival only. I doubt that our state, continuing present economic policy, will succeed to find funds for paying soldiers enough salary to make savings.
Don’t forget that the system of patriotic education, like in USA, is fully destroyed in a country. It is therefore hard to expect that most youths enlisting in the army will have some other motivations, but mercenary. Such army can become the source of socio-political instability, growing into a toy in the hands of ambitious politicians. It is simple for external forces to set army control as they possess financial resources or able to offer «job».
Reduction of service term can be justified, if the system of secondary education, connected with the system of initial military and professional training, operates in the country. There is no such system therefore time is needed to train a military specialist. Besides, there is no understanding between generations because of disintegration of patriotic education system. Time is required for inculcating in a young man his duty before the state, society, the people.
Creation of civil deliberative structures is good. But the problem is that Ukrainian army is in extremely bad state. Its mobility and alert readiness fall down from year to year. Ministers of defense change very often, that even the elder officers, probably, will not be able to name all during last few years. Thus every new minister announces plans of fundamental army reform. If these deliberative structures are needed only for joining the choir of our new “sweet voiced reformers”, their influence on a general situation will be negative. But the deliberative structures, called to work out real problems, will be not good for the reformers.
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